The Story of Film Episode 2: The Hollywood Dream

Creative Commons Photo by SalTheColourGeek

1918-1928: The Triumph of American Film –

And the First of its Rebels..

  • 1918 the myth of Hollywood had just been born.
  • Canadian Polish Brothers created Warner Brothers.
  • Citizen Kane was the movie that was the first to get the light to work perfectly.
  • The lights were something they really worked hard on, they got to the point where the wanted the light to shine on the actresses, then the audience would be able to see the shadow of the eyelashes.
  • The actors and actresses had contracts on what time the went to bed, having to pay if they gained weight, etc.
  • They were companies coming together to make money, but bringing tons of people together.
  • Warner Brothers focussed on street movies, having shadows be dark and cause suspense.
  • The boring buildings in some towns were making lots of money so film makers could film scenes on their lots.
  • Buster Keaton did a train scene that has a bridge on fire and a train goes over it and falls. This is a real thing that he had done and some of the train to this day is still there.
  • Charlie Chaplin was cinemas Charles Dickens.
  • To have a good choreographer you need to have good ideas, these are better for musicals.
  • Charlie Chaplin involves comedy and politics within his films.
  • Some directors wanted to show Bagdad the way it really was, without the sparkles in clothing, they wanted to show the real world.
  • Half of the directors were people actually working on the film, while the other half is life in Documentaries.
  • In one of the movies, they made 7 different endings.
  • In a scene you need the bare essentials that you HAVE TO HAVE to tell the story.
  • The white in some scenes have meanings towards them to give you a specific feeling while watching the film.
  • Carl Theodore Dreyer is one of the best film makers because of his simplicity.
  • 1920s was the greatest decade of film.

Camera Operations and Controls

Summary –

What we did for our project was make a video on the Camera Controls. This was new and exciting to come back from a previous class two years ago, and learn the functions once again. Our video consists of ‘bad puns’ to help you remember the controls of a DSLR Camera.

Timeline –

  • Step 1 – Brainstorm the ideas that we want in the video.
  • Step 2 – Create a Story Board.
  • Step 3 – Get approved by Le Duc.
  • Step 4 – Start Filming.
  • Step 5 – Download to Computer.
  • Step 6 – Start the editing process.
  • Step 7 – Record Voice over.
  • Step 8 – Put Video Together.
  • Step 9 – Upload to YouTube.
  • Step 10 – Present Video to Class.

Project Skills Evidence –

This is our video, it is not the best quality, but it does hit the points that are needed to know. There are some things that we didn’t add within the video including Color Balancing and White Balance. Both are very similar, this is when you set a shot and having a specific color. For example, if you put on this setting, put a white piece of paper in front of the camera, the shots that you take after that will be a bright white tone.

What I Learned –

I learned a lot of terms from this project. This was fun because I got to review most of the terms that I had learned previously. We had some trouble with timing, trying to find a time that we can both edit on the weekend together, but we figured it out and got it done. I like these type of project because when filming, you get to understand the effects more and more, you get to know them inside and out.

Casablanca Review

Narrative of the Film –

Something that I noticed within the film, is how motivated Rick was in the past on trying to get married with Ilsa. With that short amount of time, he is trying to get her to stay with him, even when he is planning on leaving Paris, but that is because he needs to. The narrative structure is pretty self explanatory and is easy to figure out, this is common to lots of films due tot eh amount of build up, and the the sound of relief.

Three Act Structure –

This is film does follow this Structure. In the first act, everyone is introduced, they mention that the war will start soon. You meet Rick the main character, his wife, and many of his workers. Within the second act you meet Ilsa, Rick’s former lover. Rick goes through a flash back and remember how she blew him off after confessing his love to her. Multiple times she is trying to apologize, but he wont accept it. Later you find out, she was cheating on her husband, while he was in the concentration camp, with Rick. In the third act, Ilsa holds Rick at gun point trying to get the letter that Rick had received in the beginning of the film. But with love, she couldn’t shoot him, she breaks down and explains why she left him in Paris. Rick gives the letter to Ilsa’s husband, and since they were connected to a murder, he has the chance of getting arrested. But once again, he sends Ilsa and her husband on a plane to get away so they don’t get caught and taken to a concentration camp.

Like or Dislike? –

I’m not really sure, I loved the Romance within it, but I am not sure how I felt about the story line. It was something different, but I am glad I got the experience to watch it because of the way it was set up.

Screenplay Structure: Sequences

This video is in a play list, the next two videos go with this post.

Notes –

  • A sequences is a self contained part of your story that has a beginning, middle, and end.
  • 10-15 pages are good.
  • The audience forms the shapes.
  • They are made between the 3x structure.
  • If you don’t grab their attention thoroughly then they wont even want to read your screenplay.
  • Include and conclude the first incident in the first sequence.
  • Clarify the dramatic parts of your screenplay.
  • Sequence two is the act and plot of the major story.
  • This sequence with introduce the antagonist.
  • This has the most tension.

Script Tip: Five Essential Elements

Notes –

  • You have 10 pages to insert..
    • Dramatic Situation
    • Action
    • Fantasies
    • Humor
    • Etc.
  • Clarify the genre of the film IMMEDIATELY.
  • The CHARACTER is telling the story.
  • Set your story in a unique world.
  • Make them experience something they have never gone through before.
  • They often start with the Protagonist, but adds something dramatic to the screenplay.

Screen Play and Story Form

Creative Commons Photo by Ozzy Delaney

Notes  –

  • A screenwriter is bound by form. Not doing things step by step like a formula.
  • Screen plays need to be very distinct and precise so they can do it exactly how its written.
  • Readers are trying to find ways not to read your script, so find something that grabs them in, because if it brings them in with words, can you imagine it in a film?
  • Three C’s
    • Clear
    • Concise
    • Creative
  • Look at every word to make sure you really need it.
  • Goal of a script is to communicate.

Link to the Article, Click Here.

David Mamet’s Three Magic Questions Notes –

  • Three Magic Questions
    • Who wants what from who?
    • What are they willing to get?
    • Why now?
  • Who are you trying to have be your target audience?
  • Revise the second question as ‘What is the PROTAGONIST willing to get out of the situation?’.
  • What now? It is a sense of urgency that you want to convey to the audience and have them feel it.

Link to the Article, Click Here.

Screenplay Format Part Two Notes –

  • Conveys character, sound, and visuals to the audience.
  • Also can show a glimpse into the characters Attitude, Change, and Core.
  • Brevity
    • Briefest explanation possible, but conveys what need to be shown in order to film.
  • Clarity
    • Paint the clearest possible picture to the reader.
  • Creativity
    • Using figurative language makes your writing stronger in the screenplay.
  • Paragraph Breaks
    • Whenever a new idea is introduced, make a new paragraph.
    • Can also use for emphasis.
  • Capitalization for Emphasis
    • Occasional Caps shows little bundles of emphasis.



The Story of Film Episode 1 – Birth of the Cinema

Creative Commons Photo by adpowers

Notes –

1895-1918: The World Discovers A New Art Form

  • Cinema is an empathy scene.
  • “Hollywood is not classical, Japan is.”
  • Images and film is what excites us, not the money being made.
  • George Eastman created film on a roll.
  • A sewing machine gave them ideas on how you can stop, expose, pause, etc. within a film.
  • 1898 started looking at camera angles and cuts.
  • George Melies was the first to have the character disappear and show up in another area. It was originally an accident, but then created something magnificent that we still use today, camera angles and cuts.
  • Alice Guy-Blashe was the first woman directer.
  • George Albert Smith was the first director to do the first closeup in a film.
  • Close ups gave the feel of tragedy.
  • Film became ‘fast fun’, yet a new language at the same time.

1903-1918: The Thrill Becomes Story

  • 1903 they developed the key parts of a shot.
  • Messing with time was a big deal, when today, we don’t notice the change of time because that is what we are used to.
  • Buster Keaton did jump cuts and extra exposure.
  • Turning your back to the camera is created completely new shots, but them changing it to face them. This is called the ‘reverse angle shot’.
  • Florence Lawrence, first movie star. Her director faked he death, and when she appeared alive the audience was hysterical. She later committed suicide.
  • Movies started to be in the air in Hollywood.
  • Hollywood was named that due to all the holly on the hillside.
  • The first studio was made in 1911, it was mostly looking like a tent.
  • Matching the eye line in the cut, the audience fills in the gap.
  • 180 degree rule.
  • Hollywood was female driven, letting them become actresses because they wouldn’t be accepted in different occupations.
  • Francis Marien was the highest paying screenwriter female and male. She won 2 Oscars.
  • By 1920, there were over 15,000 movie theaters.
  • One shot to the next meant meanwhile…

Link to all the Movies talked about.

Screenplay Structure: The Five Plot Points

Notes –

  • Understand and master the structure before.
  • Inciting Incident is in the middle of the first act and is sometimes called ‘the point of attack’.
  • It sets up tension engaging the audience.
  • Lock in is when the protagonist cannot go back to the status quote. No going back to where he/she was previously.
  • Mid Point is when it balances the story to help the protagonist, you’re foreshadowing.
  • Climax which is the highest or lowest point of your protagonists story.
  • Third Act Twist is half way between the climax and the end. The moment that changes the plot in the film.

Narrative Structure

The Narrator –

  • Camera is the primary narrator.
  • First Person – Voice over.
    • It’s the direct address, helps you figure things out, talking straight at you.
  • Third Person – This is the voice that ‘knows all’, this is the ‘God’ of the film.
    • Restricted, it limits the info given, usually is only from one character.
    • Omniscient, access to all aspects of the story.

Characters –

  • Film Narrative depends on two things, a character and pursuing a goal.
    • New and different characters make it possible to have a new take on the same old story.
  • Narrative cannot exist if the character does not have a goal.
    • Gives the character something to do.
    • Gives the audience a chance to participate and get involved.
  • Characters…
    • Protagonist – the primary character who pursues the goals, usually the hero.
      • As long as protagonist pursue the goal in an interesting way.
      • Anti-Hero are flawed,  but brings good messages throughout.
  • Narratives thrive on imperfections within characters.

Basic Narrative Structure –

  • Clearly motivated protagonist.
  • Pursues a goal.
  • Encounters obstacles.
  • A clear resolution.

First Act –

  • Sets up the Story. (30 minutes).
  • Establishes the normal world.
  • Inciting Incident – Something will occur to change the normal world and set protagonist on a mission.
  • Find your hook.

Second Act –

  • (The Longest) Act develops the story. (60 minutes).
  • The story depends on obstacles.
  • The stakes you need to rise. (However, But)
  • Want to keep the viewers engaged.

Third Act –

  • This is the Resolution of the conflict. (30 minutes).
  • Is the Climax or the Resolution and get the loose ends tied up.
  • Best stories have the unexpected solution.
  • Resolution/denouement (Day-New-Maw).

Structural Analysis –

  • Look at examples from different movies.

The Screenwriter –

  • Builds narrative structure and creates every character, action, line of dialogue and the setting.
    • Fewest lines possible
  • Each page of a script represents on minute of a film.
  • Must create compelling stories, engaging plots, and fascinating characters.

Elements of Narrative –

  • Story vs. Plot
    • Stories may be commons (Cinderella) but plots can change (Into the Woods, Ela Enchanted, Pretty Woman).
  • Order
    • Bringing order to the events is one of the most fundamental decisions filmmakers make.
      • With so little time, you must decide what you’re going to include/not include.
    • Plot can be manipulated so events are presented in non-chronological order.
  • Most narrative films follow traditional chronological order.

Duration –

  • Story Duration –
    • Amount of time the inplied story takes to occur.
    • The period covered by all the events that you can see or know about.
  • Plot Duration –
    • Elapsed time of the events within the story (time of the plot).
  • Screen Duration –
    • Movies running time.
    • Balancing the three is quite complex.