BASIC FILMMAKING: THE SILENT FILM (6 weeks)
In this DIRECTING and PRODUCTION course, the basics of narrative visual language are studied in class and practiced through five two-minute non-dialogue EXERCISE FILMS that explore the basics of storytelling: the shot, coverage, the frame, mise-en-scene, movement of actors and camera, casting and performance, directing actors, sound design, and an intensive, thorough, and systematic approach to script analysis.
Towards the end of the course, each student will direct his KEYSTONE PROJECT: a five-minute silent digital film. The student is expected to write a script draft for this film before the first day of class, and is required to submit it on the first day of class. He may consult the professor regarding continuing development of this script through the first three weeks of the course. This five-minute project shall be a narrative film, not an experimental film, not a “mood piece” or a “tone poem”. It shall be shot on day exterior locations and shall use sound effects but not music.
Readings, viewing of clips by master directors, and classroom discussions will provide a framework for the course material.
The purpose of the course is to challenge the student to find his/her own cinematic voice within the basic, commonly understood language of narrative film. The approach is similar to that of a fine arts laboratory. While we aim for a basic mastery of the classic conventions and tools of the film director, we also expect each student to explore, with genuine artistic seriousness, the personal and formal variations that lead to discovery of his/her own style.
Each student will take the initiative to embrace and work with the various resources that are available to the filmmaker: sound and image, motion, light, character, story. These are not the end, but the tools that the serious filmmaker masters in order to make his work live.
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