Title

Friendships

Date of Submission

Spring 2016

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Film and Electronic Arts

Project Advisor 1

John Pruitt

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Jack Smith

Senior Project Artist Statement

May 4, 2016

The root of the reason that I wanted to become a filmmaker was to tell stories, but I think that I like to hear stories just as much. When I was a little kid sometimes my Dad would play an old box of cassettes for us in the car. The tapes were recordings of the radio programs The Shadow and The Adventures of Harry Lime, both narrated by Orson Welles. They were great, and I enjoy them still, but story time radio is having a renaissance in the form of podcasts and I wanted to incorporate this into a film.

I made a film about a kid turning into an adult named Akash (Satwik Srikrishnan) who wants to start a podcast about friendship because he has become enamored with that medium and lacks friendship and basic social interactions in his life. He has substituted his relationships with a plethora of shows that act as his methadone for getting by without them. He hopes that his pursuits of contributing to the podcast medium will lead to better exchanges and connections with the rest of the world.

The idea of the film came out of the broader concept that I wanted to examine of older adolescents finally transitioning into socially functioning adults. I thought that in a coddling society, that people often grow up and transition later than they would have hoped. I thought about the social anxieties and bad habits that I have formed and how far away I am from being a full-fledged adult and how I can be sucked into media and sacrifice many things just to consume it. I also want pay homage to friendship and how much I appreciate and enjoy my personal relationships and dread to think who and what I would be without them.

Parts of the film are not fictional. My two best friends Declan Jenkins and Tristan Defontenay are playing themselves, and their interview you see conducted by Akash is real and unscripted. I wanted to capture their friendship, because it is the strongest that I know. I also wanted to convey Akash’s immersion into the podcasts of which he listens by showing him playing real podcasts to convey certain themes of the narrative such as isolation, loss, and friendship.

My film changed a great deal over the year for a number of reasons. I had originally planned to have a few more characters in the film and a lot more dialogue but with the help of my midway board, I realized that I was not using the tools of film to my advantage. I was telling the story rather than creating the visual show to convey the narrative instead. I was making a bad sitcom. I needed to be more adventurous about the film. I often operated with a skeleton crew with myself behind the camera and sometimes a friend recording sound. I would have made it easier on myself if I asked for more help on set, but I after everything, I felt that the film was truly my own. I think that my biggest takeaway from the process of making the film is that planning is everything and there is no such thing as winging it. I should have used better equipment on a lot of my shots and I should have spent more time prepping my actors. That being said, I am proud of the film and what it represents.

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Creative Commons License

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