One Man band

Date of Submission

Spring 2022

Academic Program

Film and Electronic Arts

Project Advisor 1

Sky Hopinka

Abstract/Artist's Statement

One Man Band is a narrative short film about Monty Kelp, an upcoming young artist trying to prove his artistic prowess by getting into the gallery of his idol. The character believes that hiring a documentary crew to film his process will help propel his rise to the top, yet it ends up showing his self-destruction, despite him achieving all his desired successes. The concept of authentic performance -in the story line, in Monty’s artwork, in the acting and in the concept of how role influences character- is the heart of this work. Visually the movie is filmed in a handheld documentary style, having the filmmakers voices be often heard, which adds to the intimacy of the piece and the viewers experience.

This story is about the character, the Artist Monty Kelp, that Monty Kelp is creating. The character believes that abandonment creates beautiful art, yet Monty feels he will have to abandon his friends (even though they are his only supporters) to succeed in the art world. Ultimately it is the struggle that shapes the character not his aspirations. At first the movie highlights his pretentious ego but as it progresses so does the arc of feeling from pitying him to rooting for him as his sadness, that he initially attempts to mask from the camera, comes more into focus.

A lot of my inspiration comes from mockumentary shows and movies, but as I progressed through the project my movie became much more narrative driven. A habit of mine is that I overscript and find my inevitable disappointment when it cannot be perfect; I wanted to test myself by having a majority of the lines improvised. With improvisation, every take of every scene was different, and one can see me as the actor, writer and director in real time figuring out how Monty would behave in a situation. Certain scenes were shot-listed, but some were spur of the moment, which, when I was editing, were some of the most genuine to not only the characters but to the movie itself. It was a conscious choice to have a small crew and to take on most of the production and lead role. This created some difficulty, such as adjustments when Monty Kelp behaved more like Hudson Perrin or the restructuring of the direction of the story to make the character more interesting. Growing up with two artist parents made the idea of being a professional artist seem natural. The story and character are based on an idea I had right before COVID when I was feeling at my lowest in terms of interest in a career in art due the competitive attitude apparently necessary for success. Having to abandon what you love to get farther is something I struggle with as a person who has deeply struggled with the idea of leaving a comfort zone. One Man Band was a massive leap for me in what it meant to be a character on and off the screen and the limits to the actions that a character or person can do. Intended outcomes and expectations, our sense of success and failure and our potential future are prominent themes for artists and for me in particular. There are definitely comparisons between Monty Kelp and his exhibition at the Chateau Poe and my work on this film with the expectation of it as the pinnacle of my college career. I have learned through my process on this project that role is not the individual person but the circumstances imposed on the individual and that authenticity can be found in non-perfection.

Open Access Agreement

On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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