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Film as Literature Boot Camp How to sound like a pro when analyzing a film!

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Presentation on theme: "Film as Literature Boot Camp How to sound like a pro when analyzing a film!"— Presentation transcript:

1 Film as Literature Boot Camp How to sound like a pro when analyzing a film!

2 Filmic Analysis Filmic Analysis=analyzing the technical details of a film, and how they shape the way we see itFilmic Analysis=analyzing the technical details of a film, and how they shape the way we see it This is exactly like what youve done in English classes since Kindergarten!This is exactly like what youve done in English classes since Kindergarten! Plot, characters, point of view, writing style, etc…Plot, characters, point of view, writing style, etc… Cameras, lights and sounds instead of words!Cameras, lights and sounds instead of words!

3 Expectations 1.You are expected to think about film as you would literature! 2.Look for intentionality! 3.Look for visual symbols. 4.Always ask Why? 5.Remove all distractions.

4 Books vs. Films: Who makes them? Books: AuthorAuthor EditorEditor PublisherPublisher Usually a one- man/woman show…Usually a one- man/woman show… The readers imaginationThe readers imaginationFilms: Screenwriter (like an author)Screenwriter (like an author) DirectorDirector ProducerProducer CinematographerCinematographer Cast and crew!Cast and crew! Hundreds-thousands involved!Hundreds-thousands involved! Directors visionDirectors vision

5 Movie Industry Jobs: #1: Director Closest thing to an author of a filmClosest thing to an author of a film Makes all final decisions on:Makes all final decisions on: LinesLines Mise-en-scene (everything on stage)Mise-en-scene (everything on stage) Placement of actors, props, etc…Placement of actors, props, etc… Camera workCamera work CinematographerCinematographer Is like God on the movie setIs like God on the movie set

6 Director: what to look for Classic Hollywood StyleClassic Hollywood Style Audience member as silent witness to events on filmAudience member as silent witness to events on film Point of viewPoint of view Should be subtleShould be subtle Look for:Look for: Movement of cameraMovement of camera Interaction of characters with cameraInteraction of characters with camera Mise en scene: where are props and characters in relation to the character?Mise en scene: where are props and characters in relation to the character? Directors breaking the Classic Hollywood StyleDirectors breaking the Classic Hollywood Style

7 Famous directors Stephen Spielberg + Schindlers List + E.T. + Indiana Jones Francis Ford Coppola + Godfather + Apocalypse Now + American Graffiti Woody Allen + Annie Hall + Match Point

8 Job #2: Producer In charge of the film after filmingIn charge of the film after filming Post-productionPost-production Special effectsSpecial effects Remixing of soundRemixing of sound CuttingCutting Main job: keep film at or under budget!Main job: keep film at or under budget!

9 Producer: What to Look For Special effectsSpecial effects Do they help or hurt the film?Do they help or hurt the film? How did they do the special effects?How did they do the special effects? Before the 1990s, they actually had to use camera tricks instead of CGIBefore the 1990s, they actually had to use camera tricks instead of CGI MusicMusic How does music affect the mood of a scene?How does music affect the mood of a scene? How does silence affect the mood?How does silence affect the mood? Quality vs. Crap: If a movie looks poorly made, it is usually the producer…Quality vs. Crap: If a movie looks poorly made, it is usually the producer…

10 Famous Producers George Lucas + Star Wars + Labyrinth + The Land Before Time Mel Brooks + The Producers + Spaceballs + etc… Spike Lee + He Got Game + Malcolm X + Do the Right Thing (director)

11 Job #3: Cinematography AKA director of photographyAKA director of photography His/her job is to deal with:His/her job is to deal with: Choice of cameraChoice of camera LensesLenses Filters on lensesFilters on lenses LightingLighting Movement of cameraMovement of camera The director…The director…

12 Cinematography What to look for:What to look for: Colors/black & whiteColors/black & white Movement (speed, direction)Movement (speed, direction) Camera anglesCamera angles What do they tell you about the story?What do they tell you about the story? How do they affect point of view?How do they affect point of view? LightingLighting How does this affect the mood of the story?How does this affect the mood of the story? This is the most important, yet underrated job in Hollywood!!!This is the most important, yet underrated job in Hollywood!!! Because of this, you wont recognize any of them!Because of this, you wont recognize any of them!

13 How do I figure this stuff out? 1.Watch the film carefully with subtitles on and cell phones off! 2.Listen to commentary on DVDs! 3.Research online (and cite in your PPT!) 1.www.rogerebert.com (he is the best film critic alive!) 2.www.imdb.com (heavily linked) 3.Studio websites 4.Think about film as you would a text. Ask why? 1.Why would the camera move in this way? 2.Why would the producer choose to include silence? 3.What do the names of characters mean? Colors worn, etc…

14 Examples Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron: dir) The scene: intro through 4:36 1.Look for: 1.How are the following identified in the first five minutes? 1.Setting (time, place) 2.Conflict (what is the main, immediate conflict?) 3.Characters (what do we know about Clive Owens character immediately?) 2.Think about: 1.How does one long, continuous camera shot put you, the viewer, into the story? 2.How does Cuaron use music, sound effects and white noise to affect your mood? 3.What kind of story is this going to be, based on the first five minutes?

15 More Children of Men The scene: Theo is refilling his flask, overhears Jasper talking about him with Miriam and Kee. 53:00-55:30 Watch for: Character back-story (the characters past.) What do we now know about Theo?

16 Citizen Kane Scene: Intro-3:00 Watch for camera techniques: Unique or artsy camera anglesUnique or artsy camera angles Light/dark to create positive or negative imagesLight/dark to create positive or negative images Distorted or bizarre images (why?)Distorted or bizarre images (why?) Snow globe, mouth, focus on lighted windowSnow globe, mouth, focus on lighted window Wipe technique as a transitionWipe technique as a transition

17 Examples Citizen Kane (Orson Welles: dir AND star) The scene: Orson Welles delivers a political speech. 1: : Look for: 1.Perspective: 1.Why does the camera look up at Kane? 2.Why is the camera up in the stands later? The scene: Intro to Xanadu (Welles mansion/palace) 1.Look for: 1.Camera movement 1.What changes? What doesnt? So what? Think about: This is the first film which used advanced camera techniques. How has this shaped modern films?

18 Examples New Moon (yes, there is some good in this film!) The scene: Edward dumps Bella. Watch AND listen to the commentary. Focus on: Type of camera usedType of camera used Long shot vs. close shotLong shot vs. close shot Mood, feelMood, feel SettingSetting

19 Using Lenses Some tips:Some tips: This is no different than using a text!This is no different than using a text! Use the lenses to help explain why characters behave the way they do, or what motivates them. SO WHAT?Use the lenses to help explain why characters behave the way they do, or what motivates them. SO WHAT? Darth Vaders (Star Wars) internal struggle of id vs. super ego (leads to him wavering between good and evil)Darth Vaders (Star Wars) internal struggle of id vs. super ego (leads to him wavering between good and evil) Woody Allen (Annie Hall) is unhappy because he is dominated by his super ego (so he fails in every relationship he gets involved in)Woody Allen (Annie Hall) is unhappy because he is dominated by his super ego (so he fails in every relationship he gets involved in) Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) is angry at society and is nihilistic because of his poverty and inability to appropriately or successfully date a rich girl (therefore he lashes out at society)Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) is angry at society and is nihilistic because of his poverty and inability to appropriately or successfully date a rich girl (therefore he lashes out at society)


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