Secondary Research On Fear:
The oxford dictionary defines fear as ‘An unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm’ this could be in oneself or someone known.
The amygdalae are a part of our brain that rescinds on each side and is responsible for emotions, survival instincts and memory and it is in this parts of our brains that fear are created. The amygdalae purpose is to remember and respond to danger signals, when the amygdalae sense danger it will send signals, which in turn generate the fear emotion that sets off our response. In animals it was found that when sensing danger the amygdalae starts some type of defence response that impels the animal to fight, freeze, or escape.
Much like with the animals defence response in the face of fear we too do the same thing. Fear acts instantly without us knowing such as it stiffens our muscles before we can walk to the edge of a cliff, it acts swiftly and like animals we can be seen to have a fight, freeze, or escape as well.
Throughout our lives the amygdala builds up some type of date base of our experiences with fear and pain. It will remember all of these events and how we felt so when these events happen again the amygdala with trigger the same feels that we felt. So for example when you lose a loved one a reminder of them later in life will trigger the emotions that the amygdala knows. This could be a reason to explain why people can develop fears that were not present throughout an individual’s life. Like with the last example a lost of a loved one may make someone develop a fear of dying as the pain they feel from that event triggers the emotions known which form fears.
Fear has been used as a focus point in stories for centuries. While with some stories it is clear that fear is a main focus like the blair witch project has the fear of the unknown or The bible which is filled with stories of the fear of gods judgement, some stories on the surface seem to be clean have a deeper representation with fear. In Domination of fear this point is highlighted by saying that the beloved fairy-tale the little red riding hood has a hidden meaning riddled in fear. While many think of it as a cautionary tale this book states that in fact the tale “is actually about the subversion of fear”(Canini 2010:129). The reason that this is important is because fear like in life plays a bigger part in story telling then we understand, LRRH has gone from a story about caution to one about the overthrowing of fear. While in this may seem like nothing it should change the very way in which we understand stories and their meaning. While not always seen fear can be an important tool in the creations of stories.
This is added on further in a 12 minutes video by the novelist Karen Thompson Walker that talked about how our fears and imagination are linked as one.
Firstly the video followed the story of the whaleship Essex the event that inspired the book moby dick. In 1819 3000 miles of the coast of Chile 20 American sailors watched as their boat filled with sea water before being pulled into the darkness of the sea. With only limited equipment, food and water they had 3 options go to the islands nearest to them but where scared of stories about them being filled with cannibals, sail to Hawaii but were worried about the storms or take the long route and sail 1500 miles back to south America but the limited food/water wouldn’t last. In the end they picked the long way because of their fear of cannibals this choice would end up getting half of them killed with some of the living turning to their own form cannibalism.
The novelist Vladimir Nabokov said that the best readers are those who can be both an artist and a science. By this he meant that they have the artists passion and a wiliness to get caught up in the story but at the same time have the coolness of judgement of scientist.
If the sailors were able to do this then maybe they would not have just followed what their imagination could easily picture the cannibals, but look at reason to see they didn’t have the food/water to live the long journey.
If this story tells us is to not let fear guide us, if the sailors had just thought that they would most likely starve to death taking the long way then events may have been different. But the fear that the islands had cannibals on them and what these cannibals would do they was the only thing they could think off.
A line at the end of the speech for me was very interesting was “ our fears are an amazing gift of the imagination” something that when you really think about is true. During the weeks thinking about my own fear artefact I thought about what fears I and others have and it’s so easy to imagine, it’s as clear as having a picture sitting in front of you.
For me I found the concept of this video very interesting that fears can be one of the most powerful forms of imagination. In my artefact on fear I am trying to show that fear stops us from being ourselves as we are scared of what people will think of us, but it’s the imagination of this fear that stops us doing anything. We imagine the worst that people will think, we look to much into our imagination like the sailors of the whaleship essex. They could only picture the cannibals just as we can only see the worst in people so we place on masks to hide away from this fear. We look at the worlds through the eyes of an artist, it’s as clear as day to picture how people will act towards us but what if we looked not as artists but as scientists? We could see that while some may think the worst of us not everyone will in-body our fear and the masks will no longer be needed.
Whatever someone may say we all have fears some are clearly seen but some are hidden away from everyone but why do we do this? What drives us to be seen as the prefect self in the eyes of the public? There is an idea that we all life with masks on, because of fear we are never a open book we create a illustration that covers these fears and act like this is the norm. Nisandeh Neta talked about a common fear what society sees us as,and why this leads us to create a mask to please them. One answer is that we will always hear negative about ourselves that most of us hold onto quotes like I’m a failure, or I’m stupid etc. These are the things that we can’t seem to let go of, so what do we do? We change ourselves into the image that we believe we should be not the image we really are. This change is the mask that we place on ourselves the face that we show the world while hiding our real self for as long as we possibly can. We change our masks depending on who we are with and where we are, think how many times you have been to a shop and had an employee come up with you grinning from ear to ear ready to help and you know that this person isn’t really like this. (Neta, 2008)
Films Based On Fear:
The first film that I watched was the Irrational fear of nothing by Paul Trillo. First off I thought this film was almost prefect the idea is so simple and the cinematography was done so beautifully. The way that we follow the character around could have easily been dull but it works in tandem with the story; we are able to understand this mans characteristics through his thoughts and body movement the fact that we never see the front of this person till the end play no part in the character development. The idea of following behind the back of a paranoid character works well with the topic as fear is something that we never really see it’s like something that follows us everyday without making itself known and the movie has the same feel the camera could repentant fear in that way. It is an important film to highlight the camera as not only a tool to record but has the ability to become its own character. (Trillo, 2016)
The second film that I watched was called fear by Natasha Metlukh, which was a 2-minute animated film on if fear was a friend or foe. The main thing about this film for me was the story it basic in it’s own way but says so much in the short run time that it has. It paints fear, as somewhat of a pet in the way that the characters interact with them, it represents fear as those little black monsters. But it’s the idea that fear is a friend for some or a foe for others that is clearly shown through the story and make for some interesting viewing. The animating used wasn’t what you usually see but not only did it look beautiful, it looked unique and gave the film it’s own feel. There was no dialog in the film only everyday noises but that was all really needed to be used to tell the story and helped to play with the idea that fears are just part of everyday life. The music was almost plain but this makes it seem like it’s part of everyday life, the way that it continues throughout till he gets injured were it stops for about 10 seconds making me feel like it could be our life in music as we move or play throughout the day only stopping if bad events happen. (Metlukh, 2016)
These films let me look closer at fear being the main narrative point, it’s something that i wanted to look more into. Fear is most commonly display is film through emotions and music. Horror films done this the most with music used to build up the suspense into the attack and it’s clear to see the fear in the characters through their actions. I had a good idea were by artefact was going and I knew that it was going to lean on fear being the main factor of my film.The Irrational fear of nothing and Fear were both useful in the hunt to better understand fear within a story.
My Fear Artefact:
For my second artefact 2 I ended up working with Matt. I wanted to look into why we are scared to be our true selves in the public eye and why we change our behaviour to be seen in the way that society claims is right. we create our own masks that we put on before we are seen by the public idea and this is the idea that I will try and play with in my story. This idea came around during my research into fear,I found that most people would act a different way in society then they would in privacy. Example are things like women feeling the need to have makeup on or the pressure of the media in the prefect body image. Only a small amount of people with act the same wherever. The other influence on this idea was social media. During one of my 305 lessons with Rob Canning we discussed whether people act the same way on social media as they do in life. This lend me to the question are we the real us, the idea of a mask seemed like the best way to display this question so it was the one I went with.
My story will revolve around a person waking up and getting ready to go out doing daily routines that we all do such as bushing our teeth, getting dressed, eating etc. my idea is to make it seem as real and dull as I can, I want people to look at it and see their morning. The film will follow this for a while (how long depends on how many things I show) until it gets near the ending scene. For the ending the character will go to leave the house before stopping and looking into the mirror for a couple of seconds before going back to place their mask on. I have thought of different ways to do this scene and I’m still not sure what way I will pick so I’m most likely to film all the ways and just see what looks best.
I want to show in my story that no matter what we do in our morning before we go out we will always put on our mask this is the reason that my character wouldn’t have a mask on from the start as I want to show that they try to leave without having it on but can never bring themselves to do because of fear of how people will see their true self.
I am hoping that the story will be easy to understand I main issue is the end with the mask as people may not get that the mask is the representation of people being to scared to be themselves in public but a lot will come down to how I create the work.
Reflection On Artefact 2:
To be honest the film didn’t turn out as expected, there are clearly issues that could be fixed and it’s not something that i would promote myself with. On the other hand this test really let me understand how important research can be when filming making. I have never really understood why we are expected to do some much research before creating anything, but i remember sitting in front of my laptop when we got this topic not knowing what i was going to make. Firstly to make something you need to understand it, how can you create a piece of work if you yourself don’t know what it is.Fear seems like a simple topic we all know but i never knew how it worked, I never knew the role it can play in stories and i never knew how much it influences our decisions. It was because of my research that i learned all of this and it allowed me to better understand my topic. . The original question was are we the real us this is what i wanted to answer in my work but was I really able to do this? I think it’s both yes and no, the borderline of the question is in there you can clearly see the mask and you can see that the character doesn’t leave without wearing it. The part were he looks into the mirror to check how he looks before leaving only to stop, this is the character understanding that he hasn’t got a mask on and i like to think this is clear to see. On the other hand we could have performed the work better. The main part of the film was the ending with the shot going round the character it’s something that was pitched better then it was shot and was a big part in why this wasn’t the best of our work. I think the other big issue was me and Matt started to work together late in the process of this work and rushed into it. I don’t remember really having a talk about how to best perform our piece of work and This is clear to see. If we had done this then I feel that our work would have come out better.
Thomas, E. (2008) What Causes Fear?. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.effective-mind-control.com/what-causes-fear.html. [Accessed 12 November 2016].
Canini, M. (2010) The Domination of Fear. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
Walker, K.T. (2012). What fear can teach us. [ONLINE]. [Accessed 11 November 2016]. Available from: https://www.ted.com/talks/karen_thompson_walker_what_fear_can_teach_us?language=en
Neta, N. (2008). Facing Fear – Hiding Behind Masks . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.authentic-self.com/facing-fear.html. [Accessed 12 November 2016].
Trillo, P. (2016). The Irrational Fear of Nothing. [ONLINE]. 16 February 2016. Available from: https://vimeo.com/channels/pointofview/151075796. [Accessed: 13 November 2016].
Metlukh, N. (2016). Fears. [ONLINE]. 26 April 2015. Available from: https://vimeo.com/126060304. [Accessed: 13 November 2016].