Research Paper Evaluation (including evaluation of the topic of Hayao Miyazaki for both this and our Archive-footage-based Documentary).
Nick (tutor) had suggested that we might find it helpful to make our Research Paper, and possibly Archive Documentary, on a subject that tied in with our FMP. I considered this, and I could see the benefit.
However, I also like working as a team, and so when our usual group suggested that we should work together on our Archive-footage-based Documentary I liked the idea of working as a team. However, it did mean that we had to find a topic that suited us all, which ruled out our individual FMP topics.
Once I had suggested the idea of Studio Ghibli / Hayao Miyazaki, and we all agreed, we started doing some research during the lesson to put together a PowerPoint presentation to show Attila (tutor) at the end of the lesson. As a group of 6, PowerPoints are a method that we often use to gather together information, and I feel that they work well. One person (often Ellie) creates a blank PowerPoint, then each of us add things to various pages. This gathers all the information together in one easily shared document. We put quotes, links, images, all sorts of different formats of info in, we can rearrange it easily, and it is in a good format to show our tutor at the end of the lesson. Each person can talk about the pages that they created. This method is very inclusive and ensures that we all get a say and we each get to present our pages to our tutor. I think this demonstrates our effective teamwork and worked well as way to kick off this project.
Regarding my choice of topic for Research Paper, as I explained in the main Research Paper Introduction section, my initial research into Hayao Miyazaki, coupled with Attila (tutor) mentioning Auteurs quite a lot, made me decide to try to find out if Hayao Miyazaki can be described as an Auteur. Through my research for my Research Paper, I learned a lot about Hayao Miyazaki. I liked how he stays true to his beliefs, valuing the story above the profit-making side, but still making a good profit. I like that he has found his own process which works for him. He is an amazing artist and he starts drawing and painting before he has a fully formed storyline, and lets it all come together in his mind. I like very much that he is against there always being a romance just because there is a male and a female in a story. He feels there doesn’t always need to be a “love interest” and prefers to make films showing friendships. I found it encouraging to have confirmed my own ideas regarding friendship in films being just as important as romance, if not more so.
Having said that, there is a “love interest” in my favourite Hayao Miyazaki film, The Wind Rises (2013). But she dies at the end of the film, so there again Hayao Miyazaki resists the archetypal story arc. He also frequently has strong female protagonists, and you also can’t get much more diverse than the array of different characters and various spirits that Hayao Miyazaki puts in his films. I find this very inspiring since I am anti-discrimination and it is good to see these ideas just being presented as “normal” in his films. This is encouraging for me for the future, since I would like to eventually become a Fiction Film/TV director and I would like to create films with a similar message to Hayao Miyazaki, that is, don’t discriminate because we all have a part to play, that females make great protagonists too, and a story can have a friendship rather than always needing a love interest.
I feel the choice of topic of Hayao Miyazaki / Studio Ghibli enabled our group to work together well on our Archive-footage-based Documentary. We learnt new info to take forward in our future careers and it will help to keep us open minded regarding non-Hollywood films. Successful as Hollywood is, I found it interesting how many creatives in the industry revere and praise Hayao Miyazaki. There is a long list of famous actors who jump at the chance to do English voice-overs for the Western releases of Hayao Miyazaki’s films, and were on video praising his creativity and general outlook on the world. Michael Keaton, Patrick Stewart, Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Liam Neeson, Cate Blanchet, Emily Blunt, Joseph Gordon-Levitt to name but a few. Even Ron Howard got in on the act. This encourages me that non-Hollywood films and themes can also find popularity in the industry.
As an audience member, for pure enjoyment, I have generally preferred watching relatively contemporary films. But Attila (tutor) has been emphasising the importance of being familiar with non-Hollywood films, older films, films from movements that we wouldn’t necessarily think to watch. Although I do love to watch Hayao Miyazaki / Studio Ghibli films, I had never researched the man behind these films, and related him to his films. With my filmmaker’s hat on, I can say that the knowledge that I gained about Hayao Miyazaki from my Research Paper has significantly enhanced my enjoyment of his films. I can see what Attila means about the importance of looking at and researching a wide range of films and directors.
I am really pleased with the end product of my Research Paper into Hayao Miyazaki. I asked Nick (tutor) for feedback on it and he said “I think this is a tremendous piece of work. Good structure – original ideas – good use of research – good writing. Really well done.” Which is what I was aiming for. Having dyslexia is great for visualising film and different shots in my head, but it does make writing challenging, and it means that I take a long time to do a piece of work like this Research Paper to the high standard that I want. I am a perfectionist and I want to do all my work really well, which does mean that I take longer than I would like.
So an area that I am working on is speeding up my reading and writing. I see dyslexia as being beneficial in the film industry rather than an obstacle, indeed there are several dyslexic famous directors such as Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Tom Cruise to name some. They have done alright. But I am trying various ways to improve the time that I take to read and write, since I feel that would be useful in the future. This Research Paper has confirmed to me that this is a good thing to work on, although I don’t want to sacrifice quality for speed. I will work to find the right balance. I am pleased overall with my Research Paper.