The Hobbyist

[flv:TheHobbyist.mp4 560 340]
I worked on this short little “art film” for a small while and finally released it on YouTube. Because there is very little control over what you can get the “actors”to do, directing can be rather difficult. And because there is very little dialogue, as you can’t exactly make Niko spout lines that he hasn’t already recorded, everything had to be expressed through moving images: no dialogue, no music. Just good old framing and camera movement. I hate to be one of those artsy fartsy film makers, but in this case, it’s really the type of film that you get more out of in the second viewing when you notice the tiny details. Mise en scĂ©ne is what makes the film in my opinion.

Things wrong with this short: the opening sequence. I couldn’t get Niko to stand still long enough, and basically I should cut out the whole bit where he’s standing around. Also, the speed of Niko falling was increased by accident, giving it a silly look.

Link to the YouTube upload: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XL5P1mfBm6M

  • Gary

    I personally don't really know how to appreciate that. Sorry.

    Actually, I'm commenting because I wanted to tell you I miss your actual lengthy serious posts. They're interesting to read, and I enjoy them. Just wondering, WTF happened? Writers block?

  • Most people don't know how to appreciate it. It is, after all, an art film lol. The details are what make the film. On the surface, all it is is a man going to see street walkers, three different ones to be precise. And then he jumps off a building. It's not very compelling on the surface.

    The first scene ends with Niko under the streetlamp, standing alone in the rain. We move on to Niko picking up his first prostitute. Note how we never really get a good look at her face. He parks his car in a dingy dark alleyway and receives a handjob. He completes and we see him lingering in his car, trash and dumpsters surrounding him.

    Right afterwards he picks up another prostitute. The establishing shot is important: we linger on a shot where Niko is very precisely composed on the screen between the hooker's legs. He picks her up, and on his way to the alleyway, there is a police cruiser right in front of him. But he is not deterred. Niko expresses his shame verbally. He arrives at the alleyway and receives oral sex this time. He completes and hands the street walker her money. Again, we do not see the hooker's face. He sits in his car, contemplating his actions.

    Shortly thereafter, Niko picks up yet another hooker. And this time, what we see is rather explicit: we see the girl in a full body shot, following her little dance of enticement, and also a very close shot showcasing her breasts. Niko again brings her to the same dirty dingy alleyway, and this time he asks for vaginal sex. The street walker obliges and gets on top of Niko, and the sex is depicted graphically on the screen. We see Niko looking bored into the sky. He is not into the sex act: rather, it seems to be happening to him. Niko is not an active participant. Instead, he is rather detached. He completes and this time we see with more detail that the hooker takes his money. Niko yet again sits in his car contemplating what just happened.

    In the final scene, Niko makes his way to a rooftop. He stops by a sign that says "99 cents". In one shot, in the background is a billboard that says, "Everything at a price." Niko thinks for a moment, and then leaps off the buliding, falling to his death. In his final moments, he dies in front of a pile of garbage sitting in and around a dumpster, with nobody around him but strange pedestrians.

    But anyway, it's mostly an exercise, geared towards those who are more cinematically inclined. It's probably something only film school students would understand and/or take the time to analyze in order to understand.

    As for my writing, I'm getting tired of the world, and most of what I've had to say is already written: I'd just be repeating myself over and over again. I've been focusing on trying to finish a short story inspired by my bus ride to Boston. Also, this I admit rather sheepishly: I've been less inclined to write as I've become distracted by new video games that have come out.

    But you know what? Thanks for commenting. It kind of reminded me how much I enjoyed writing, and this will kick start me into finishing some drafts I've left in limbo.