K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick! (bop_radar) wrote,
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!

Creative issues: less is more

Just writing my way through some creative issues... may not be of interest to anyone but me. So lately I find myself being given the same feedback in both my vidding and my dance. This does not surprise me since I have felt a strong connection between the two over the last year. The message I'm being given at the moment in both instances is essentially to try and say more with less, to 'tone back' my presentation and thereby allow the audience 'in' more.

In the case of dance, the issues are:
- too exaggerated facial expressions (this plays an important part in the Indian fusion dance I do)
- too abrupt movements
- transitions being too marked.

In the case of vidding, the issues are:
- too many clips (classic sign of my insecurity as a vidder)
- connecting movement between clips (I am getting better at this but it's something it's taken me two and a half years to work out since it was first pointed out to me as an issue)
- potentially too many close ups (so parallel there with the too much facial expression in dance)
- over-reliance on hard cuts and inability to use transitions/fades (this last one is one *I* perceive as a limiting factor on my vidding, though my betas have not mentioned it).

From the inside perspective it is very interesting because in both cases I don't feel like I'm doing too much until it's pointed out to me, but then I quickly connect the moments pointed out to me to feelings of anxiety about how my message is going to translate to the audience and (most keenly of all) massive lack of self-belief... essentially I don't have faith that what I'm doing alone is enough--and so I really exaggerate things to see if I can at least reach the audience that way. The feedback is definitely correct. The question is how to spot it myself and how to find that middle ground... because whenever I try out what they are saying, it always feels like I am doing 'nothing'.

For instance, there is a position in my dance where we have to be on the balls of our feet. But not all the way up on tippy toes, which is where I instinctively 'jump' to (i.e. fully extended as high as I can go). It's supposed to be a kind of halfway tippy toe and it feels ridiculously subtle to me--I feel like the movement will get lost on stage and I personally find it really hard to hold or even find the position and then when I *am* in it I doubt that it is right.

In a very similar manner, I often receive beta feedback that my clips are too fast to really see what is happening, yet when I use less clips I feel incredibly nervous and exposed and it feels 'not enough' to me when I watch it. I don't understand that the audience will really see anything of interest at all in just one long shot, and I also don't have an inner barometer to tell how short is too short.

While clearly I need to work on gaining feedback in both cases--whether it's watching myself in the mirror, or trial-and-erroring vid drafts with people, I find that there's a deeper underlying issue in both cases. Essentially: lack of belief in myself and the creative project. Both dance and vidding feels very exposing to me, and part of me would rather run and hide. I love, love, love the experience of both from the inside but the part where I actually have to show it to other people? Scary as hell. Which makes it pretty weird that I've chosen to do such demonstrative things.

There are plenty of good reasons why I lack faith in myself in these fields, starting with the fact that both are very late-in-life pursuits. I had no natural inclination towards ANY form of visual art as a child, or to music in any way, so vidding is a very peculiar choice for me. I was always a words kid and everyone thought I would be a writer. I lived in my head and books, not in the visual world at all. I still don't really, but I am fascinated by it nonetheless. Dance is a little different in that I did have an early inclination towards it but it was squashed very firmly and it has taken me years to work up courage to revisit it. In both cases there are going to be massive limitations to what I can ever achieve. It is a lot harder learning something as an adult than if I had absorbed some of the fundamentals or even just felt comfortable in the environment as a child. I often forget that though and judge myself against people who have been practising in some form since they were children. I am as yet unable to stop myself doing that.

Furthermore in both cases I'm at a stage where I notice errors more than I ever did as a beginner. People more skilled than me have started to be kind enough to point them out and I realise with embarrassment that I've been entirely unaware of them--not only in my own work but in others' work as well. I'm literally blind to some things, as I learnt recently when [personal profile] kuwdora showed me two versions of the same vid and she felt one was clearly of higher quality than the other and I seriously could discern no difference whatsoever. In vidding, the stuff I don't see is things like interlacing problems, pixellation, blurriness, off aspect ratio, dropped frames, even logos sometimes! I know: to lots of vidders this stuff is like a HORROR MOVIE. How can I not notice it?! It gives them the shudders and throws them instantly out of vids. I understand this intellectually and yet I often, OFTEN have to have someone else actually point the thing out to me before I can 'see' it myself. For me, I'm far more likely to disconnect from a vid if the vidder's take on a character is unreconcilable with my own or if I feel the meta's shaky or I don't connect with the emotional content. The other stuff is completely irrelevant to my experience of the vid and that hasn't changed as I've grown to be a more experienced vid viewer. I now definitely DO appreciate many more things in vidding (such as use of colour, high quality footage, effects and so on) but that core blindness and my core priorities have not changed.

So I'm really really trying to concentrate my eye and fix things that may not bother me but do bother other people... so for instance colour. I am trying really hard to make my current vid the best work I've ever done in terms of colour. And yet all I can see is how far away I am from other vidders in this regard. It's like starting in kindergarten all over again, surrounded by people in college. The same goes in dance--by trying to improve on something (e.g. facial expressions) that my role model (my teacher) is exceptionally good at, I just feel oppressed by the awareness that I will never be able to control it the way she does. Perhaps I need to find role models closer to my own level? Or is it just a matter of being more forgiving of myself? I'm not good at that! I can't find the place that is 'good enough' in either case. At what stage do I give myself a pass?! I honestly could keep tweaking this vid (or any vid I tried to work on in as much depth as this) forever...

My dance teacher said 'you don't have trouble expressing yourself, so see if you can take it back down a notch or two and it will actually seem more natural and be more powerful to the audience'. I feel the same way in my vidding. It's not subtle. I admire subtelty in the work of others but really struggle with it in my own--often because I'm too insecure to believe that it will translate to others as I have so little in my repertoire. Unlike others I can't use transitions, colour, layering images over one another, stills, external footage or even very much in the way of external motion. I'm reliant on one thing--the basic editing and clip choices--and I'm painfully aware of that shortfall. Sure, there's a lot you can do with that. Believe me, I know! But it doesn't stop me thinking every time how much 'more' a vid concept could be in the hands of someone with these skills.

So I overcompensate. I see that. It's pretty embarrassing really. At the same time, I am kind of wryly amused at how spot on my teacher is about me. To be meta about my whole life, yeah, my problem is not conveying my emotions--I do that all too well and all too often, they bleed out all over the place, crassly. It's doing so subtly enough that others aren't alienated by them. It's learning how to do so sympathetically. She doesn't know I actually have to take drugs to restrain my emotions in everyday life! LOL.

Another issue that has arisen in both arenas is the subtle ways I undermine my message because I'm self-conscious. And if I am being painfully truthful in both fields I have a resistance towards practising those things that would benefit me most. My reason for the resistance is because it is painful to dwell on the things I am worst at--but of course this only means I never improve at them so it is really incredibly immature of me.

Right now it's really HARD but I have to remind myself that the hardness means I'm learning and growing, which is what I want to do. I feel instinctively that if I can strike some balance between expressiveness/exaggeration and subtelty, it will be good for me. Of course there is another extreme out there--the 'so subtle no one can really see that you are doing anything' extreme and weirdly I fear that that is sometimes the case with me. So it is useful that the feedback I am getting on that front is a resounding: NO, LOL you are not subtle! Perhaps I can hang on to that and trust myself to make some gentler choices.

This entry was originally posted at http://bop-radar.dreamwidth.org/229555.html. comment count unavailable comments Comment here or there, as you will.
Tags: dance, personal, vidding

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