Directed by Alex Siwik

A film student attempts to complete a class assignment on Marilyn Monroe, but instead falls asleep, not realizing his hypnotic trance that lies ahead.

Project Breakdown

I will start off by saying my journey with this project was not necessarily the smoothest. Midway through shooting what was supposed to be a mini-documentary, I hit a bit of a wall. I realized that my vision for the project I pitched was not so clear after all, as I was no longer able to see where the piece was heading. After some heavy contemplation, I decided to put the documentary idea on the back burner and figure something else out.

I made it my goal to keep things simple but visually interesting. As someone who is more of a cinematographer than a writer or director, I did not want to fret with writing a script or having to direct actors too heavily. I also knew that I really loved the footage I already shot for my previous idea, so I decided to incorporate it into a fictional piece and shoot new footage to go along with it.

The film features a boy, Noah Lovas, in a sleep-dance trance with Marilyn Monroe (played by Kaylie Minzola). My background in music often leads me to make my projects very musically driven, so it was almost a no-brainer for me to make a dance piece. I have worked with Noah on dance projects in the past and we work great together. We constantly bounce ideas off of each other and make magical things happen, however, this time was a bit trickier than the rest. The only direction I gave Noah was, “Dance around with a broom in a drunken manner with your eyes shut.” Nevertheless, Noah handled it like a champ and killed it.

I focused heavily on lighting and the color grade with this piece. All of the Marilyn dream scenes were lit rather high-key, much like a fashion or beauty commercial. My inspiration for the color grade for these scenes comes from those old-time photo places you find on the boardwalk. The photos are edited to look very washed and with sepia coloring. For the nighttime dance scenes, I kept things contrasty, with the TV and moonlight being the only motivated sources of light. I feel that the overall contrast between both scenes worked to my advantage in keeping the piece interesting to watch.

Although my original idea for this project did not work out, I am still super satisfied with how things turned out. I certainly learned some things, too. If I could take away one thing from this project, it would be to always have a thorough vision in mind for every project you take on. See it from beginning to end before you even think about breaking the camera out.

Meet the Director

Alex is a senior at Temple University, where he studies Film & Media Arts with a concentration in Cinematography. During his college years, Alex gained production experience through shooting narrative shorts, music videos, and commercial content for local businesses. As a cinematographer, Alex believes that lighting is one of the most crucial elements in establishing a scene and enhancing what the director wants the viewer to feel. In his downtime, Alex enjoys playing music, skateboarding, and reading about new camera and lighting technology.

This project was created as part of the JTWO [INC]ubator Project. A semester long internship program built from the ground up to give young filmmakers, content creators, and all around hungry for a challenge individuals a place to stretch their creative minds while preparing them for the road ahead.

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