Watch! Don’t write while watching. Think while watching.
Where are we? Location.
Who is this? Character. Do you like this character? (“Sympathize”)
What’s happening?Plot. Individual events are “plot points.” The even that starts everything is the “instigating event.”
Visual. Shots. Light. Color. Movement.
Sound.Music. Ambience. Dialog. Effects.
Editing.Shot order. Pacing. Transitions.
Theme. What are the main ideas? How are you left feeling when the film ends? What questions do you have?
Take a few minutes to write down your thoughts immediately after the film is over.
Discuss! Refer to your notes to contribute comments to the discussion. The class critique can be richer because we all interpret films from a different point of view. The audience adds meaning to the film—and it can mean different things to different people!
Check out this fabulous website, featuring short films–narratives, documentaries, animation, etcetera. Films range from experimental to traditional, serious to funny. Explore the site by going to “Films” to find a list of genres (“Documentary” for example), by going to “Playlists,” or by searching for a key word.
Your assignment: Write, Direct and Edit an action sequence in class. This builds off of the documentary we just watched, “The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing” and is preparation for the next assignment, a narrative short film you will shoot outside of class.
Form a crew of 3
Come up with an idea for your action sequence; type up a treatment
Draw up a storyboard for each shot in the sequence. (The storyboard form is at the bottom of this post, and is handed out in class)
Scout locations, find props as needed, and cast actors from class (pre production)
Shoot your film during class time, somewhere on campus
No weapons, sexual references, drug references or profanity. No fight scenes. No blood.
Characters: Two characters. You may get students in the class to act in your film.
Plot: The film should start with an “instigating event”–some situation that starts the action. The chase ensues. The chase must resolve or end in some way with a final short scene
Dialog: You must have at least one line at the start and one at the end of the sequence.
Shots: 30 shots minimum (see list of shot types below)
Length: 2-4 minutes total
Music: Edit the chase to music
Finishing: Titles and credits
You need at least 30 shots total. You may not use them all in your final piece. You should cover each moment of the action with at least two angles. You must storyboard and shoot the following at some point in your sequence:
At least 5 close ups of faces
At least 3 close ups (details) of things (other parts of the body, props, cutaways)
1 swish (fast) pan
1 follow (over the shoulder, or push back)
1 extreme low angle
1 extreme high angle
1 point of view shots
1 extreme wide angle (zoomed all the way out)
1 telephoto (zoomed all the way in)
Choose your shots for the right moments in your film.