Between chaos and control: a practice-based investigation into the creative process of an improvised micro-budget screen production.

Berkeley, L 2011, Between chaos and control: a practice-based investigation into the creative process of an improvised micro-budget screen production., Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Media and Communication, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Between chaos and control: a practice-based investigation into the creative process of an improvised micro-budget screen production.
Author(s) Berkeley, L
Year 2011
Abstract This PhD research has been conducted by project and, through the production of a 75 minute film called How To Change The World, has investigated screen production practice as research.

In that context, the research question used to frame the project is the following:  How can a creative practice in screen production be transformed into a research practice, which integrates professional, cultural and academic experience?

Using reflective practice as a methodology, the screen production project How To Change The World was developed to enable the consideration of this question, as well as building on themes and approaches explored in my prior filmmaking practice. I describe the film as a playful tapestry of stories exploring the world of a decaying neighbourhood pub. A significant feature of the project’s design was that it was a film made on a ‘micro’ budget. How To Change The World was also produced without a script and nearly all the dialogue was improvised. The film was designed to explore the significance of improvisation within the screen production process. This aspect of the research was initially focused on the performances of the actors but broadened in scope as its relevance to the central research question became more apparent.

A significant focus of the research was on issues of identity and agency within the field of screen production. Within the broad framework of ideas proposed by Bourdieu in his work on the field of cultural production and drawing on related theorists such as Schön and cultural anthropologists Holland, Lachicotte, Skinner & Cain, I have argued that the screen production process for How To Change The World was a complex social, cultural and technical environment where I needed to negotiate multiple and often competing priorities in executing creative ideas, often under the pressure of time and resource constraints. The choices made in this improvisational environment were informed by both the history of my positions within the field, in both mainstream and marginal micro-budget sectors, as well as my dispositions to make certain types of films. These dispositions were, in turn, informed by a range of influences. I investigated the different ways that influences such as key films and prior production experiences can be seen to have an impact on the current creative production process. Like Schön’s ‘surfacing of tacit knowledge’, I investigated how my identity as a filmmaker informed the myriad creative and practical decisions made in the screen production process and whether a more explicit awareness of that identity enhanced my agency in the process, agency in this context being understood as the ability to act independently of the accepted and often internalised norms of the field.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Media and Communication
Keyword(s) film
screen production
improvisation
micro-budget
creative practice research
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Created: Fri, 09 May 2014, 15:17:57 EST by Lynne Johns
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