There’s no recipe for creativity. In fact, the whole notion of creativity brings with it the implication that there are no rules to govern it, otherwise it becomes formulaic. But in reality, in the creative industries and media we have rules applied to many aspects of the work. They’re often there for practical purposes, like designing with gutters on a 2-page fold layout to avoid embarrassing type issues (like the above). We don’t load website backgrounds with hours of video. We don’t film TV ads with porn in them, design logos that need a magnifying glass to be read, use Comic Sans font for Investment Bank marketing materials and so on. The medium, whatever it is, demands a certain kind of treatment, a logic and framework within which the creativity is set. So then, what are the rules that govern HYPEREAL?
You might argue that this relationship between practicalities and the form of the creative work has always been a part of the creative process. Aristotle defined the three act framework for plays (still used in Film and Theatre) nearly three thousand years ago. We see earlier still, regular forms applied to poetry in Hindu texts and so on. There has always been a creative playbook, it seems.
Even with HYPEREAL film. Yes. We have a set of rules too. They’re not designed to limit your creativity, quite the reverse, they’re more like a set of guidelines to ensure the films we make, fund and support remain true to the goals we set ourselves when shooting STARVECROW. We want to keep it real, believable, low/no budget and put the actors at the heart of the process. So here’s our studio playbook…
#1: HYPEREAL films look like they really happened.
They are believable, naturalistic films regardless of their genre – so it could be comedy, sci-fi, drama or horror but always need to have that “real footage” HYPEREAL film quality. For an example, check out www.starvecrow.com.
#2: HYPEREAL films place emphasis on story-telling and acting
HYPEREAL films use minimal effects and post-production (some basics like grading are OK) but complex graphics or special effects don’t support the believable, naturalistic nature of HYPEREAL.
#3: HYPEREAL films are made using smartphones and laptops
The whole point of HYPEREAL is the films can be made for low/no budget from the kit you carry every day. No lights or expensive cameras and sound recording equipment should be required. HYPEREAL films are improvised, collaborative and shot in real places…not art directed sets.
#4: HYPEREAL films are shot by the actors themselves.
There’s no crew or stylist or production designer. Actors wear their own clothes and do their own make up and hair. The emphasis is on creating a powerful, believable performance, not keeping every hair glued in place or showcasing product placement props and clothes.
#5: HYPEREAL films don’t use scripts.
The scenes are improvised within a basic scene structure, I.e. “In this scene we want x, y and z” to happen and then the actors improvise the footage as they film it. This technique, using improvisation skills such as Meisner or Stanaslavski systems enables actors to deliver honest performances and don’t require multiple takes and word perfect scripted dialogue.
#6: HYPEREAL storylines are polished into narratives when the clips are edited together.
The director and editors work with the footage produced to create stories that are as realistic and believable as possible. In a way, it’s filmmaking in reverse, you start with the shoot and end with the writing, which takes place in the edit based on what the actors shot.
#7: HYPEREAL films are shot for low/no budgets.
The costs of a HYPEREAL movie are minimal. We are offering grants for £1000 to cover disbursements (travel, food, assistance for actors etc.) but there’s no need to spend on locations, equipment or crew hire. Be creative, cover your costs, that’s the HYPEREAL process. HYPEREAL filmmakers only use original material and don’t use other people’s copyright material (video or audio) without express permission from the copyright owner.
As one of the creators of HYPEREAL, John Carver puts it
“I wanted to make something that looked real, that used real clips mixed in with the acting and they worked together. We wanted to get back to different kind of filmmaking, get away from all the big budget, Hollywood megastar films and make something that shocked people with its raw honesty. And what are the costs? Time. People give their time, but we didn’t want them to spend their money or be out of pocket. So we’re creating a fund to help other filmmakers get people’s time but be able to feed them and take them places without spending their own cash to do it. Hypereal films are collaborative works that bring people together, they give their time and at the end of it, you’ve got something original, different and genuinely compelling. Relevant to way we film our lives all the time.”