Lately, I have been preparing to launch a crowdfunding campaign to fund my final senior film project with SCAD. It is titled The Denigration of Carl Skiln.
It follows a psychotic and narcissistic screenwriter who seeks revenge for the continued critical scorn towards his films. He tracks down an especially influential and scathing critic of his and forces her to delete her reviews of his work at gunpoint. However, his plan threatens to backfire just as his attempts to appease his critics have before.
I have been writing the script over the past year. I will be directing and editing the film. I also plan to create an original score for it under my PixelRust alias.
The Denigration of Carl Skiln takes elements from classic tales of madness and revenge and spins them into a surreal and darkly hilarious yet thought-provoking experience. We will also take on an inventive approach to film form inspired by the pioneers of experimental cinema. We will use these elements and sources of inspiration as a gateway into the characters' minds and demonstrate free expression and creativity. With this film, we will acknowledge (and satirize) critics' contributions to the art of film.
We plan to shoot in late February and release the finished film this Summer.
What follows is my full statement of purpose for this project. It contains personal observations, reflections, and opinions (*gasp!*) on the subject of media criticism as a whole.
Part of the process of artistic growth is coming to terms with criticism. Constructive feedback is necessary to develop professionalism, know-how, and comportment in all fields. Nevertheless, this can get nebulous as far as the high subjectivity of art is concerned. Media and art criticism has long been a subject of personal contemplation for me. I have concluded that my work will eventually fall under critical scrutiny. I am sure that, if you're an artist as well, you have also had this anticipation.
I create mainly with two artistic mediums: music production and filmmaking. Through study, practice, and networking with fellow artists, I am continuously improving my craft and am learning to realize my artistic vision. I believe that one can continue to retain and cultivate a unique vision with the support and feedback of others without being impeded or discouraged by them.
I believe that a great artist knows what they want to make, how to make it, and what they need to improve. An artist usually has an audience he or she wants to reach. The artist knows the interests of their fan base, and with their integrity and ingenuity, harmony can emerge with little compromise. As a result, great creative possibilities and opportunities for invention become possible.
Critics usually write to inform or enlighten the general public, not artists. Many are well-versed and knowledgeable in the field (some are artists themselves) and can offer insight into the semantics of a work. They may even provide entertainment value. However, no matter how objective or reasonable their critiques, their perspectives can be highly subjective. Fruitful conversation and even creative inspiration can arise, but not much else in terms of suggestions as to how an artist can better themselves creatively or technically.
Some criticism is not very constructive at all. Some critics "jump the bandwagon" and champion better-known works, while others engage in ridicule and denigration of "lesser" or "pretentious" art and the audiences it attracts.
There was a time when I watched and read a lot of media criticism. I felt that I was gaining vast knowledge that I could apply to my work to improve it. But when I adopted a consensus" opinion, I found myself running into creative blocks and shortages of inspiration. Then I had an epiphany: I was more concerned about what these commentators thought than what artists are supposed to do: create!
My fellow artists and I should understand that criticism can be helpful to an artist's development. However, its inherently opinionated nature, particularly when abused or if an artist gives it too much importance, runs the risk of demotivating us. For the rest of my career, I aspire to create art that I and those who experience it will find entertaining and enlightening. Nevertheless, I am aware that it's not possible to please everybody, and attempting to do so will never be successful. The Denigration of Carl Skiln will embody that idea, and I hope that my audience can learn from it just as I did from my own experiences.
For updates regarding this project, follow @carlskilnfilm on Instagram and @PixelRustMuzic on Twitter.