Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blaxploitation Films

Blaxploitation films were made specifically for an urban, black audience. The word itself is a portmanteau (combination) of the words "black" and "exploitation."

As a sub-genre of film Blaxploitation typically takes place in ghettos or urban settings, featuring crime plots, drug dealers or drug culture, pimps and prostitutes and hit men or gangs and gang violence. White characters are as much ethnic stereotypes as black characters, but are often the antagonists. Corrupt cops, politicians, prostitutes and gullible gangsters are common stereotypical characters. As the genre blossomed in the 1970's, it often mixed with other genres including crime dramas, action/martial arts films, westerns, and horror.

The films featured funk and soul jazz soundtracks with heavy bass, funky beats and guitars. In recent years to attract black audiences, parodies and pastiches of the blaxploitation film have resurfaced.

One might consider to what extent do films such as these perpetrate (continue) racial stereotypes? For what purpose do these films serve the black community? What does the resurgence of such a film style in our contemporary time mean? How are these images and heroes necessary and/or offensive?

Please read the following article, then take a look at some of these trailers (examples of the genre).

They Call Me Mr. Tibbs (1970)
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)
Shaft (1971)
Superfly (1972)
The Legend of Nigger Charley (1972)
Blacula (1972)
Coffy (1973)
Cleopatra Jones (1973)
Foxy Brown (1974)
Willie Dynamite (1974)
Abby (1974)
Friday Foster (1975)
Boss Nigger (1975)
Coonskin (1975)

And for the fun of it, spoofs or parodies of blaxploitation:
I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988)
Jackie Brown (1997)
Pootie Tang (2001)
Black Dynamite (2009)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

1960's Full Films Online

You may watch any 1960 film for extra credit up until the end of this marking period. Simply watch the film and post a personal response to the film on the forum.

Here are a few 1960's films:
The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1960), Hammer Studios
The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
Night Tide (1961)
Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory (1961)
Shame (1962)
Charade (1963)
The Last Man on Earth (1964)
The Beach Girls and the Monster (1965)
Psycho a Go-Go (1965)
Cul-de-sac (1966)
The Fat Spy (1966)
Monster from a Prehistoric Planet (1967)
Teenage Zombies (1969)

Other full films online from the 1940's:
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)
The Son of Dracula (1943)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

American New Wave & 1960's Film

American New Wave Directors: Please watch 3 clips from any films by at least one of these directors (search on for example). Titles of some films are listed in your article and from your reading. Please post a response to the forum question by the end of the day. This is part of your homework.
  • Woody Allen
  • Robert Altman
  • Hal Ashby
  • Peter Bogdanovich
  • John Cassavetes
  • Francis Ford Coppola
  • Brian De Palma
  • William Friedkin
  • Dennis Hopper
  • George Lucas
  • Mike Nichols
  • Bob Rafelson
  • Martin Scorsese
  • Steven Spielberg
With the change in restrictions based on the rating system from the MPAA, content in films gets grittier, more violent, more sexual, and more...well...Hollywood. View a few clips of famous films and film categories developed in the 1960's. You may watch any 1960 film for extra credit, just like you might have done for the 1930's, 1940's, and 1950's.

1960's Epic/Costume Drama Films:
Spartacus (1960) Tony Curtis, Laurence Olivier, Charleton Heston
El Cid (1961) Charleton Heston
Cleopatra (1963) Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton
Becket (1964) Richard Burton & Peter O'Toole
The Sound of Music (1965) Julie Andrews & Christopher Plumber
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
The Lion in Winter (1968) Peter O'Toole & Katherine Hepburn

Angry Young Man Films:
Look Back in Anger (1959)
The Loneliness of the Longdistance Runner (1962)
The Caretaker (1963)
The Leather Boys (1963)
If (1969)
Easy Rider (1969)

Beatles' Films
A Hard Day's Night (1964)
Help! (1965, full film)
Yellow Submarine (1968, full film)

Famous/Influential Directors:

Stanley Kubrick: Lolita (1962), Dr. Strangelove (1964)
John Ford: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
George Pal: The Time Machine (1960), Jason & the Argonauts (1963), One Million Years BC (1966)
John Frankenheimer: The Young Savages (1961), The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Arthur Penn: The Miracle Worker (1962), Bonny & Clyde (1967), Alice's Restaurant (1969)
Alfred Hitchcock: Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963), Marnie (1964), Torn Curtain (1966)
James Bond Films: Dr. No (1962), Goldfinger (1964)

African American Films:
Sidney Poitier: A Raisin in the Sun (1961), Lilies of the Field (1963), To Sir With Love (1967), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) and the full film (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner)

HOMEWORK: Post on the forum to answer the question about the American New Wave. Make a film for your film project. Read the article "Blaxploitation".

Film Project (class #2)

Today please complete the following during class:

1. Work on your film project with your group.
  • Producers: get with your director and discuss time and schedule for the film project. You are running out of time. The film project is due by the end of the course. Set up a schedule that works within this boundary. Realize that editing takes time. Producers! It is your job to see that the project is completed by the deadline.
  • Directors: work with your actors, editor, technicians, cinematographer, etc. Find out people's schedule. When can you shoot the scenes you need to? Make a schedule and hand this to your crew. You may use class time to plan, shoot, edit, or trouble-shoot with your crew.
  • Actors: get a copy of the script you are working on and read it. Prepare your scenes by reading and reading and reading the script. Memorize, if possible. Work with your director on scheduling scenes you are in, run lines with other actors, ask questions of the director for anything unclear in the script or with your character. Help out the crew or the director where needed.
  • Writer: Be available to the director to change anything needing changing in the script. Yes, you may want your site locations to blow-up at the end of the film, but is this possible? (the answer is no, by the way.) As the writer, help out the editor and director by preparing a cast and crew list. You may also easily double as an actor, cinematographer, producer, director, crew, or editor. Complete jobs where needed.
  • Cinematographer: Your job is to plan HOW the script is shot. Will you use a long shot or close up? Will you use high-key lighting or low-key? Will you shoot a scene with an oblique angle or a high angle or low angle? Go through the script and make some decisions. Create storyboards to help you visualize a scene. Take into account the writer's wishes, but feel free to change anything that will make your film project more visually interesting.
  • Editor: Start working on the credits. You will need both opening and closing credits. You can do this even if you haven't started shooting your film yet. Use iMovie to create opening and closing credits. You can also help out by finding sound cues or stock footage. Prepare all sound cues as needed. If an actor has a VO (voice over) sequence, use class time to record the voice over (even if you haven't finished shooting the scene it is attached to). Once you have film shot, you may begin editing. I suggest the editor is NOT the director, although this may be unavoidable.
  • Crew: Help out. If something needs to be completed, help your team get the film done on time. Like actors, be available to fill in and help where needed at any time. If the editor needs help, help. If the writer needs help, help. If the director needs help, help. You get the idea.

Check here for some advice about making a film:

Director: How to Direct
Director/Producer: How to Schedule a Film
Director/Producer: How to Plan a Movie (pre-production)
Director/Cinematographer: How to Shoot a Short Film
Cinematographer: Shooting Tips
Cinematographer: Tips for Cinematography
Cinematographer: Tips for Angles & Locations
Editors & Cinematographer: Continuity Editing
Writers: Story Telling Tips
Actors: Acting in Film with Michael Caine

Thursday, May 24, 2012


At some point today, please take this survey. Copy and paste the link into the address bar.

Film Project (End of Year)

Last class you were asked (for 80 minutes) to complete your script . If you didn't complete the assignment in class, you had homework to complete it. Please turn in your homework into the "in-box".

Today (1st period), after viewing William Castle (see post below), please take your treatments and scripts to join a film group of 1-7 people.

Together as a group assign one or two classmates to be THE PRODUCER. The producer will select one of the treatments or film scripts from the group. The script or treatment chosen will be given credit as the "WRITER". The PRODUCER(s) and WRITER should then select a DIRECTOR. Normally this is only the producer's job, where the director is hired to work with a script usually by a studio (producers). Once the script is chosen and the director is chosen, decide which of your group members will be ACTORS. You may have to "hire" outside actors (use your families or friends).

Before the end of class today, please complete the following
--Choose a producer (or producers)
--Choose a script or treatment
--Choose a director
--Choose a cinematographer (director of photography)
--Schedule shooting times and dates (you can start today or this weekend). It is essential that you begin this process as soon as you can (since editing takes a you know).
--You can begin working on the credits and main titles for the film (on iMovie). Designate who is doing what role in the film project.

HOMEWORK: Complete script (treatment), shoot your film, etc. We will be dividing our time in class until the end of the marking period (around June 8 or June 11) between this film project and the last bit of film studies which will cover the MPAA, the American New Wave, Blaxploitation, Home Video, Blockbusters, and CGI (1960-1990's). Please read the handout "Relaxing Restrictions & American New Wave" for homework. Select one American New Wave director and view 3-5 films from this author. After viewing, post a comment on the forum to the question there about the American New Wave. This is due next class, May 30.

The World of William Castle

The Wonderful World of William Castle

Competing with a growing television audience, filmmakers in the 1950's had to entice viewers into seeing their films. The worse the film, the greater the need for effective trailers. Of the best promoters of his directing and producing work, William Castle shines over all others.

William Schloss was born in New York City. Schloss means "castle" in German, and William Castle probably chose to translate his surname into English to avoid the discrimination often encountered by Jewish entertainers of his time. He spent most of his teenage years working on Broadway in a number of jobs. He left for Hollywood at the age of 23, going on to direct his first film when he was 29. He also worked an as assistant to Orson Welles, doing much of the location work for Welles' noir film, The Lady from Shanghai.

Castle was famous for directing low budget B-films with many overly promoted gimmicks. Five of these were scripted by adventure novelist Robb White.

After a long career, William Castle died of a heart attack in Los Angeles in 1977.

His films include:

Macabre (1958): A certificate for a $1,000 life insurance policy from Lloyd's of London was given to each customer in case he/she should die of fright during the film. Showings also had fake nurses stationed in the lobbies and hearses parked outside the theater.

Utube clip: Macabre:

House on Haunted Hill (1959): Filmed in "Emergo". An inflatable glow in the dark skeleton attached to a wire floated over the audience during the final moments of some showings of the film to parallel the action on the screen when a skeleton arose from a vat of acid and pursued the villainous wife of Vincent Price. The gimmick did not always instill fright; sometimes the skeleton became a target for some audience members who hurled candy boxes, soda cups or any other objects at hand at the skeleton.

The Tingler (1959): Filmed in "Percepto". Some seats in theatres showing the Tingler were equipped with larger versions of the hand-held joy buzzers attached to the underside of the seats. When the Tingler in the film attacked the audience the buzzers were activated as a voice encouraged the real audience to "Scream - scream for your lives."

13 Ghosts (1960): Filmed in "Illusion-O". A hand held ghost viewer/remover with strips of red and blue cellophane was given out to use during certain segments of the film. By looking through either the red or blue cellophane the audience was able to either see or remove the ghosts if they were too frightening. 13 Ghosts.

Homicidal (1961): This film contained a "Fright break" with a 45 second timer overlaid over the film's climax as the heroine approached a house harboring a sadistic killer. A voiceover advised the audience of the time remaining in which they could leave the theatre and receive a full refund if they were too frightened to see the remainder of the film. About 1% demanded refunds, but were subjected to demasculation and called "cowards". Homicidal clip.

Mr. Sardonicus (1961): The audiences were allowed to vote in a "punishment poll" during the climax of the film - Castle appears on screen to explain to the audience their options. Each member of the audience was given a card with a glow in the dark thumb they could hold either up or down to decide if Mr. Sardonicus would be cured or die during the end of the film. Supposedly, no audience ever offered mercy so the alternate ending was never screened.

(1962): Each patron was given a "Magic" (gold colored plastic) coin which looked nice, but did absolutely nothing.

Strait-Jacket (1964): Castle had cardboard axes made and handed out to patrons. This film, by the way, starred Oscar winner (not for this film) Joan Crawford - Mommy Dearest herself.

I Saw What You Did (1965): Seat belts were installed to keep patrons from being jolted from their chairs in fright.

Other film trailers from William Castle:

The Old Dark House (designed by Charles Addams: the illustrator/writer who created "The Addams Family")
The Night Walker
Let's Kill Uncle
Thirteen Frightened Girls

William Castle acted as producer to Roman Polanski's direction of: Rosemary's Baby The film remains one of the most artistic Castle productions ever made.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Homework & Script Draft

If you have completed your script draft, please work on your homework (there's a lot of it). If you have NOT completed your script draft, please finish the draft today in class.

Please take note of the following three posts. There is information about your homework and assignments. There are clips that you should view. No, really. Watch the clips. They will help reinforce the style of the 1950's and what you are learning from your notes. It may even help you become a better filmmaker and/or person.

HOMEWORK: See HOMEWORK posts in the following three posts. All is due Thursday.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Samuel Z. Arkoff

HOMEWORK: Please read and view these clips, along with the directors Ed Wood & Roger Corman (see post below for details) and post a forum response for Thursday.


"By the early 1950's, Samuel Z. Arkoff was a brash lawyer scratching out a living by representing his in-laws and the Hollywood fringe, which included many of now-infamous director/angora-clad transvestite Edward D. Wood Jr.'s social circle. Arkoff was physically imposing and capable of scaring anyone who opposed him. One of his clients was Alex Gordon, a screenwriter who had submitted an unsolicited script to Realart Pictures, an outfit that was profitably re-releasing 20-year old movies, often under new titles conjured up by it's owner, Jack Broder.

One such film, Man Made Monster (1941), had just been re-issued as The Atomic Monster, coincidentally the same title of Gordon's screenplay. Zarkoff, smelling blood in the water, paid Mr. Broder a visit and incredibly, obtained a $500 settlement. Broder's sales manager, James H. Nicholson was dumbfounded by Zarkoff's ability to extract a dime out of his tightfisted boss and proposed a partnership. American Releasing Corporation was founded in 1954 and their first release was a low-budget feature by 29-year old producer Roger Corman. Made for less than $50,000, it netted $850,000 and Corman was brought into the fold as a silent partner.

By 1955 the company was renamed American International Pictures, or simply AIP within the industry. Initially focusing on westerns on the premise that locations came cheap, and although profitable, Arkoff was unhappy with the returns and solicited theater owners for advice on what types of films filled seats. By the mid-1950's, thanks to television, the audience numbers had dwindled considerably with the key demographic now teenagers and young adults, who craved horror movies and drive-ins. AIP jumped into the horror genre with both feet and made a fortune. Under the aegis of Nicholson and Arkoff, the company survived in a constricting industry by catering to the whims of the teenage trade and adapting to trends.

AIP's long (350-plus) roster of kitsch classics, running the gamut from horror to rock'n'roll, from juvenile delinquency to Italian musclemen, and from Edgar Allan Poe to Annette Funicello, have formed their own unique niche in film history. His company became infamous for clever advertising schemes that were often more entertaining than AIP's movies. Arkoff never tolerated egos and his films were more often than not, profitable, thanks to tight budgets and a sharp understanding of the target market. After Nicholson's 1972 resignation, Arkoff assumed full control of the company and remained in charge until the 1979 merger with Filmways prompted his own departure. He then became the head of Arkoff International Pictures."

Ed Wood, Roger Corman, Teenage Drive-In B Films

FOR HOMEWORK (Thursday, May 24): please watch the following trailers/film clips and learn about these directors:
From IMDB:

Ed Wood (Jr.) (10 October 1924 – 10 December 1978) was an American screenwriter, director, producer, actor, author, and editor, who often performed many of these functions simultaneously. In the 1950s, Wood made a run of cheap and poorly produced genre films, now humorously celebrated for their technical errors, unsophisticated special effects, large amounts of ill-fitting stock footage, idiosyncratic dialogue, eccentric casts and outlandish plot elements, although his flair for showmanship gave his projects at least a modicum of critical success.

Wood's popularity waned soon after his biggest 'name' star, Béla Lugosi, died. He was able to salvage a saleable feature from Lugosi's last moments on film, but his career declined thereafter. Toward the end of his life, Wood made pornographic movies and wrote pulp crime, horror, and sex novels. His posthumous fame began two years after his death, when he was awarded a Golden Turkey Award as Worst Director of All Time. The lack of conventional film making ability in his work has earned Wood and his films a considerable cult following.
Roger William Corman (born April 5, 1926), sometimes nicknamed "King of the Bs" for his output of B-movies, is a prolific American producer and director of low-budget movies, some of which have an established critical reputation: many of his films derived from the tales of Edgar Allan Poe.

Corman has apprenticed many now-famous directors, stressing the importance of budgeting and resourcefulness; Corman once joked he could make a film about the fall of the Roman Empire with two extras and a sagebush.

It Conquered the World (1956)

The Little Shop of Horrors

The Raven(1963)

1950's Film & The Screenplay Draft

Please complete and turn in your screenplay drafts by the end of class.

For those of you who finish early, please begin researching the 1950's. See handout notes. You will find the information you need at this website.

For homework for Thursday please read the post article above and watch the film clips. Respond to this post on the forum to the question posed there (For Thursday!)

Finally, please take a look at some of the following clips/trailers for 1950's films:
Marilyn Monroe:
HOMEWORK: 1. Complete (you will have no time to complete this assignment next class, as we are far behind in the curriculum) the 1950's notes. These are due at the beginning of class. I will not accept this homework after 8:30 next class. 2. View and respond on the forum to Ed Wood,

Friday, May 18, 2012

Film Script Draft

Those of you who are NOT AP English Language students, please complete and hand in your script today at the end of class.

Those of you who ARE AP English Language students, please continue to write your scripts during class. Script drafts for YOU are due on Tuesday, May 22.

HOMEWORK: Please read: American International Pictures: Samuel Z. Arkoff & the rise of the teenager. We are about to enter the 1950's.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

1940's Films: Extra Credit

Here are a few on-line free films to view from the 1940's. You may watch as many of these as you'd like for extra credit. After viewing, post a simple response on the forum. You may do this up until June 15.

Bela Lugosi The Devil Bat (1940)
Cary Grant His Girl Friday (1940)
Max Fleischer's Superman cartoons (1942)
The Jungle Book (1942)
Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None (1945)
Fritz Lang's Scarlet Street (1945) with James Cagney
Abbott & Costello Africa Screams (1949)

You are more than welcome to watch ANY film from the 1940's, particularly if you have a Blockbuster or Netflix account. Some of your parents might own 1940's films as well. Ask them. Make a family-night of this. You may also check out the Dryden Theater (the George Eastman House) and see what might be playing from the 1940's, 1950's, or 1960's. All Permissible for this marking period.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Film Script Draft

Today, please use the time in the lab to work on your film drafts. While many of your peers are taking an exam this morning, please use the time in the lab to write. You will find that having the extra day will be helpful as you prepare and craft your draft. This assignment will be due soon, so please work on it.

If you have not yet done so, please watch the recent videos in the posts below. Please get caught up, as the rest of this course involves a lot of material.

HOMEWORK: Try to finish your draft (a good marking point for progress is about page 7-8 by the end of today).

Monday, May 14, 2012

More Writing Tips: Composing Your Short Film

Please use the time in lab today to write your short script (based on your chosen pitch). Advice about writing follows. If you need a break, spend some time to watch these videos, but get right back to writing after viewing.

The best stories involve this structure:
  • A who that must do (Action or Cause) something so that (some Effect) something won't happen.
or in other words:
  • A character (usually) who must do X in order that N won't happen.
Writing Dialogue - 4 minute film (Video)
Writing Screenplays that Sell (Video)

Writing Better Screenplays
Entering a Scene
How to Write a Script

Script Format
Script Format video (part one)
Script Format video (part two)
How to Format a Movie Script

HOMEWORK: If you haven't written a substantial number of pages today, please catch up by completing some of your work as homework. Otherwise none.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Screenwriting Tips

1. Most of writing a screenplay (about 65%) is done in planning and prewriting.
2. Writing a screenplay is a succession of breakdowns: moving from the general to the specific.
3. Don't write a script for a movie you yourself wouldn't go see.
4. Remember the goal of every writer is to get an "emotional" response from your audience. Scripts that are too bland or boring or cliche, only anger an audience (and don't usually get made in the first place).

Writers think in different ways:
1. Inductively: from specific to the universal
2. Deductively: from the universal to the specific
3. Logically: How one thing causes another thing to happen
4. Non-logically: Absurdity or mere coincidence
5. Creatively: discovering hidden connections or relationships between two unrelated things (i.e. metaphorically)
It's okay to think in any of these ways. No one way is the right way. You, of course, can also combine these ways of thinking too.

Get ideas from:
1. Experience (personal or from those around you)
2. What you overhear (conversation)
3. News/Advertising
4. Photographs, paintings, visual art
5. Mind-mapping on a specific subject
6. Speculative brainstorming: asking: What if...?
7. Dreams and/or visualization
8. Free association
9. Adaptation (novels, short stories, poems, memoirs, etc.)
10. Intertexuality (stealing similar ideas from other sources)
After coming up with an idea, test its strength by asking:
1. Who, what, where, when, how, why?
2. Does it have "legs" - is it dramatic and interesting?
3. What's at stake for your character/protagonist?
4. Is the situation understandable or filmable?
5. Is the story too personal or vague?

Always play the devil's advocate when considering the validity of your writing/story/characters/plot, etc. What weaknesses are in your script? Try to fix them after writing a first draft or during the first draft, if you can.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Maltese Falcon (part III); Selecting a film pitch

We will complete our viewing of The Maltese Falcon. After viewing the film, please post a forum response to one of the questions there.

Turn in a copy of your 3rd pitch draft. During 2nd period, please select one of your pitch projects and begin the following:
Create a structured plot point and plot outline for your film script BASED on your idea. Your film script should be between 8-15 pages (in film format).

Complete the character brainstorming worksheets as well in class for your film idea.

This is a solo project. Please work alone on creating a script.

You may have forgotten the film format. On the link page (see the right of this post) you will find instructions for film format. Please learn and use the proper film format for your screenplay. This is an ongoing project at the moment. Your participation in the lab will determine your deadline.

HOMEWORK: Complete the forum posts for Citizen Kane (Late); and The Maltese Falcon (due today).
If you have not yet read the Emergence of TV and HUAC please do so for Monday. We will be discussing it then.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Maltese Falcon (part 2); The Emergence of TV

After our viewing of The Maltese Falcon (with any time remaining), we will begin brainstorming a pitch for a film noir film. See posts below for details. Check out the homework for the last few days (and throughout the next two weeks' posts, due to AP testing).

HOMEWORK: Complete your film pitch #3 (Film Noir). Read the article "HUAC & The Emergence of Television"; Post a forum response on The Maltese Falcon.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Citizen Kane: Ending

Today, we will screen the last bit of Citizen Kane. After we discuss your reactions, record your homework and complete the forum post for Tuesday.

Begin working on your third pitch: Film Noir (see below).

HOMEWORK: Please post a forum response to the question on the forum for Tuesday regarding the film Citizen Kane.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Film Noir

Please turn in your second pitch assignments today.

The Elements of Film Noir (documentary)

Pitch #3 will be to write a story in the film noir genre. We've watched Citizen Kane (which used a lot of the film noir style), but after our viewing of The Maltese Falcon writing a film noir style pitch should be relatively easy.

Here are a few things to watch for as we screen The Maltese Falcon:

1. A protagonist that 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. Reference and description of low key lighting

The Maltese Falcon, directed and written for the screen by John Huston
Based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett
Other film noir films of the 1940's:
The Third Man 
The Big Sleep
Double Indemnity (full film)

Now a little technique and advice about making films:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Citizen Kane: Part Three

Film is a visual medium. As such the power of visual images are, of course, important.

Often objects and locations are used symbolically. Characters can be used allegorically, standing in for a larger idea or concept. We often complain that some films create characters that are stereotypical - that is we know the TYPE. This does make it easier for our filmmakers to communicate IDEA and THEME quickly without having to bother with character development of EVERY character.

One way a filmmaker stresses importance is by using FREQUENCY in a story (how often an object or location appears -- or is mentioned). A filmmaker may use MISE EN SCENE or MISE EN SHOT to show important locations, items, or to suggest the juxtaposition of ideas between two things (a character and an object, for instance).

Today, as you watch Citizen Kane, be aware of frequency, mise en scene, stereotype, and objects that may be symbols or metaphors and watch for them.  Find at least one example (although you may find more than that...) and list it on the front of the index card.

The BIG intellectual question is WHY are certain shots or items or characters portrayed or shown that way? What is the director/photographer/writer trying emphasize or communicate? Also, what METAPHOR may be used and for what purpose?

On the back of your index card, suggest meaning. Why is the subject on the front of the card being shown? What's the deal? What metaphor or larger meaning is the artist(s) attempting to communicate?

Turn in your card at the end of class today.

HOMEWORK: Your second pitch project (see previous posts) are due Friday. Chop, chop. Use the character worksheet to help you flesh out potential protagonists or antagonists.

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...