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Uncommon Restraint- The Wilkinsburg Shootings

THE PEDRO ESCALANTE STORY
CINEMA NOTES:

A screenplay is a blueprint for
movies.

The language of cinema is cinema photography. A scene’s
goals are geared to point of view (POV)- convey a feeling
or mood. Elicit a specific emotion from audience. Generate
an emotional theme. Play with different visual styles.
The Director is the storyteller. It is
about what you are capturing
between the frame lines. You are
the editor and chief of a lot of
ideas; collaboration is important.
Find a story and go out and tell it
cinema graphically. Great actors
making a strong performance.
It is about developing style in cinema
photography with your actors and
production crew- design, music, colors,
editing, sound design, and on-set direction
.
With editing, it is not just where you see it;
it is also where you don’t.
There must exist a rhythm for the movie
narrative. What is the story about? What are
you trying to convey? How will/ does it
impact the audience?
STORIES ARE MOSAICS. The story-
make it personal; present a fresh take; look
for powerful moments- back up your
instincts with craft. What are your
instincts, aesthetics, and voice for
storytelling? Collect reels of research for
stories/ themes. Research films, scenes,
filmmakers, TV shows, other visual styles
that you are drawn to.
SCRIPT and the Shooting script is more elaborate, precise,
and the overwritten version of the screen play. The
shooting script is not written by the screen writer; it is
written by the Director alongside the cinema photographer.
Discuss the shot plan.
The shooting script is a production.
A shooting script is broken into shots (dolly in, close ups,
etc.). The shooting script is divided into dates and times to
shoot. The shooting script is essential to complex
productions. Let crew members what they will need to
bring/ arrange beforehand.
There must be dialogue chemistry to entice the
audience and push the story forward- it must
elaborate on plot or reveal something about a
character. Keep throwaway dialogue (e.g. “Good
morning…”) to a minimum.
A great dialogue movie was “12 Angry Men.” The
dialogue gave the jury depth. All the dialogue was
needed. It pushed the story forward and gave
exposition. Gestures, expressions, and objects used to
fill the void dialogue could not. There must be
effective dialogue.
LIGHTING- has the greatest power to evoke
emotions. Lighting must be manipulated by the
Director to accommodate his or her desires for the
movie. *Low-key lighting pattern and avoiding dark
areas in the frame. Everything looks bright with little
or no shadow at all. High-key lighting has little
dramatic effect itself.
High-key lighting often seen in romantic comedies
and musicals- avoiding dark areas in frame. Low-key
often seen in horror movies and thrillers- both bright
and dark areas in the frame. Low-key lighting is high
contrast. High-key lighting is low contrast.
To succeed the Director is involved from the early
stages of pre-production all the way to the final
phase of post-production.
When selecting a script, consider length in number
of locations, number of characters- e.g. script and 5
characters might be too much. DEVELOPMENT is
first phase of movie/ screenplay.
*There are no set number of scenes- e.g. 120 page
script at approximately 2-3 pages per scene should
have 45-60 scenes.
110-120 pages- one page equals one minute of
screen time. * ”SERPICO” 131 pages.
A Director must unify many story elements-
plot, characters and dialogue. * SPIELBERG
on characters (“larger than life”) 1- Action:
Show personality and emotions through action,
Show- don’t tell. Action speaks better than
words. Show intellect of characters. 2-
FRACTION: The items of and on the
characters makes/ plays active part, e.g.
jingling keys- something that identifies that
character.
The Director is in charge of creative decisions
onward. The Director should write the
shooting script- huge responsibility; must be
totally familiar with the screenplay. Know
what and how he/ she wants to shoot the
movie. Shooting script is more detailed
description of the shots and scenes of movie.
The main part of the production phase and
most expensive part on the film production is
the “PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY”-
recording of actors.
Storyboarding illustrates the shots that will
ultimately make up the movie. Build it
conveying the information that IS important.
The storyboard is a sequential series of
illustrations, stills, rough sketches, captions,
camera angles, blocking of actors, and size of
frame. Synopsis for film or complex scene- in
sequence to usually map and craft the various
shot divisions and camera movements.