Do you know the difference between “subjective” and “objective?” These terms apply to film-making because they have a lot to do with the decisions the Director of Photography, or Cinematographer, makes. Subjectivity emphasizes an individual and their personal opinion. So a subjective decision by a film director could be whether to shoot an outdoor scene in a park or by the pier. Objectivity removes the emphasis from the individual so that their personal opinions, likes or dislikes, are not part of the equation. That being said, do you think a film-maker tends to be more subjective or more objective?
As we discussed various film and media, we added a new vocabulary word to our film-making lexicon: Pilot. A Pilot refers to the first episode in a potential series-based film project. Its sort of like a sales pitch: first the concept is created, then the 1st treatment is written and produced. The final product is presented to influential people in the industry in order to find a potential producer for the rest of the episodes in the series. Not all pilots are produced(Wonder Woman), others get just a few episodes made(Black Panther) and really successful ones are produced for many seasons(The Simpsons).
To get the particpants in a creative space, we did an activity called “Major Character” where we came up with our own potential major character of a short film. The participants gave all the details such as gender, age, appearance. The came up with the modus operandi of their characters detailing things like the character’s favorite tag line or saying; their greatest strength and their character’s major flaw or downfall. We saw a trend among our participants: a lot of the characters were loosely based on participants themselves.
When the participants began writing screenplays in the beginning of week 2, it became obvious that we definitely had some bonafide writers with great concepts on board. But its just as important to have a great production team to execute the story well. With this in mind, we introduced the participants to a duo of film-making concepts that have to do with trios:
Three Act Structure
In screenplay writing this type of model is used when writing a modern screenplay. Basically, the first act establishes the major characters and the setting of the story. The second act typically shows the protagonist attempting to resolve an issue unsuccessfully. The third act usually contains the climax and some sort of resolution.
Three Point Lighting
In film production, this is a standard lighting set up with 3 lights(duh). It is effective because it lights the subject while allowing for manipulation of the appearance of shadows on the subject. The main light or “key light” most directly illuminates the subject, usually from above. The secondary light or “fill light” illuminates the subject from a side angle alternate to the angle of the “key light.” The “fill light” can soften or eliminate shadows created by the “key light.” Finally, the “back light” illuminates from the rear, usually from an angle, outlining the subject and separating them from the background.
If you’re interested in writing a screenplay, check out Celtx, a great free screenplay writing program. We’re using it @ LIFA. Also, if you are into photography, check out youtube for tutorials on how to make a three point lighting set up using supplies you may already have at home. Also, if you’re a writer and are used to writing stories or novels, it is important to keep in mind that this type of writing is not the same as screenplay writing, something our participants had to grasp quickly. With screenplay writing, you must show what is happening instead of simply telling it.