Defining a Generation

When I started this project, I wanted to create a documentary focusing on my generation’s thoughts about itself, society and our hopes for the future along side commentary on what defines a generation, and what has defined mine.

I first became interested in exploring this area after i started to wonder if my generation had a common zeitgeist, in the way that you could describe the overall optimism as a characteristic of the youth of the western world in the 60s, or cynicism in regard to Generation X. Moreover, I was certainly not aware of any “Great Movement of the Time”, or unprecedented ideological shift that you could attach to the proliferation of hippie culture, for example. Could it be that my generation is even more cynical and apathetic than the one before? Or are we approaching a turning point? About a week later, the same topic came up in a conversation with two friends, confirming that it wasn’t just me thinking about this. We were concerned with lack of identity, lack of a collective ethos, even lack of a decent name to give ourselves. Its not that we wanted everybody to be the same, we were just looking for some form of cohesion in our fragmented society.

The project takes the form of a 20 minute documentary, formed from short 1-2 minute monologues performed by a network of friends, discussing different aspects of modern culture as it applies to my generation.

The film itself is made from a series of short monologues or conversations by the participant, on their chosen subject and as a way of reinforcing my intention to document thoughts, rather than actions, I decided to rotoscope the footage I shot in each interview. This has two purposes, firstly it removes the original document from the viewer, so there isn’t even a record of how the participants really looked, just their voice. The second is to allow me to reflect what the person is talking about in visual terms, using animation, painting, text and composition. By making reference to the issue at hand in the visual channel of the film I hope to concentrate the viewer’s attention on the dialogue.

The subject of the interviews was chosen by the participant, and they were free to choose pretty much anything, within the context of our generation or society. I would talk through with the person exactly what it is that their getting at, this was because I wanted to record the person delivering a monologue, as opposed to answering questions or just to speak directly off the top of their head. By using monologues that have been developed from me talking to the interviewee, it allowed a greater amount of information to be delivered in a shorter amount of time. It also means I was more likely to be able to do an interview in one take.

The rotoscoping process itself is split between automation of effects in photoshop, hand drawn, motion tracking, painting and composition. Photoshop automation was necessary to allow me to cover a larger degree of subjects, and is offset by hand drawn animation or composition. By working in this way, I could keep the work moving quite fast, with fewer bottlenecks around drawing separate frames.

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