Date of Submission
Academic Programs and Concentrations
Film and Electronic Arts
Project Advisor 1
So Yong Kim
April 30th, 2014
Melt is a vignette into the life I knew and the place I came from, an expression of my experiences and those of others. Since leaving Byron Shire and the Northern Rivers region of Australia, I have come to appreciate the area for its beauty and uniqueness, and in turn, have reflected on how it has impacted and influenced me. This film captures the essence of growing up in Byron, and how one can so easily become preoccupied with the mundane and lose sight of the beauty and vibrancy that surrounds them.
Lena, the protagonist, embodies the disillusioned teenager struggling to find balance in her life and growing weary of her unconventional upbringing. Like many youth, my friends and I shared a similar experience. We couldn’t wait to escape from the small, coastal town and trade sandy beaches for skyscrapers and bright lights. It didn’t take me long to realize that there is something innately special about Byron Shire and the people that reside in the area. Growing up there has instilled in me an appreciation for the eccentric and those standing proudly outside the box. It is a place that thrives on expression in its myriad of forms.
Melt began as a kernel, inspired by the people of the area, and continued to build through writing, production, and post-production, until it became a film. Initially, I wanted to capture the eccentric fringe-dwellers that reside in the area, but found them difficult to translate onto page. They eluded me, no matter how rich the source. I managed to pin down Artie, who served as the foundation for a story I built around him. However, throughout the writing process, the film became much bigger than Artie. It became a grander statement of the nuances of youth on the brink of adulthood.
The production process of Melt was testament to the creative wealth and energy of Byron Shire. While I planned the process deliberately, there was a certain element of chance involved in the production process that I could not have anticipated. Yet in a way that spoke to the magic and artistic amplitude present in the area, things fell into place. I found all manner of people willing to help make this possible. The Arts are highly valued in Byron Shire, and this became very clear to me when my production team rallied by my side. This creative energy was an integral part of a successful production, and I hope that the audience will be able to get a sense of the artistic attitudes of not only the cast, but those behind the scenes as well.
The project really came to life in post-production. I had the tools and the materials for a film, but needed to find a way to assemble it so that it conveyed my vision. Of the three major steps, this was by far the most difficult. I became wrapped in this world I was creating, and had to find ways to distinguish which moments were essential to the story and which were just padding. In the months prior to this stage I had built a relationship with the characters and the story, and at this point I had to sever the ties. The editing process needed to be ruthless and to scrape at the core of my content.
Melt pays homage to Byron Shire and all its quirks and qualities. With this film I intend to give audiences the opportunity to share my experiences through a chapter of life that I hope will resonate with many. The film invites the audience to step into a world that is foreign to their own, and to partake in the experiences of an unconventional family.
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Bleakley, Minka Rose, "Melt" (2014). Senior Projects Spring 2014. 147.
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