My Goals for “The Barrier”

Arthur_Ling_Dennis_S18_2_13014_12050It may seem odd to talk about my goals half way through a project. While I haven’t written them down, I have had them in mind all along. I felt it was time to articulate them better.

When I started to make films with the CSIF back in the early 90s, I knew I had a lot to learn. Before I began a film, I would decide what it was I wanted to learn as I made the film. When I made “Line of Taxis” I had very clear goals and I believe that helped make it a success.

I do have quite a few goals for “The Barrier”, and I doubt that it is realistic to expect to achieve them all.

  1. The first goal, of course, is to make a feature length movie. That has been a goal of mine for many years. After I decided to get serious about making a feature length movie back in 2005, I learned that a feature is a large, and expensive, leap from the films I did before.
  1. A second goal is to see if I could make a feature length movie with Xtranormal. I did one shorter movie, “Make ‘em Squirm”, with Xtranormal that gave me a feel for what it could do. I felt that I could use Xtranormal for a longer project and wanted to try it out. Although I am not finished yet, I am confident that I will meet this goal.
  1. A third goal is to make an interesting movie. In other words, can I make a feature length movie that doesn’t bore viewers to death? The computer-generated voices can become boring after a while, and the emotional range of the animated characters is limited. A more skilful use of the system could help with these limitations, but in the end, the story itself must be very interesting. While I would hope to make the story interesting, it may be too difficult a goal for now.
  1. A fourth goal is to make a movie about transportation planning that people will find interesting. I worked as a transportation planner for over 30 years and want to draw on that experience for a story. Transportation planning is a small field, so not many people would understand much of the background. Many people told me that it wouldn’t work, but I saw similarities with the police procedural, which is a popular film genre. I also keep in mind that what really interests people is other people.
  1. A fifth goal is to make a feature length movie about transportation planning that transportation planners will agree is a realistic portrayal. This goal and my fourth goal are somewhat at odds with each other. It will be hard to strike a good balance.
  1. A sixth goal is to express my opinions on how to do transportation planning. This is a legacy of my previous career and I expect that few viewers will appreciate what I have to say. I feel that any work of art is propaganda for the artist’s worldview, so this provides an opportunity to express my ideas.

I see this project as an experiment. While I hope to achieve all of my stated goals, the underlying goal is to learn and to grow. If this movie does not fully succeed, what I learn will help me with later projects.

I plan to release the movie as a version 0.9, and ask for viewer’s feedback. Based on that feedback I may develop the movie further, or accept my lessons and move on. I do hope I will get feedback that is more detailed than “it sucks”. That doesn’t really help me much. Even if all people ever tell me is how far they got before they gave up that would be more useful.

I would like to hear people’s opinions of my goals, so please feel free to comment.

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