Published April 5, 2013
Bringing Thousands of People Together Through Lines
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Jonathan Foster

The assignment Meadows had to complete was to shoot and edit a five minute experimental film with no distinct narrative by the end of the quarter. The final idea was Lines, a project where Meadows set up a canvas in public and had individuals paint one line onto it. The goal is to get up to 3,000 people to paint one line on a canvas, thus creating a piece of art through the collaboration of multitudes of people. As Meadows carries out the project, he changes the canvas every 30 participants and for the final step will put all of these canvases together in a nine by nine or 10 by 10 grid. Meadows’ objective is to show people how they can all be connected in something bigger than themselves.

To successfully execute his project, Meadows recruited two other Film and Animation majors to aid him in producing and filming the project. Second year transfer student Karl Pajak is the director of photography, and third year James Nevada is the producer of the film.

Each role is important Pajak helps in the creative aspect of the project, bouncing ideas back and forth with Meadows, while Nevada coordinates location and paperwork for the crew. The three member team has already put major time into the project; Meadows estimates that over 100 hours of planning, shooting and editing has already been done.

One of the major decisions the Lines team had to make was where to film. They decided to remain in the Rochester area to stay local and get involved with the community, but choosing specific locations was another matter. “We needed a location with lots of traffic,” Meadows stated in an email interview, “Many locations that were chains have a very strict “No Soliciting” policy, so they were difficult to obtain.”

“Getting permission from locations owned by chains was complicated,” Nevada explained in an email interview, “It was difficult because we had to go through different levels of corporate.” With this in mind, Nevada cold-called a variety of locations, including Marketplace and Eastview malls, to see if they would be willing to let them shoot. With a well-angled pitch, the team has been able to film at a variety of locations, including RIT’s own RITz.

When thinking about film sets, people often imagine elaborate sets that take up large amounts of space and are huge productions. The Lines set is quite the opposite. In addition to taking up a minimal amount of space, the Lines setup is evocative of their minimalist logo. “We use a soft light to emphasize the colors of the paint against the white canvas,” Pajak explained at the Eastview site.

Though this endeavor, the Lines team members are all thoughtful and appreciative of the experience. “It has been really interesting to observe how people react to having their photo taken,” Pajak describes, “Often how people behave in the photo correlates with the type of line they paint on the canvas. For example, two friends came by, one reserved and one eccentric, posed in their portraits according to their personality. The more reserved friend painted a short, straight line while the eccentric friend painted a long line with purposeful curves and twists.”

Interacting with thousands of strangers has left the team with these types of fascinating insights regarding people.

“It’s awesome seeing people react to other lines. Many people try to avoid crossing over others, while some continue on others and some just like trying to cover the entire canvas,” Meadows reflects. “Being able to be a part of so many people’s lives has been a fantastic experience. I have learned so much about people just through their lines and our very small conversations.” Check out Lines and where their next event will be on their Facebook page.

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