Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Tentative Schedule for the New "How To's"

I have come up with a "lesson plan" for the first part of the new how to series on the blog. (See the schedule below for more details.) I will do my best to keep up with this tentative schedule I have created, but I am going to be in and out of town for the next few months, so the schedule is more of a goal than anything. As far as material covered, I am starting out with the visual aspects of moviemaking. So each week, the plan is that I will introduce a topic on Wednesdays, and you will then have through the weekend to watch the assigned movie with the topic in mind, then we can discuss that movie with regard to the topic on Mondays, and on Tuesdays I will discuss ways that you can apply what you've learned to your own home movies and photos. Meanwhile I will still occassionally be writing reviews, essays, news bits and the usual.

The movie I assign for each topic is chosen with that topic in mind, however, each topic should apply to really any movie, so if you are unable to get the movie I assign, or really don't want to watch it, watch another movie and discuss that one with us that following Monday. Also, it's best to watch a movie after I have introduced and discussed the topic each Wednesday, even if you have seen the movie before; you'd be surprised how different your experience of the movie will be when you are looking at and for something specific.

The Schedule:

Understanding Movie Visuals

11/1 -- Composition -- Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)

11/8 -- Static Movie Shots -- Brokeback Mountain (Lee, 2005)

11/15 -- Camera Angles -- Brick (Johnson, 2005)

11/22 -- Camera Movement -- Munich (Spielberg, 2005)

11/29 -- Lighting -- Dark City (Proyas, 1998)

12/6 -- Mise-en-Scene -- Mrs. Henderson Presents (Frears, 2005)

So the schedule begins next Wednesday with the topic of composition and the movie Citizen Kane. For the most part, I will be using newer movies because I don't want to bore any of you who aren't into the classics, and also to show that these techniques and rules apply to all movies, not just the classics. Having said that, I can't avoid the fact that no movie does composition better than Citizen Kane, so let's begin there. With composition, we'll be talking about some of the basic, conventional rules of setting up a shot, as well as how directors use space, focus, and other elements to create interest and meaning.

So get those copies of Citizen Kane on the Netflix and Blockbuster queues, and let's get started next week!

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