Director’s Vision

Coverage is what makes up the elements that are later edited together to make the movie. It’s a selection of shots that the editor can splice together to complete the scene. Because shots are duplicated in a number of takes, these shots provide the editor with many options, ways to tell the story. And while the editor may assemble the shots into a scene, it is the director who has the final say how this assemblage is completed.

To obtain coverage, it’s common practice to first shoot a master. A master shot includes all the elements or characters in one camera shot. It’s the long shot or wide angle shot that depicts the location, the major cast of characters and the action that will take place in a scene. The editor uses this master shot as a road map to assemble closer shots.

The coverage then moves in for a two shot (two people). This could be a frontal two shot and/or an over the shoulder two shot. While the frontal two shot depicts the relationship between the two characters, the over the shoulder two shot isolates mainly on one character’s action. This over the shoulder angle allows greater flexibility in editing as the scene can move back and forth between dialogue and/or reaction shots.

The close up is usually the final setup in shooting a sequence. This type of shot is focused on the upper body and face. It allows for the greatest expression of emotions. Like the over the shoulder two shot, it allows for considerable editing flexibility as the scene can go back and forth showing both the dialogue and reactions of each character. The choker close up can move in just below the collar and the extreme close up composed below the chin and cutting off some hair. These closer angles gather up subtle emotions and behaviors one would miss in longer shots.

Another common shot in the sequence is the cut away. This focuses on some element or object related to the scene but not evident in the previous series of shots. It could be a telltale cigarette butt in an ashtray or an incriminating drink glass left on the coffee table. A character’s observation or avoidance of these items quickly tells the story in visual terms. They also allow a departure from repetitious dialogue/reactions shots and set a new rhythm to the scene. There is an array of other camera shot available to the director to tell his story and these we will discuss later in this article.

What is important from the director’s point of view is what shots best will tell the story. Having worked on films as a script supervisor, production designer, and art director, I see firsthand the confusion when this question comes up. The most prominent solution is do a lot of takes from every which angle. On big budget movies this is allowable; however, when funds are limited, one must be more selective. This article gets into the selection parameters and develops a process whereby these choices are logical and prudent.

In dissecting a scene, one must talk about the pressing question the audience will ask and want answered. This question is the inertia that carries the story forward and creates audience involvement. They become invested in the situation, the characters and their problems.

For instance, in a scene between a cheating husband and his naive wife, the pressing question is will she discover his infidelity. The audience knows he’s a cheater and wonders when she will uncover this fact. Thus the coverage of this scene would focus mainly on her reaction to what he’s telling her. When will she find out he’s lying? The coverage would seek to isolate her internal questioning, her probing body language and the eventual realization and contrast this against his deceiving behavior. The scene is the pivotal moment in the story and demands to be handled appropriately. What camera angles and moves would you use to define this questioning and her realization?

There are numerous ways this could be done and the director has to decide which camera angles or moves best define his vision. This article discusses how these decisions are made and the factors that go into making them. Basically, it has to do with what the audience wants to see and how this desire can be fulfilled, delayed, or manipulated for best dramatic value.

The amount of coverage depends largely on the schedule and budget. It simply comes to balancing the three considerations of any production, time, budget, and picture quality. It comes down to how many setups can be done each day. This is contingent on time allowed for lighting the scene, moving the camera, rehearsals, walk-throughs by the actors, and the number of takes allowed on each setup. If you have a crew that’s slow or a cast that can’t remember their lines and blocking, then these become factors in structuring your coverage. If so, you would be restricted to fewer camera setups to allow time for more takes.

Another factor is how effective and timely are communications. If cast, crew, and the director have to belabor every decision while the clock is running, then time runs out before you get the required shots. Good coverage begins with preparation, knowing what you want to accomplish before you arrive on the set. It’s having a game plan that includes communicating with department leads about the plan for the next day. It includes a detailed shot list that’s communicates to the production team and cast what they are going to accomplish.

However, one must go beyond the shot-list and determine what aspects of the story need to be highlighted, repressed, or modified. Once on the set, things can suddenly change and one must be ready and willing to revamp the coverage to capture performance surprises as well as correct flaws. The objective should be to photograph performances that best tell the story. This may require adjusting ones shot-list to accommodate a better version of your vision. Likewise, being overly committed to the shot-list can back the creative team into a corner. It can overlook obtaining those fresh and compelling serendipity moments that make the scene magical.

Another aspect of coverage is POV. Whose point of view are we seeing? This consideration greatly affects camera angles as well as sightlines. Usually the character with the POV becomes the observer, the one from whose perspective we see as the story unfolds. However, this perspective can also be represented by the reactions and behavior of the observer. Simply put, the scene unfolds through the eyes of the POV character and what we see and hear is a reflection of his or her persona. Sightlines are acutely connected between the POV character and the observed object, character or thought. It is this juxtaposition that gives flow and purpose to the scene. It’s like a well-phased filmic sentence that is immediately understood. This juxtaposition between observer and subject observed is given added prominence via screen time; dominate camera angles, and well-defined sightlines.

Establishing geography is an overlook facet when it comes to coverage. Geography is the spatial language filmmakers use to evoke the experience of inhabiting and moving through space, to transporting the audience to different places. When done correctly, the viewer is oriented with the character’s movements coming and going to and from various locales. Creative geography is frequently used in film to transition between setups. For instance, when a character enters through the front door of a house shown from the outside, then emerges into the sound stage of the house’s interior, the action appears seamless. We accept that the house he entered from the outside is the same one as in the interior shot.

The spatial conventions used in film to establish geography are mainly screen direction, framing, and matching action. Consistent screen direction is important as our minds accept the proscenium perspective where an actor crossing the frame left to right continues going left to right in the next shot. Normally, this would not be a problem except that films are shot out of sequence. Thus script notations have to be kept so the connecting shot can display the same screen direction.

Framing the shot is likewise dependent on maintaining similar subject size. For instance, in a two person scene, the complementary angle moves from medium shot to medium shot. This is helpful when editing a sequence as the subjects’ head sizes remains consistent when cutting from shot to shot. The only difference is that each head appears on the opposing side of the frame. The subject’s frame size also helps indicate the objective and subjective sides of storytelling. Wide angle long shots tend to show what’s happening while closer angles tend to display why it’s happening and/or the emotional aspect of the scene.

Matching action shots likewise require a similar subject sizes. This makes the cut more acceptable and covers flaws in matching the motion. In matching shots, if the camera angle is 30-degree or more between the initial shot and the matching shot, this makes the transition smoother. In fact, this rule applies to most camera setups as it helps avoid the dreaded jump-cut.

A jump cut in film editing is two sequential shots of the same subject taken from camera positions that vary only slightly. While not inherently bad, jump cuts are considered a violation of classical editing, which attempts to give the illusion of continuous time and space. Jump cuts draw attention to themselves and the film’s construction. It becomes conspicuous and disrupts the continuity. However, it does have a purpose. It can give the effect of jumping forward in time and can also set up a jarring moment sometimes found in thriller and slasher films.

A smash cut is one where the scene abruptly cuts to one that is disparately different and not expected. It could be done for aesthetic, narrative, or emotional reasons and usually has a jarring effect on the story experience. A good example is when a character wakes up from a frightful nightmare to find himself safe in his own bed.

The L cut or split edit uses synchronized picture and sound elements to make transitions, however one or the other preludes or overlaps into the next cut. For instance a boy and girl are conversing and instead of going back and forth between the two, we hear what one is say while the other reacts. L cuts are also used to hide transitions between scenes. A good example is the loud sound of a train heard before we see the image of the approaching train. The name of the cut refers to the shape it makes on the video/ audio computer tracks, one below, one above, offset from each other.

Cross-cutting or parallel editing is a technique used to establish actions occurring at the same time in two different locations. This technique helps to create suspense as in the case of the sheriff and his men racing to protect settlers from the bad guys. Shots of the settlers fending off the bad guys intercut with the approaching sheriff brings up the pressing tension-filled question, “Will they get there in time?” Cross-cutting can also contrast two opposing entities to form a new perception. For instance, contrast shots of the rich dinning in splendor against the poor scavenging through dumpsters for food. It creates a sharp dichotomy about inequality.

Pace, rhythm and length of cuts are other factors affecting coverage. Pace has to do with how quickly new information is presented. This could be dialogue, visual activities, plot changes or mental/emotional renderings. Pace is largely dependent on the genre of the piece. In drama, the pacing is deliberate and flexing to promote audience input through imagery, questions, speculation, anticipation, resolving, and reflection of serious emotional caring forces. The pacing allows time to nurture an unseen internal story, time to comprehend, process, embellish, and respond.

In comedy, the pace is quick and energetic to limit exploration of a transparent story where logic and reality are distorted. The rapid pace maintains focus on lighthearted wit and humor, and replacing rapidly dissipating information with new, more exciting information. Comedy is much more informational than emotional while drama tends to be more emotional with emphasis on the implied and inferred. Another factor for a slower pace in drama is that emotional content takes longer to register and also longer to dissipate.

Rhythm in film relates to the periodic occurrence of memorable high-impact moments. The frequency and spacing are different for every story. When coverage accentuates these moments it sets up a rhythm of expectations and the audience becomes more attuned to the story. Thus, in any story, interesting things have to happen periodically. If nothing occurs for a long period of time, the audience looses interest and it becomes difficult to get them back. When there are dramatic or comic peaks and valleys spread throughout the film, the audience tunes into the character’s performance and their story. These peaks could be plot points where something hooks into the action and spins it around in another direction. They could also be new characters, new problems, or climatic resolutions. There are many plot points in a screenplay and these zigzag moments can involve rhythm peaks. They propel the story forward and draw the viewer deeper into the characters and their story.

There can also be rhythm within a shot or scene. Well written and performed scenes have the peaks and valleys, moments with higher impact. These could be awareness of new information, realizations, reflections, expectations, or weighing of options. It could also be sudden changes in character intentions and/or emotions forcing changes in their dramatic direction.

The rhythm of a film is dependent on its genre. In dramas, the peaks and valleys are more pronounced and their frequency is a well-spaced. Peaks and valleys are almost equal in dynamics and sustained for emotional affect. “Citizen Kane” and “Lawrence of Arabia” are films that have this overall rhythm.

In comedy, you’ll find a staccato rhythm representing a faster, more energetic one often found in physical comedies. The peaks are higher, more frequent, and closer together. With rapid -fire humor, the valleys almost disappear. Classic comedies such as “Airplane” and “A Night at the Opera” are typical examples.

In slow moving character pieces, the slowly undulating moments have a gentle rhythm that makes for gradual, milder changes. The peaks and valleys are much less frequent, less dynamic as the story slowly evolves concentrating less on plot and more on place, relationships and internal struggles. “Howards End” and “The Sixth Sense” follow this rhythmic pattern.

Shot length or cut length is another consideration in preparing coverage. The length of the cut depends primarily on how long it takes to convey essential information, whether it is dialogue, reactions, or behavior. To keep the film interesting it may be necessary to provide a number of perspectives, not only of the leads but supporting players as well. These include functional ones such as sidekick, skeptic, guardian, or antagonist as well as characters that make emotional and logic contributions.

Another factor in shot or cut length is the genre of the film and the style of acting. For instance, action adventure films usually have numerous cuts rarely over three seconds long. I found when cuts run longer; there is movement either by the characters, the camera, or there is highly impactful content. In suspense and thriller movies the length of the cut is stretched to create tension. In farce and mad-cap comedies, cuts are brief as the pace is accelerated and information is usually delivered in short bits and reaction shots.

As a point of reference, Michael Bay’s “Transformers” movies, with their rapid cuts, have an Average Shot Length (ASLs) between 3 and 3.4 seconds. On his film “Inception” (2010) the ASL was 3.1. In the last thirty years Hollywood films have gotten faster, resulting in ASLs of less than 5 seconds. By comparison, foreign films have remained slower and those habits are often brought to Hollywood by European Filmmakers. For instance, Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn’s film “Drive” features fairly long takes and an ASL of 7 seconds per cut.

Sightlines are additional considerations in doing film coverage. Sightlines not only define character relationships, these looks can define when and where important story points fall. In fact, eye behavior is the prominent motivator in establishing editing cuts. When one character does his dialogue and looks to another character for a response, we are motivated to follow that look. Consistency in maintaining sightlines from one shot to the next requires working out shot progressions in advance. For instance, a person seated talking to another character standing requires sightlines in closer shots to approximate those in the master. Another area is eye behavior following a moving object, let’s say a car. An over the shoulder shot of a car traveling left to right by an observer will record the speed of the car and distance from the observer. However, in the reverse angle close up of the observer, the eyes will move camera right to left and the scan of the eyes will approximate the same speed.

Eye behavior and eye lines become more critical as the camera moves closer. They become more subtle and angled closer to the camera. This provides the same frame motion as in the longer shots and maintains the same illusion. As eye angles become less acute, in extreme close ups it may be necessary for the actor to look to the side or even within the matte box. Likewise, as the camera moves in closer the behavior must be toned down slightly to approximate the one alluded to in the longer shots. Eye movements, head movements and facial expressions should become more subtle. As the camera moves in the face fills the frame, accentuating the behavior and if not subdued, it may appear over the top.

Today’s directors have an array of cinematic tools at their disposal. With the latest lightweight video cameras, today’s productions can go almost anywhere, under the most adverse lighting situations, and still obtain quality pictures. Likewise, high quality radio mics have unleashed the actor’s mobility to where action and dialogue can be captured in new and innovative ways. This freedom of expression also extends to camera movement. Dollies, cranes, hand held, Steadicam, and camera drones allow movement unheard of years ago. However, this newfound freedom can be a hindrance in that the dexterity of the shot calls attention to itself and can overshadow the storytelling aspects. When these tools and devices become toys the storytelling suffers.

They have to be used with purpose and each has its affect on the audience. For instance, a slow dolly in can be a transition from the external to the internal, from the objective to a subjective viewpoint. Trucking shots, moving with a fast moving character or vehicle, can add tension and danger to the scene. A crane or drone shot can show a motivated perspective from that of a kite or balloon. In these examples, there’s a dramatic reason for the camera’s movements, one that fulfills a desire for a new perspective and strengthens the telling of the story.

Lenses and filters are other tools the director and DP use to tell the story. These too affect how we perceive the action. For instance, the standard lens or 50 mm photographs the scene pretty much the way our eyes see it. Wide angle lenses, on the other hand, have a wide angle of view and make objects appear farther away and further apart. They also distort their size and shape. With a wide angle lens, everything in the scene can be a crisp and sharp focus. Long lenses or telephoto lenses tend to blur the background. These are great when the director wishes to place all the attention on the foreground action. Lenses slightly longer than the standard lens, the 75 mm and 100 mm, are often used for close-ups of beautiful women. These lenses lack distortion and slightly compress facial features making the nose and eye sockets less protrusive.

Filters can likewise change our perception of a scene. A day for night filter can turn a sunny day into a moon lit scene. A fog filter can accentuate the light haze into a foggy night. Filters can also add warmth to a scene or make a cold weather location appear more frigid. They can also make clouds more pronounce than they are. Today, these filter effects can be done digitally in post productions yet accommodations for lighting and shadows need to be addressed during the production phase.

Variety is a must in any motion picture. Too much to the same thing makes the presentation redundant and the audience soon looses interest. That’s why coverage needs to be a mix of angles and progressions. And these angles and progression need to be motivated by characters’ behaviors, story situations, and genre of the film. This quest for variety need not be a conscience endeavor, but one that unfolds organically through competent understanding of camera placement and their cinematic meanings. Finding what’s truly important in the scene and featuring story arguments that pulls the audience deeper into the story. Likewise, exploiting the audience’s pressing question raises the involvement of the audience. When caring or rooting forces are present, these can likewise be emphasized for deeper viewer investment. As you can see, determining coverage requires complete understanding of the script’s dramatic implications, the character’s wants, emotions, their functions and conflicts.

Sound and music are likewise an integral part of coverage. They can serve several purposes that not only promote the emotional side of the movie but also help enhance the storytelling. Often directors and DPs overlook the potentials of sound and music when laying out coverage. For instance, music can help establish an ethnicity or location, even the period of a film. And by commenting on the visual, music and sound effects can generate an emotional response or even an intellectual position. Orchestrations can heighten the emotional stakes. Strings can emphasize romance and tragedy, brass instruments conger power and sorrow, while percussion heightens suspense.

Music can also help create plot relationship with leitmotifs, thematic identities connected to characters, situations and/or places. Music can also imply a sense of space. For instance, Westerns and Outer Space films use a full symphony orchestra while an intimate two character scene in a small flat necessitates something much smaller. Music and sound effects can also manipulate the audience into making false assumptions about good versus evil. Likewise, poor recorded sounds can be dubbed, replicated or enhanced whether it is dialogue or the sound of an army tank. In simulating reality, sounds like a door closing or footsteps can be produced by Foley artists, generating these sounds mechanically. Music and sound can add life to a mediocre scene as well as help bridge abrupt cuts in action. When considering coverage possibilities, these entities should not be overlooked.

What procedures can save time and money and make coverage more effective? This is the question that should be asked in preproduction. Detailed planning and articulate communication should be part of this process. As the coverage is laid out, the director and DP have to communicate what grip, lighting, and camera equipment is required to complete the projected shots. If scenes are story boarded, then lighting and camera plots can be planned. Many of these questions can be taken care of before the clock is running. When everyone knows the first shot of the day is a two shot at the kitchen counter then the proper equipment can be on the stage. When the next shots are complementary over-the-shoulder, followed by close ups on each lead, the crew can be ready to make quick and effective lighting and camera changes.

Another helpful procedure is rehearsing actors off stage while lights are being set up. This is a perfect time to see how your projected coverage will work out and what tweaks and adjustments need to be made. When there are story boards, shot lists, lighting and camera plots, the creative team becomes more effective and results is a higher quality film that stays within budget. Likewise, have an alternate game plan should something go wrong. What scenes can be omitted, what angles are not necessary, and what lines of dialogue can be deleted. What transitional shots can fix an editing problem? Addressing these questions early on makes for a calmer more effective shoot, one with a sensible shooting ratio.

One glaring problem in obtaining coverage is the compulsion to get a perfect master shot, especially when only a small portion is going to be used. This is usually the establishing angle and only a short duration needs to be perfect. The rest of the shot gives the editor an orientation of the scene. Knowing up front what coverage shots are truly necessary provides more time to get the angles that best tell the story. It also provides more time to sharpen the performances with additional takes.

Improving English Through Movies

1. Listening skills

Watching movies is a great way to boost your listening skills. You will hear English used in a natural way, informal English, slag words and phrases you do not often find in books or dictionaries.

2. Speaking skills

Repeating what you hear on the screen can go a long way towards improving your speaking skills, from your fluency, words linking, pronunciation, to correct intonation.

3. Vocabulary and grammar

You will have chance to learn many words, phrases and grammar and how they are used in real life.

Watching movies and films, obviously helps to improve your English. However, while some can use this technique effectively, many people find it difficult. For example, there are no subtitles; they have to keep on pausing and playing to understand; they find it difficult to take notes while enjoying the movie; they are not sure whether they can remember these words after.

So how can learning English through movies be made enjoyable and effective?

1. Enjoy them

You don’t need to understand everything. If you try too hard, it will be frustrating experience studying the language. Instead, try catching words and grammar points you already know and those you are not familiar with. You can pause and replay when you find something interesting or if you want to verify something. It is easier and time-saving if you have both English subtitles in your mother language. Since not all films have these, you can check the movie transcripts.

2. Re-watching, listening and shadowing

Re-watch your favorite films, and replay your favorite scenes. The more you re-watch, the more you can focus on the speech because you already know what is happening in every scene. Instead of focusing on what is happening, you can give more attention to what you hear. If you don’t have time to re-watch the movie, then listen to the film audio. You can rip audio from films, save them as Mp3 files, and play them while doing other things. Also, mimic the way the actors say the lines by repeating them. You can look at the transcripts while doing so.

Problem With Movies

The first problem I have is poor audio mixing. What do I mean by this? Let’s say you open up your mailbox and you have a couple movies from Netflix sitting there (I almost made this example driving to Blockbuster, but then I remembered it was 2016). You pop in the Blu-Ray/ DVD into your player of choice and you sit back and you have to turn the volume down because there a lot of explosions and such. Then people start talking and you have to find the remote because they might as well be whispering! Then another explosion and now you’re deaf because the damn thing was so ear piercingly loud. This can be annoying. Hell it’s one of easiest ways to take me out of a movie, to be honest. So why does this happen? Well when the audio for movies is mixed, they mix it for a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound setup because that is the optimal way to watch a movie. You see, in 5.1 surround sound each speaker has its own job. The center speaker handles dialogue, the 2 side speakers are for explosions and “bwaam” noises in Christopher Nolan movies, the subwoofer is for “dat bass”, and lastly the 2 (or 4 if you have 7.1) satellite speakers are for the surround effects. That’s really cool and all, but I am not in a position to buy a 5.1 surround sound setup. I am a very poor college student who can only afford to eat ramen noodles 4 times a week (The other times I eat the cardboard the ramen came in. I have a sad life). I set up my dad’s stereo from like the 80’s to be my “hi-fi” audio setup which replaces my TV’s stereo sound with a slightly less awful stereo sound. So when the DVD/Blu-Ray player outputs a 5.1 signal, my poor stereo speakers can only replicate the 2 front side speakers. This is why explosions are so loud. The dialogue is going to a non-existent center speaker, which is why it comes out so quiet.

So what’s the solution? Add two dialogue tracks. One mixed in good super old fashioned stereo and the other mixed in the fancy pants 5.1/7.1 goodness. This way I can set the volume to a comfortable volume, and leave it there. This may sound like a super easy solution, but I would hazard a guess that mixing audio is a very difficult task, and not one easily undertaken. However I think that it’s well worth it and shows that movie studios are willing to go the extra mile for those who still want to watch their favorite movies, but maybe aren’t the most well off.

Well, we have done an audio problem, So let’s finish this article with a visual problem. This is probably the two biggest problems I have modern movies today. Shaky Cam and jump cuts. For those unfamiliar with shaky cam as a concept, I am sorry that I have to be the one who has to tell you about it. Basically it’s the worst form of visual storytelling imaginable. That’s not the most telling description, is it? OK, so shaky cam is exactly what it sounds like. It’s basically the director telling the cameraman to shake the camera as hard as they can. This is in order to make the action look frantic. Sounds stupid right, but it’s a real thing. The problem with shaky cam is that it is made worse by terrible, quick, jumpy editing. This is also just what it sounds like. It is the use of a million and a half different cuts in order to convey frantic action. However in reality, it often make it so that the scene is impossible to understand. These are just the tools of the incredibly lazy. The use of these two tools in conjunction makes a movie’s action scenes a chore to watch, and impossible to understand. You have to actively try to piece together when the actors are being hit, because the shot never actually shows it. You hear a flurry of sound effects, and you see a blurry mess of hands and faces, but it’s just audio and visual garbage that the director is trying to pass off as incredible action.

The solution to this problem is actually pretty simple. Hire better directors. Directors that are good at their jobs will make the action look good without the use of cheap tricks and quick editing. There are fantastic directors when it comes to filming action. Take the Wachowski siblings. Sure, they have made a couple stinkers in the last couple years, but the first Matrix movie is incredibly well directed. There are uses of wide shots, so we so exactly what is going on, there’s just the right amount of slow motion so we really feel it when characters get hit. The score is used perfectly, so when the hero gets hit hard, the music slows down and gets quieter. The Subway scene in the matrix encapsulates all of that.

Contrast this from Alex Cross. The camera is literally just shaking. You don’t see the hits connect. You see the main character hit the villain and then after a cut you see the villain react. This is probably to cover up the fact that the actors were not properly choreographed.

Auteur Filmmakers

Tim Burton. Known for Batman, Alice in Wonderland, Dark Shadows.

Known as the “goth” director, Burton makes movies centered on dark fantasy folklore. His 1992 sequel of Batman was deemed too dark and “unsafe” for children which made Warner Bros. replace him with Joel Schumacher in the third installment.

His films often feature main characters that are freaks, weirdos and loners, which he carefully weaves together to develop a compelling story.

He is also big on costumes, particularly costumes from the Victorian era, regardless of the time period the movie is set in. Helping give the narrative a gothic appeal.

Burton’s visual style have successfully incorporated goth with art and made it mainstream. Gothic architectural designs, as seen in Batman and Dark Shadows, hunted castles, ghosts and vampires are part of his unique storytelling style and separates him from other directors.

Quentin Tarantino. Known for Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Django Unchained

Tarantino’s movies are heavy with extended scenes of dialogue and nonlinear narrative techniques that rival Christopher Nolan. While his movies are always meant to be entertaining, Tarantino usually employs a satirical subject matter aimed at delivering a message or criticizing an already established institution.

He uses a variety of of cinematic techniques in his films, constantly making references to popular culture and making use of ” soundtracks containing songs and score pieces from the 1960s and 1980s”.

Tarantino draws inspiration from traditional Hong Kong and Japanese films, as well as spaghetti westerns which is evident in Kill Bill. Even with his critically acclaimed achievements, he has been criticized for the excessive use of blood and the preposterous employment of violence in his films.

Also a prolific writer, Tarantino has all but created a while new genre for his movies and has gone on to inspire modern Filmmakers. We all wait for his take on star trek.

Christopher Nolan. Known for The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, Interstellar

Among the most critically acclaimed Filmmakers in modern cinema, Nolan utilizes nonlinear storytelling that are deeply rooted in themes featuring human morality, its ambiguity and personal identity. He is also a big fan of practical special effects.

One of the most recurring theme is Nolan’s works is memory. Its reliability and unreliability. How it’s just an entity that ultimately shape what we regard as reality or the present. His fascination with memories are reflected in “Momento” and “Inception.
Much like Snyder’s, Nolan’s works also try to mirror philosophical concepts and create questions that do not serve any purpose other than create new questions.

The construction and manipulation of time are also amongst his themes, as noted in Inception, Interstellar and Momento. Almost all his movies at some point are rooted in the transcendence of time, teasing that it might be an illusion and at the same time not revealing the “truth”.

Nolan uses a number of writing styles such as; moving the point of view, using unreliable narrators, Flashbacks and Flashfowards and anticlimactic scenes. He has set himself aside from other Filmmakers in the modern era with his distinctive directing style, writing skills and preference for practical effects.”Dunkirk”, his most recent film is a prime example of this. It has been reported that over 80{54baaceb3d1f1a8db630cf774259ad3b2bf5c018cf028e85e4e1ce59b719c19e} of the movie’s effects were practical, making it another potential Masterpiece with an Oscar nomination.

Script to Hollywood

A few minor edits, one last read through and it’s ready for primetime. Now what?

This is where things get interesting. How do you go from a 106 page blueprint to a Netflix-ready movie? Well, you could pull out your checkbook – following a robust IndieGoGO campaign – direct it yourself, hire the rest of the talent, shoot the flick and enter every film festival from Santa Barbara to Cannes.

Unfortunately, most can’t afford to quit their day job. So let’s explore the traditional routes.

Thousands enter screenplay competitions, hoping the acclaim of a strong finish will propel their story to a six-figure studio bidding war or at least land a Creative Artists’ agent. While others pursue the direct route; they contact actors and producers hoping to submit their screen worthy opus to Hollywood insiders.

In either case, you will have to contend with The Gatekeepers. These are people you’ve never heard of who are paid to boil your script down to a two or three page book report. They’re hired to find the gem and filter out the schlock. Separate the wheat from the chaff. They are the Yelpers of the film industry, and they have more influence than you would think.

Which means if you are fortunate enough to figure out how to submit a script to Robert De Niro’s production company, chances are slim he will ever see it. Because even if your script might actually be a project he may be interested in (if you could only get him to read it), the Gatekeepers are told in advance what Mr. De Niro is looking for. And if your script is a true original, he’s probably not looking for yours.

Established talent not only looks for strong scripts, but it has to be the right script. A close friend of mine used to read for James Cameron who often gravitates to projects that feature lots of water. Think TITANIC. THE ABYSS. Your stuff made be awe-inspiring, but a gritty Western may not be for James Cameron.

The dirty little secret is that the Gatekeepers are paid to say no. An A list star is literally flooded with projects; they couldn’t possibly evaluate every script that crosses their desk. Add to that the “must read” scripts their agent sends them (six of which came from their A list friends and publicist). It’s a blizzard of creative pursuits, and you as an outsider are on the bottom of the pile.

From the Gatekeeper’s perspective, there is little or no risk of panning even a brilliant script that was submitted over the transom. But recommending a screenplay from an unknown writer means that someone higher up the feeding chain will likely read it. And if he or she disagrees with your glowing report? You may not get a call back to review the next script. (Screenwriting competition Gatekeepers have their own biases, which I’ll explore later.)

Some Films To Watch Before Turn 30

The Breakfast Club

For everyone that has ever struggled in and survived their high school years- which is nearly all of us- the Breakfast Club seems to hit the nail on the head. This classic film captures the angst and awkwardness that high schoolers experience with identity, groups, and authority. When 5 high school students from different cliques are brought together to suffer through a Saturday detention, each member has an opportunity to tell their side of the story so that the others may potentially see each other in a different light. By the end of their punishment, they are slightly changed in their views of themselves, each other, and school.

The Silence of the Lambs

Although this movie seems to be well known for its scary villains and unsettling subject matter, the film is, overall, a nod to women’s equality. Clarice Sterling, played by Jody Foster, is a top student enrolled in the training academy at the FBI headquarters. After a serial killer begins hunting down and capturing women to use for their skins, Clarice is ordered to interview Hannibal Lector-played by Anthony Hopkins- to try and gleam some insight into the case. As Clarice goes toe-to-toe with Hannibal’s manipulations, she realizes that he has his own plans and ideas regarding her and his own escape.

The Dead Poets Society

Robin Williams plays John Keating, a teacher in an all boys preparatory school that places a high value on obedience and adherence to its strict high standards and tradition. Using his unique methods and rapport building, John manages to reach the students who are struggling under intense pressure from their families and school authorities. With his guidance, the students are able to build the confidence to pursue their interests and question the concept of absolute obedience to authority.

Host a Fall Outdoor Movie Festival

There are so many great fall activities you can plan to keep guests entertained before the movie begins and to add to the fun. You might feature a ghost story teller or plan a trunk or treat activity if it is close to Halloween. Hay rides, a barnyard petting zoo or a hay bale maze are all fun, family friendly activities to feature at your event. You could also embrace the spirit of fall harvest and feature a chili cook-off or pie eating contest, or a marshmallow roast. Finally, consider inviting local farmers to set-up a farmer’s market. Guests will enjoy a chance to purchase fresh, local produce, and you will build positive relationships in the community by reaching out to local farmers. Adding activities like this will create a warm fall atmosphere, attract families and help to make your event more memorable.

Fall is also the time for delicious treats like cider, caramel apples, hot cocoa, pumpkin muffins, baked apples, apple cake and more. Be sure to include some of these treats at your concession stand.

Finally, offer a chance to do some good in addition to the fun. In the spirit of sharing your harvest, set up a table where food donations can be collected. Non-perishables like canned goods are great options; you might even consider asking attendees to bring a can of food for entrance to the event in lieu of admission.

Cool, comfortable weather, beautiful scenery and seasonal treats make fall the ideal time to host an outdoor movie festival. Use these tips and take advantage of all the wonderful things fall has to offer by decorating, planning activities and offering food that goes with the fall season.

Light For the Green Screen Video Effect

Creating Bad Green Screen Video is Easy

The secret that most people selling the tools and software for the green screen video effect do not tell you is that it is really easy to create bad results. YouTube is littered with examples of horrible chromakey video. But, there is another secret. It is not much harder to produce fantastic chromakey video.

You do not have to spend thousands of dollars or hundreds of hours of effort to create videos you are proud to share with the world. One major key to success is how you light your screen.

The Big Screen Lighting Myth

There is a big misconception about shooting green screen video that comes from the companies selling screen and lighting kits. Search online and you will see an endless list of options for purchasing a kit that includes everything you need to shoot green screen video. The list of included items is always the same. You get a green muslin screen, a support stand to hold up the screen, and three lights. You always get three lights, and that is the problem.

To get the best results from the process, you need to light the screen separately from the subject. An ideal green screen lighting kit includes five lights. Two lights are dedicated exclusively to lighting the screen itself. The other three lights are used to light your subject.

The Best Lights for Your Green Screen

Flat even lighting is the goal when lighting a green screen. Any variation in brightness will make it harder for your editing software to remove the background while preserving edge details. In a home office video studio, space is usually at a premium, so you can afford to use big soft boxes or place lights far away from the screen. The easiest way to get good results is to use fluorescent or LED bank lights.

A bank light is nothing more than a large flat (usually rectangular) light fixture. Professional versions just look like fancy fluorescent shop lights turned sideways. In fact, you can make your own from inexpensive parts purchased at your local home center. There are a few things to watch out for when making your own. But once you know what to buy, it is easy to do.

LED bank lights are more expensive to purchase, but they last forever, have no glass tube to break, and can usually be dimmed to dial-in the perfect amount of light.

Placing The Lights

Lighting your screen with bank lights is easy. You place one light on each side of the screen. The lights should be oriented vertically so that the light shines out evenly from top to bottom. Adjust the angle and distance from the screen until the entire surface of your green screen is lit at an even level of brightness.

Casting the Right Actors

Check direction taking capability
A right actor is one who can take your direction and feedback in the right way. Sometimes the ego of the actor comes in the way and they are not able to grasp your feedback and get into the character properly, which ultimately mars the essence of the movie.

Check the time sense
A film production house incurs lot of expenses when a film is made and the everyday setup is both time and cost consuming affair. Hence if an actor is not punctual or misses his slot frequently not only the launch of the movie gets delayed but also it leads to huge waste of money and time. This kind of attitude of one actor can also have an adverse effect on the other actors and co-workers of the movie. Moreover, it is always best to ask the actor how flexible he/she is for the time slots that you have you’re your movie and for travelling. Hence you will find some premium media houses keep a record of testimonials of the actors that are collected from the producers, directors and co-workers so that they can provide the directors with the best actors.

Do not make an early stage promise
Though just after the screen test you may feel one actor to be the best match for your movie, it is always advisable not to make any commitment about film casting just at that stage. It is always better to get into obligations after meeting all the potential actors.

Write for Clients

1. Be True to the Brand

When writing for other people, it’s important to speak with their voice, not yours. Ideally your style will mesh exactly with the way the brand or client envisions themselves, but sometimes you have to write for brands you don’t connect with-and sometimes about topics you don’t even understand. In those cases, never lose sight of who it is you’re writing for. You have to take care to write what’s best for the brand, including phrasing, word selection, tone, audience, and themes.

2. Keep It Short

I think in terms of “additive” vs. “subtractive” scripts for clients. This means I’ve tried writing scripts that are too short, asking the client to add details they think they need, and writing longer, more detailed pieces and requesting the client subtract details that are extraneous. In my experience, clients love what they do and are enthusiastic to hear more. This means they rarely remove information from a script, and therefore it is almost always better to write a shorter piece and let your client add in anything they think you missed. Besides, brevity is the soul of wit.

3. Murder Your Darlings

There’s simply no way to talk about writing without mentioning this pearl. It is as true with client-facing writing as with any other type of writing. You must be ready at any moment to rewrite, revise, delete, or completely eviscerate your favorite parts of what you’ve written. It is for the good of the whole project, even though it’s hard.

4. Find Out What Your Client Needs

Spoken or unspoken, articulated or not, it’s your job to suss out exactly what your client needs from this particular piece of prose. A good conversation with your client is always ideal when figuring this out, but sometimes, even your client doesn’t know exactly what they need. You may need to do some research to familiarize yourself with the best way to speak to your client’s customers-the audience.

5. Know Your Audience

Actually, know both of your audiences. Your client is the primary audience, so you have to write to appeal to them. But the best way to make your client happy is to write to their audience.