Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Documentary & Maltese Falcon

Please continue working on your documentary projects during 1st period. Review and understand the various film jobs from our last post. Use this list to label and decide who will be given credit for various jobs as you create your documentary. It is a good idea to keep a hand written list so no one gets left out of the credits. Feel free to begin working on your credits in addition to any editing you are doing.

During 2nd period, please stop your work and attend to the screening of the Maltese Falcon.

As you watch the film, look for these common Film Noir elements. Record what you find in your notebook:

1. A protagonist who is cynical or detached
2. A femme fatale who leads the protagonist astray
3. A mystery, crime, or use of suspense
4. A naive scapegoat to take the rap of some "crime"
5. Goons (hired criminals who give the protagonist a hard time)
6. Razor sharp dialogue
7. Shadows and the use of low key lighting

You will be writing a review paper analyzing The Maltese Falcon. Please pay attention and take notes.

Cast information is here.
Script can be found in the workshop folder. And its website to get yourself a copy of the PDF is here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Film Jobs - A Useful List - Part I

Producer: The producer initiates, coordinates, supervises, and controls matters such as raising funding, hiring and arranging distributors. The producer is normally involved throughout all phases of the film making process from development to completion of a project. An investor in the project is called an executive producer.

Production Manager
: The production manager supervises the physical aspects of the production (not the creative aspects) including personnel, technology, budget, and scheduling.

Production Coordinator: The information nexus of the production, responsible for organizing all the logistics from hiring crew, renting equipment, and booking talent. The PC is an integral part of film production.

Director: The director oversees the creative aspects of a film, including controlling the content and flow of the film's plot, directing the performances of actors, organizing and selecting the locations in which the film will be shot, and managing technical details such as the positioning of cameras, the use of lighting, and the timing and content of the film's soundtrack. Though the director wields a great deal of power, he/she is ultimately subordinate to the film's producer or producers.

Assistant Director: Assists the director.

Script Supervisor: The person who keeps track of what parts of the script have been filmed and makes notes of any deviations between what was actually filmed and what appeared in the script. They make notes on every shot, and keep track of props, blocking, and other details to ensure continuity from shot to shot and scene to scene. The Script Supervisor's notes are given to the Editor to expedite the editing process.

Stunt Coordinator: When a film requires stunts, the stunt coordinator will arrange the casting and performance of the stunt.

Production Designer: A production designer is responsible for creating the physical, visual appearance of the film - settings, costumes, properties, character makeup, all taken as a unit.

Art Director: The art director reports to the production designer, and more directly oversees artists and craftspeople, such as the set designers, graphic artists, and illustrators who give form to the production design as it develops.

Assistant art director: The person who helps out the instructions of the art director.

Set Designer: The set designer is the draftsman, often an architect, who realizes the structures or interior spaces called for by the production designer.

Set Decorator: The set decorator is in charge of the decorating of a film set, which includes the furnishings and all the other objects that will be seen in the film.

Set Dresser: The set dressers apply and remove the "dressing", i.e., furniture, drapery, carpets—everything one would find in a location, even doorknobs and wall sockets.

Props Master: The property master, or props master, is in charge of finding and managing all the props that appear in the film. The propsmaster usually has several assistants, including: props builders, weapons masters, etc.

Key Scenic: The person responsible for the surface treatments of the sets. This includes special paint treatments such as aging and gilding, simulating the appearance of wood, stone, brick, metal, stained glass--anything called for by the production designer. The key scenic artist supervises the crew of painters, and is often a master craftsperson.

Greensman: The greensman is a specialised set dresser dealing with the artistic arrangement or landscape design of plant material, sometimes real and sometimes artificial, and usually a combination of both.

Make-up Artist: Make-up artists work with makeup, hair and special effects to create the characters look for anyone appearing on screen. Their role is to manipulate an actor's on-screen appearance whether it makes them look more youthful, larger, older, or in some cases monstrous. There are also body makeup artists who concentrate their abilities on the body rather than the head.

Costume designer: The costume designer is responsible for all the clothing and costumes worn by all the actors that appear on screen. They are also responsible for designing, planning, and organizing the construction of the garments down to the fabric, colors, and sizes. They are assisted by the costume supervisor and costume crews.

Cinematographer/Director of Photography (DP): The chief of the camera and lighting crew of the film. The DP makes decisions on lighting and framing of scenes in conjunction with the film's director. Typically, the director tells the DP how they want a shot to look, and the DP chooses the correct aperture, filter, and lighting to achieve the desired effect.

Camera Operator: The camera operator uses the camera at the direction of the cinematographer, director of photography, or the film director to capture the scenes on film. Generally, a cinematographer or director of photography does not operate the camera, but sometimes these jobs may be combined. Various assistants are also named.

Production Sound Mixer: The head of the sound department on set, responsible for recording all sound during filming.

Boom Operator: The boom operator is an assistant to the production sound mixer, responsible for microphone placement and movement during filming.

Grip: Grips are trained lighting and rigging technicians. Their main responsibility is to work closely with the electrical department to put in lighting set-ups required for a shot. On the sound stage, they move and adjust major set pieces when something needs to be moved to get a camera into position. They are divided further into Key Grip, Best Boy (assistant to the key grip), dolly grips.

Gaffer: The gaffer is the head of the electrical department, responsible for the design and execution of the lighting plan for a production. Sometimes the gaffer is credited as "Chief Lighting Technician". His/her assistant is referred to as the Best Boy.

Location Manager: Oversees the Locations Department and its staff, typically reporting directly to the Production Manager and/or Assistant Director (or even Director and/or Executive Producer). Location Manager is responsible for final clearing (or guaranteeing permission to use) a location for filming. Usually he/she has several assistants.

Location Scout: Does much of the actual research, footwork and photography to document location possibilities.

Transportation: Transports cast, crew and equipment back and forth between locations. These people are divided into: transportation coordinator, transportation captain, drivers, assistants, etc.

Film Editor: The film editor is the person who assembles the various shots into a coherent film, with the help of the director. There are usually several assistant editors. Various technical responsibilities are referred to as editors such as dialogue editors (who work with dialogue), Sound editing, etc.

Visual Effects Supervisor
: The visual effects supervisor is in charge of the visual effects department.

Compositor: A compositor is a visual effects artist responsible for compositing images from different sources such as video, film, computer generated 3-D imagery, 2-D animations, matte paintings, photographs, and text.

Music Supervisor or Music Director: The person who works with the composer (people who write the music), mixers and editors to create and integrate the film's music.

Foley Artist: The foley artist is the person who creates many of the sound effects for a film.

ADR Editor: Edits the rerecorded dialogue.

1940's Film Research/Documentary, et al.

After the sample screenings, please complete and turn in your 1940's film research (due today). Complete and turn in your film script review. This is due today, as well.

Then, do the following:

A. Read and view the clips below regarding color (if you have not done so yet).

B. Work on your documentary. By now, apart from checking in briefly with your group to handle scheduling, you should beginning to use iMovie to edit clips, create titles, work on capturing voice overs, etc. Import still shots from the internet, if necessary, write the script if you are doing an expository documentary including any details and facts the viewing audience needs to know, complete your interview questions if you are doing an interactive documentary, etc.

HOMEWORK: Shoot part or all of your documentary!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Workin' Wednesday

Today, please continue to work on your various projects. These include:

1. Read and note the information about Color in the essay "COLOR IN FILM" (Handout). Read and review the film clips from the blog entry below regarding color. Take notes of which films USED color and how, why, etc. Additionally, you should see how the muted or vivid color use for each film brought a sense of vitality to the scene depicted. Color is used symbolically and breaks down into two types of symbolic groups: warm and cool. You should understand why a film might wash out certain colors and keep others (i.e., how is color being used in a film, and what might it mean.)

2. Continue your research questions on the 1940's. These are due Friday.

3. Turn in your index card or note on chapter 15 (The Dark Streets of Film Noir). We will discuss this article after the announcements.

4. Complete your reading of the 1930's script. A script review is due Friday. Please make sure you read and understand the blog entry for this assignment (found below, March 18). Your reviews should be typed (and about 6-10 paragraphs...see instructions).

5. Work on editing your documentary if you have shot any of it. Try to trim your film down to about 10 minutes or less so that you have a film appropriate for upcoming film contests.

Any questions? Getting stuck? Ask.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Color in Film

Color tends to be a subconscious element in film. It has an emotional appeal which often suggests mood of the film or characters in it.

The first Technicolor film was THE GULF BETWEEN (U.S., 1917), a five-reeler made by Technicolor Motion Picture Corp. in Florida mainly for trade showings in eastern cities, to create interest in color movies among producers and exhibitors. It did not receive nationwide distribution. A lost film today, only a few frames survive.

The first two strip Technicolor feature made in Hollywood, and the first to receive nationwide distribution, was the costume drama THE TOLL OF THE SEA (1922).
Another silent movie filmed entirely in two strip Technicolor was the swashbuckler THE BLACK PIRATE (U.S., 1926), produced by and starring Douglas Fairbanks.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (Cecil B. DeMille's epic, 1923) THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925) BEN-HUR (1925) and KING OF KINGS (Cecil B. DeMille, 1926) used color as a gimmick or in parts.

The first all-talking Technicolor feature was the Warner Bros. musical ON WITH THE SHOW (1929).

All of the color films up to this point were two-color processes, which could capture only two of the three primary colors of light.

In 1932, Technicolor perfected a three-color motion picture process (also known as three-strip Technicolor, because three negatives were employed in the camera, one for each primary color of light -- red, green, and blue).

It was introduced with the Walt Disney cartoon FLOWERS AND TREES (1932), which won the first Academy Award for Animation. Walt Disney kept a monopoly on 3-color technicolor from 1932-1935.

The first feature-length movie in three-strip Technicolor was the costume comedy-drama BECKY SHARP (U.S., 1935)

Technicolor used a three color system: red, blue, green (these colors therefore are most vivid)

Early color was used as an expression (expressionism) of the director’s or cinematographer’s story, and so early films with color tend to be ones that are formalistic, artificial, or exotic. Color was often not used for “realistic” movies.

Warm colors: red, yellow, orange (brown)
Cool colors: Blue, green, violet (white)

Technicolor fragments.
Phantom of the Opera Masquerade Scene
During the 1930's, technicolor was still expensive. It was still being used as a movie gimmick as seen here. The Women (1939)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

1940's Film Research/Documentary Film Project

Please continue working on your documentary film projects. Use the lab time to a). film scenes b). edit or c). prepare questions or shooting schedules.

While not working on your documentary film project, please do the following assignments:

1. Complete the reading of your chosen 1930's film script. (See below). You should write a review of the script by Friday.

2. Complete the 1940's research question sheet. (See handout)

3. Complete your reading of Film Noir. On an index card, write at least one thing you learned from the chapter and one question or comment/observation from the reading. (Due Wednesday)

4. Read the article on "Color Film."

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Please identify the following documentaries as one of each of the 5 styles:
Observational, Expository, Interactive, Reflexive, Performative. Each type will only be used once. After your identification of the film, please indicate why you think the clip should be classified as that style of documentary.

Clip #1

Clip #2

Clip #3

Clip #4

Clip #5:

Documentaries & Quiz

Today, after taking your quiz, please continue to read and complete your script reading. Please write a review of the script. This includes the following:

There are 4 parts to a script review:
1. A short plot synopsis
2. Background information (usually about the director or major actors or film production history, but can also include discussion on cinematographer, special effects history, genre, or production). Research this to some extent.
3. A few paragraphs evaluating and analyzing the writing of the script: this can be broken down into examining the film's artistic quality, significance, entertainment & social value.
4. In summary, most reviews end with a final statement or judgment about the script.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

1930's & Documentary Quiz

Next class, you will have a quiz on the following material:

1930's film (from notes)
The Star System
Documentary film styles (all five)
Film clips from the 1930's: actors and directors and genres
Color in film
Sound in film
Walt Disney (handout)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Documentary Project/1930's script

Today, begin planning a documentary project idea. There's a variety of ways to do this. Choose any elements that help you complete the project.

You may work alone or in groups of up to 6 individuals. It is entirely possible for you to be involved in more than one project, given time and motivation. This is somewhat difficult, but you are only limited by your attention to the matter and how much work you want to put into the project. It is my hope that after making your short documentary, that you will be able to screen some of these films at the coffeehouse in June and enter the various film contests. We will start working on the documentary, given class time, this week, but as the class continues, less and less time will be allotted to complete your work solely in the lab.

Follow some of these steps to begin your project:
1. Decide if you want to work alone, with members of this class, and how many people would like to work on similar projects (up to 6 classmates).

NOTE: If you have access to your own camera, you are basically free to use anyone (even members of your family) in the creation of your film. Having your own video camera frees you in regard to time and place to set your work. Feel free to choose neighborhood or community sites that you may not have access to during school hours. For you, creativity is unlimited.

NOTE: If you need to borrow a school camera, please note that we have very little equipment. Any student needing to borrow school equipment needs to be EXTREMELY CAREFUL with it (as it our only equipment). Damaged equipment will result in a failing grade for the project (and possible retribution). Cameras need to be charged fully after using them and cameras can only be loaned out for one night (or one weekend only). Students will need to physically sign out the camera and can pick up the equipment after the last bell (9th period). Using equipment during the day is similar to the rules above, with the exception that the camera is only loaned out for the appropriate period the student or group is using it.

2. Using a round-table discussion, decide on a topic for your documentary.
3. Decide on one of the five types of documentary.

Once you have a group, a project in mind, and a style for your documentary, you may find it important to examine the issue you wish to explore. Come up with some basic important questions in which to ask participants or interviewees.

Once you have your list of questions, your idea, your style, your group, begin by creating a shooting schedule or project schedule.

Help from the internet:
Active Philosophy: Helpful Ideas - Creating a Documentary

Documentary Subjects (this will give you some titles of contemporary documentaries: look at clips in youtube.com if you are curious to see what they look like. Some, of course, will not be posted).

More Documentary Ideas

HOMEWORK/CLASSWORK: Please continue to read the 1930's script you chose last week. As you read, you should be familiar to how the story is being told in script form. How does the filmwriter tell the story through dialogue, but also through film's most powerful aspect: visual communication. Pay attention to film terms and film script format. You will need to format your own scripts in a similar manner. You will be writing a review of the script, so pay attention to characters, writing style, and other critical writing topics. Feel free to take notes in your film journal.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sample Documentaries from your reading...

The creative impulse to hold a mirror up to nature to see the reflection of ourselves has always been strong. Since the beginning of film history, filmmakers have enjoyed capturing real life. This basic style of film falls under the category of REALISM. Documentaries are generally considered the most "realistic" of all films.

All documentaries have similar basic principals and/or qualities:
1. The events depicted in the film are unstaged; the events exist above and beyond the diegesis or the act of filming them. The unstaged nature of the events suggest that the events or subjects have an existence independent of the cinema, thus granting them an air of authenticity or "realism".

2. Documentaries are understood to be non-fiction films. The world or diegesis of what appears on screen is considered real, not imaginary (as in fiction films).

3. It is often assumed that the documentary film maker observes, recording events or subject matter objectively. This is, of course, an untrue or uninformed statement.

There are Five different TYPES of documentary:

A. Expository documentary: the film maker's commentary acts as the "voice-of-God", often giving information or perspectives external to the filmed world in order to "see the world afresh, even if the world seems romantic (idealized) and didactic.

The article in the book makes reference to this film. Please watch it as an example of expository documentary.
Coalface (1935)

B. Observational documentary: The film maker records events depicted in the film unobtrusively, without intervention from the film-maker, capturing "real life" without commentary, intertitles, or interviews. The documentary type depicts a "slice of life" or direct representation without comment or subjectivity of the film maker. The film maker is completely invisible and/or uninvolved.

The article does not make reference to this film. High School II (1994), but it is a more recent sort of project similar to Wiseman's work. To help you out, if you were to watch the black and white sections of this film, without the intertitles and God-voice commentary, you can see a few clips from Wiseman's original High School (1968) within this reworked film. Please watch it as another example of expository documentary. Another Wiseman film is Public Housing (1997). This is a good example of the observational film technique. Please watch. Note that in expository film the filmmaker IS presenting a verbal commentary and intertitles that help identify theme and purpose. In "Public Housing" a message is implied, but not overt.

C. Interactive documentary: The filmmaker's perspective and opinion is more evident. Interview styles allow the film maker to participate actively in presenting of events. It is sort of the opposite of the observational documentary. Sometimes the film maker him/herself is present in the film, asking questions or juxtaposing their opinion with others. Unlike expository documentaries, the film maker is present instead of a disembodied voice of authority (god).

Roger & Me (1989) but also Capitalism a Love Story (2009)

D. Reflexive documentary: Going one step further from interactive documentary, the film maker of reflexive documentary does not attempt to hide the convention of film making. You know you are "watching a film" about "making a film." While documentaries are usually considered realistic, the camera work in a reflexive documentary are much more similar to formalism (the opposite style to realism). The article discusses "Man with a Movie Camera" (1928)

E. Performative documentary: Going beyond the reflexive documentary, the performative documentary seeks to evoke mood or atmosphere traditionally found in fiction films. It can be downright avant garde and formalistic. Its purpose is more metaphorical than literal.

The Thin Blue Line (1976) this is a film ABOUT "the thin blue line" not clips of the actual film. There are shots from the actual film though. Here's a better example of performative documentary.
One of the most famous performative documentaries is Koyaanisqatsi. Here's a clip.

Quiz: Please watch the following clips and decide what kind of documentary the film would be classified as:

1. Charlie Bit Me
2. Super Size Me
3. March of the Penguins
4. Regen (1929)
5. American Movie

Turn in your answers by the end of class today.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Script Reading Project

HOMEWORK: Please read the article on Documentaries for Friday. You will be starting a documentary film project next week. In addition, please read your chosen script (see below):

As potential writers and makers of films, it is important that you get to know the proper format for creating a film script. Since the Golden Age of Film is so heavily dependent on sound, and therefore dialogue, these film scripts are a good example of tightly written, albeit talky, stories. Please choose one of the following scripts to read by next week. You will be required to write an analysis paper examining material that will be covered next class regarding the script you choose. Use the time in lab to read after you have completed your viewing of the film clips from the 1930's below.


Duck Soup (Marx Brothers), written by Bert Kelmer, Harry Ruby, Grover Jones (formatted correctly)

Grand Hotel, written by Bela Belazs (formatted correctly)

The Wizard of Oz, written by Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allen Woolf (formatted correctly)

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, written by Robert Riskin & Clarence Kelland (dialogue formatted incorrectly)

It Happened One Night, written by Robert Riskin (formatted incorrectly from a transcript)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Early 1930's film clips

The 1930's is considered the Golden Age of Film. Please review and take notes on these following film clips. You should note who is starring in which roles and how certain actors and directors helped shape the genres we now recognize in film today. You will be tested on the material found here, so please watch attentively and make some observations about film in the 1930's.

As for camera work, there are few tricks being used with cameras. Angles are mostly eye-level, with medium, long, and close up shots being used with transitions such as the wipe, the iris, fade to black to indicate scene changes. There is still rear projection, tracking shots, dolly shots, and elaborate sets (particularly for war and epic films), but overall, the feel of 1930's film is like watching a play. With the invention of sound, movies rely on written dialogue to move the plot and develop character (as opposed to using solely a visual medium). Famous directors and writers such as Frank Capra, Walt Disney and writer George S. Kaufman to name only a few make their appearance in this era. Since sound is a new invention, the use of music is an important element. See what other details you can observe as you watch the clips:

Hell's Angels (1930) Premiere clip (not the film, but the hubbub about the film)
Hell's Angels (1930) clip with Jean Harlow

Anna Christie (1930) With Greta Garbo

Tarzan, The Ape Man (1932) Johnny Weissmuller

Morocco (1930) with Marlene Dietrich

Grand Hotel (1932) with Joan Crawford & John Barrymore

King Kong (1933) starring a large gorilla, Robert Armstrong and Fay Wray
King Kong (2nd clip)

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) Clark Gable & Charles Laughton

Captain Blood (1935) with Errol Flynn & Basil Rathbone (documentary clip)

Universal Horror Films:
Dracula (1931) Bela Lugosi (Tod Browning's version)
Dracula (clip 2)
Frankenstein (1931) with Boris Karloff
Frankenstein (2nd clip)
The Bride of Frankenstein (1932) with Boris Karloff
Bride of Frankenstein (2nd clip)
Freaks (1932) Tod Browning director
The White Zombie (1932) Bela Lugosi
The Mummy (1932) Boris Karloff
The Invisible Man (1933) with Claude Rains
The Black Cat (1934) Karloff & Lugosi

Screwball & Marx Brothers Comedies:
Animal Crackers (1930) with the Marx Brothers
Duck Soup (1934)
A Night At the Opera (cabin scene) (1935)
A Day at the Races (1937)
Bringing Up Baby (1938) with Katharine Hepburn & Cary Grant
The Thin Man (1934) with Myrna Loy & William Powell
The Thin Man (2nd clip)

Frank Capra films:
It Happened One Night (1934) Claudette Colbert & Clark Gable
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) Gary Cooper
Lost Horizon (1937) and clips from the film...
You Can't Take it With You (1938) with a very young Jimmy Stewart
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) with Jimmy Stewart

Gangster Films:
The Public Enemy (1931)
Scarface (1932)

Cimarron (1930)
Stagecoach (1939) John Wayne (John Ford directing)

War Films:
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

The Gay Divorcee (1934) Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire
Top Hat (1935) Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire
Swing Time (1936) Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire (again)
42 Street (1933)

Flowers and Trees (1932) Walt Disney, but starring no one important
Disney's The Three Little Pigs (1933)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Disney
Another selection from Snow White.

Popeye the Sailor (1933) with Betty Boop (and Popeye, of course)

Blockbuster Technicolor films:
Gone With the Wind (1939)
Wizard of Oz (1939)
The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) with Errol Flynn

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Golden Age of Film & The Music Box

Check the Oscar results here.

Please answer the following ?'s using Tim Dirk's website:

1. What time period is considered Hollywood's Golden Age? Why was it considered thus?
2. Name a few "firsts" in the 1930's film industry.
3. Who was Josef von Sternberg & Marlene Dietrich?
4. Describe early talkies. What sorts of movies and quality were these?
5. What innovations in color film occurred in Hollywood's Golden Age?
6. Which 5 major film studios dominated the Golden Age?
7. What film was the top grossing film of the 1930's? Who produced it?
8. What was the star system? How did this affect filmmakers and studios?
9. Who were some of the biggest stars of this time period?
10. Who were some of the biggest directors? (and give a sample of their films: genre & title)

Due at the end of period 1.

Please research Laurel & Hardy & Hal Roach. Who were these people? What did they do to influence the film industry?

Then, as a class, we will be watching the short film: The Music Box (1932)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Unit Test, Early Film Stars & The Academy Awards

Today please take a minute or two to review your notes. I will answer any questions you may have, then we will take the exam.

After completing the exam, please do both of the following:

1. Please review the wallwisher entries. Look under COMMENTS, copy and paste the URL for various wallwisher projects. You should be familiar with every entry, so please take notes about who the actor/artist was and what is most important about them. You will be quizzed on these actors in the future.

2. Go to the website: Predict the Oscars (link here). Predict the Oscar winners. Information about the films is also included, so even if you don't know the film or haven't seen it, you can get some information about it.

The Academy Awards will be viewed Sunday, March 7th. Please watch.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Eisenstein & Battleship Potemkin (Montage)

Please read the handout about Eisenstein and the creation of the montage. Click here for a very famous scene from the movie: Battleship Potemkin called the Odessa Steps.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Review for Unit Exam in Film

Styles of film: realism, classicism, formalism
Early film invention: Magic Lantern Daguerreotype Celluloid Kinetoscope Mutoscope
Edweard Muybridge
The Lumiere Brothers
Pathe Frere Manufacturing Company
Thomas Edison and the Edison Manufacturing Company
The Black Maria
Hepworth Manufacturing Company
George Melies
Persistence of Vision
Etinnene-Jules Marey
George Eastman
Edwin S. Porter
Hepworth's films:Rescued by Rover ; How It Feels to be Run Over;
Explosion of a Motor Car
Actualities & Blue Movies
Aladin and the Wonderful Lamp
Edwin S. Porter's films: The Great Train Robbery ; Dream of a Rarebit Fiend
Melies' A Trip to the Moon
D.W. Griffith and his contribution to film (also his Intolerance, Way Down East, and Birth of a Nation)
Lillian Gish
Early film comedy and comedians
Charlie Chaplin (The Rink, various films)
Buster Keaton (The Paleface, The General, various films)
Other important film stars: Douglas Fairbanks sr., Rudolph Valentino, Mary Pickford, Janet Gaynor, Clara Bow, W.C. Fields, Greta Garbo, Conrad Viedt, etc.
Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle & his scandal (Hays Code chapter)
Hollywood (the origin and development of)
The Academy Awards
Eisenstein & Montage & Battleship Potemkin (Odessa Step sequence)
Types of Shots (close up, medium shot, full shot, deep focus shot, long shot, extreme close up and long shots, panning, dolly/tracking shot, etc.)
Types of Angles (high, low, bird's eye, oblique, etc.)
Early independent film studios/the Hollywood Studio System
Early major film studios (1920-1930)
Sid Grauman
Early sound in film & The Jazz Singer
The Hays Code
Film Reviews and how to write them
Coming up with Ideas for a Film (articles)

Sound in Film

Joseph P. Maxfield (AT&T’s Bell Laboratories) invented the first phonograph linked to film (licensed by Victor as the Orthophonic Victrola) which became the basis for the Vitaphone sound-on-disc system.

The Vitaphone allowed actors to lipsync their performance while the sound was recorded after; (This helped to popularize animation!)

The first sound film was Don Juan in 1926. The Jazz Singer (1927), directed by Alan Crosland, starring famous vaudeville actor, Al Jolson is popularly given this award. Really both films were songs or music in Don Juan's case, that were played along and synched with the film.
The Jazz Singer gave birth to the Hollywood musical genre.

Warner Bros. and Fox Film began wiring their theatres for sound as early as 1926. By 1928, Western Electric developed a sound-on-film system, which later developed a new competitive major studio: Radio-Keith-Orpheum or RKO.

The conversion to sound created both positive and negative effects for Film:

A. Led to a revival of national film elsewhere in the world
B. Cinema owners did not have to hire musicians for an in-house orchestra
C. Silent films were easier to distribute across the world (no need to translate) which later creates the need for dubbing (1932 -- ex. Paramount studios); before this, multi-lingual films make stars like Marlene Dietrich, Maurice Chevalier, Bela Lugosi, Ingrid Bergman, Greta Garbo, and Peter Lore more important--since they can speak different languages (and therefore sync their voices to film).
D. Film became a single media event
E. Films came to the theatres as final products, whole and complete
F. The immersive qualities of film and the viewer become inseparable
G. Dialogue became a necessity to tell the plot of a film


A. Produced panic and confusion in Hollywood
B. Many musicians lost their jobs
C. Early sound films from America were boycotted by certain countries; films were not as widely distributed, more costly to translate.
D. Silent film culture was destroyed
E. Films did not require additional music, some ambiance was lost -- sound film was seen as the killer of “film as the seventh art form”
F. Film was no longer a “theatrical” or “artistic” event
G. Dialogue became a necessity to tell the plot of a film

The Murky Middle (Even More Advice)

Aristotle wrote that stories should have a beginning, middle, and end. Middles can be difficult. You might have a smashing opening to a stor...