Freestyle Academy proudly presents
2016 Innovator Project by ConnorL

The purpose of the Senior Innovator Project is use your own passion to innovate, create, and develop your own project.

Project Proposal

My project will be a science-fiction film I will write, direct, and edit. I’ve always loved the worlds of other famous science fictions movies like Star Wars, Aliens, or Jurassic Park, and I really wanted to use the Innovator Project as an opportunity to make a really well developed and interesting science-fiction film, and world, of my own. I want my film to center around how technology will change in 2030, and how people will act because of the change in social, political, and economic values on account of the new technology that has been introduced. The focus of my film is going to be virtual reality. I chose VR because I expect VR will become a big deal as a new medium in the next couple years, and imaging a world in which this technology is used WRONG makes a really interesting and conflict-ridden sci-fi setting.

The project will be challenging because I am working on it solo, and I want to keep up good production value in my film to make a believable world. That will include making my own props, costumes, back-stories, and characters.

Project Productions

Read my research paper

Project Reflection

I chose the idea for my project because I am about to go into film school for college and I wanted to produce one more film while I was at Freestyle to prepare myself. When I was struggling during the Narrative unit, I wanted to occupy the creative time that my actors had spoiled because of their consistent flakiness, so I began to use some of the techniques that Mr. T taught us earlier in the year to write a few different short-scripts to keep my creative mind running hot. One of these scripts I liked enough that I wanted to flesh it out into a movie, so when the opportunity came up for me to make a new film, I chose that topic because I thought the story had some strong elements I could include in my final plot to make a compelling story for my last film at Freestyle.

I researched Virtual Reality and entertainment trends in the future, as well as possible technologies and human enhancements. I wanted my setting to feel like a very real future, and so my research allowed me to expand the world around my story. It helped me to predict how these trends evolve and change our world in the future, creating an enveloping setting to my narrative. Character’s dialogue is also influenced by my research, much of their material include references to some of the articles I found regarding the world of 2030. My story gained a lot of substance using the research I collected, and it helped reinforce my film greatly.

One major source of collaboration in this film is the cinematographers I chose to shoot many of my scenes. Even though this is my film, because I chose to star in my own feature, I required outside help for all the shots that included me (obviously). I had to put a lot of trust in whoever I had shoot my film. Because I couldn’t describe my EXACT vision to the cinematographer exactly, I put a lot of faith in them hoping they could recreate the shot I described moderately well. In most instances my cinematographers nailed the shot, even when they required some difficult camera movements. I also used a lot of the feedback and suggestions they had for the shot, which ultimately improved a lot of the cinematography in the cuts I ended up putting in my film. However, some takes were not what I was looking for, and, with the hectic shooting schedule, I had to fit in as much footage as I could for one day, so some of the shots did not match what I was envisioning.

If I could redo my project I think I would choose to create an entire screenplay over make another film. Honestly, it was a little optimistic thinking I could squeeze in a whole other film when I hadn’t even finished my Narrative. If I chose to write an entire 100+ page screenplay over producing a whole movie I could’ve made my story that much more engrossing and thought-provoking. Instead of a short-film story format I could experiment with an entire movie-length story, something I have never tried before.

I think I improved my Creativity the most in the process of making this film. I had to make a lot of my own creative aspects in my film, such as the the history surrounding the world around the characters, the dialogue of the characters, the costume design, the prop design, the entire plot, the direction of the movie, and finally the performance of the star. By far this film has pushed me further than any other in just simply creating things I’m going to include in the final product. I won’t admit that I nailed all of the final designs and plot elements my first try either. There was a large amount of time I included in my scheduling that I applied to simply refining my story, and drawing solid designs for costumes and props.

I had almost total creative control of this film, I acted, I wrote, I produced, I directed, so it was a good learning experience for me to experience all aspects of the filmmaking process. I was the lighting director, the sound mixer and editor, the casting director, and even the caterer. I finally got a chance to control the scheduling of the film, the pacing of the performances, and also the direction and vision of my story. Just experiencing all of these aspects will help me either through first-hand experience or by giving me a clear understanding of each role involved in filmmaking.

I wanted to try to independently handle my film this project, I wanted to see how much I could do on my own without relying on the teachers for help. I mainly learned through the experience of making my film, rather than learn from one of the teachers or through homework assignments. This project is definitely the most hands on film I’ve made at Freestyle.

The Innovator project is one of my favorite projects at Freestyle just because of the freedom of range we had to complete it. I wish I had planned it a lot more easily around my Narrative, but even though I’m completing my project late I still think it will be one of my stronger pieces that I made here.