For my independent practice, I decided to take inspiration from a director that I have grown attached to recently, David Fincher.
For a long time I haven't really understood David Fincher, I found his films overly long and too plot heavy, that was until I found a great analysis video that I saw on youtube via Tony Zhou. In it he explains the core tenants that David Fincher uses in his work and how he is able to make incredibly interesting thought provoking stuff whilst using relatively bland and simple setups.
Fincher never uses handheld except for a few occasions, The Social Network for example only has a single shot that isn't attached to a tripod, and the most he has ever used was in Se7en where it was used in only 5 scenes. As well as this he also tends not to move the camera at all and tries to get all the action in the single frame itself, rather like how Steven Spielberg tends to try and capture everything necessary in the wide first before cutting in, the exact opposite of the style of Christopher Nolan who tends to use very subtle handheld and lots of inserts.
This look is tricky because a lot of the time it tends to look boring and feels like its not going anywhere, however if it is used with the correct type of script dialogue and plotting, the overall effect glides through it and distracts you, and this is exactly what Fincher does, he gives new scenarios and new pieces of information for each moment that you might get bored and lets the characters react and play around with it, thereby making you concentrate more on them than the camera placement.
As of such Fincher's films look very distinct from the majority of talent out there, and this oneiricism is a fantastic breath of fresh air particularly when he is remaking a film (he Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) or adapting something from real life (Zodiac) because I grow tired of seeing so many of these films done poorly without much taste for the former, and the latter becoming predictable and monotonous due to simply going through each life event uninterestingly.
For my independent practice I intend to copy and take inspiration from these key tenants to challenge myself. I will film it using handheld only when absolutely necessary, and for the most part simply static shots. The only problem that I feel I will face is how to progress the story along without it appearing obvious as to what style I have used as currently I haven't decided to include much dialogue in the film. I am therefore considering using some kind of subtle background music to prevent the boredom of listening to a student film in silence.