Monday, 29 June 2015

Review on Findings at Sussex University


This post details information gathered from books I analysed at Sussex University's library. It also explains how the information I gathered helps develop my project.

'The Film Handbook'
(de Valk, 2013)
-This book provided a lot of help in the technicalities of filmmaking in a broader sense; logistics, camerawork and distribution.
After reading the book, it was apparent that the contents were a little too basic and included a much greater variety of filmmaking aspects than I had hoped for. Essentially, the book merely covered aspects of film production that I already understand.

'Producing And Directing The Short Film And Video'
(Irving and Rea, 2015 - fifth edition)
-Scripting is a very basic part of any film and it is even more important in the short film because there is less time for characters to be developed or for the plot to become more complex.
-The logistics of short films are a lot different to feature length films and ultra high budget productions.
-Deciding on the location of a short film is important in visualising the plot.
-Casting is one of the main driving forces of the plot and storyline (this is relatable to my film study of La Haine).
-Camerawork is limited due to budget.
-Sound can be adapted with technology today - or youtube mp3 converter are just two examples of how the internet can provide answers to low-budget films' sound mix.

'Writing Short Films'
(Cowgill, 2010 - first edition)
['The Short Screenplay: Your Short Film From Concept To Production' was not available at the time I was there so I decided to read this book instead]
-The book starts with the very basics of writing a plot - which was what I was least confident about coming into the day. The book opens with a basic description of what a plot should entail, being: 'a hero who wants something, takes action but meets conflict which leads to a climax and finally a resolution'.
-Ideas for films stem from concepts someone wants to visualise. Short films should aim to be focused on one thing rather than multiple ideas.
-One should create a fresh plot, an effective or meaningful backdrop and a few surprises along the way to maintain a degree of uncertainty as to what will happen next.
-Good treatments should be able to be told in one or two sentences.
-A conflict-based plot between a few people provides solid ground.
-A combination of genres is usually quite beneficial [crime/gangster & comedy?]
-Using filmic qualities (mise-en-scene, camerawork etc.) is essential in making a short film visually pleasing for the audience.
-A clear theme structured by character, environment, incident, situations and informational area has got to be identified.
-Some of the questions I could ask myself when designing the storyline stemming from this chapter in the book included: 'what is the driving action of the story?' and 'who or what opposes the protagonist?'
-In terms of the actual structure of content in a film, one can split it into three steps:
The setup   -   The rising action   -   The resolution
-According to the Concise Dictionary of Literary Terms, story is defined as the 'sequence of events' whereas plot is defined as the 'arrangement of events'. This definition is very similar to theorists Bordwell and Thompson's view - that there is a clear difference between the plot and storyline of a film.

'Screening Strangers: Migration And Diaspora In Contemporary European Cinema'
(Loshitzky, 2010)
-'La Haine' was released in 1995 and depicted the story of three young Frenchmen troubled by the riots and civil conflict in the banlieues of France.
-The film won the Cannes Film Festival of the year it was released, as well as the Cesars (the French equivalent of the Oscars) the following year.
-It has been recognised internationally as the definitive film of its genre. It was not the first, but Kassovitz's La Haine is widely known as the best of its kind.
This book mainly concentrates on the representation of each group represented in the film rather than the filming of La Haine. Thus, it is not as useful as it could have been for me but it still provided me with the basis for further research into this film and Mathieu  Kassovitz's - the director.

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