A blog for my TCF 312 class. IE: For class, click my profile for my personal blog.

Monday, April 11, 2011


“I hate people who write off other people’s talents just because of their taste in movies. I left film-school for that very reason. The first thing the teacher told us was “If you want to make Terminator 2, leave now” and I was like, fuck you man. There could be a kid sat in the corner disheartened because Terminator 2 is the movie he wants to make, that’s his vision and here’s the teacher telling him he can’t do that. He had no fucking right, none of us do. Besides, I think Terminator 2 is a pretty kick-ass movie.” - Paul Thomas Anderson

I love PTA's movies, but after reading this quote he has put into words the attitude that I've had toward film school the entire time I've been here.

Film students have a terrible stereotype of being totally elitist about movies, and I've found that 9 times out 10 it is absolutely true. Film IS subjective, don't be mean or rude about something just because YOU don't like it.

For example, I LOVE horror movies, they are the thing that I want to have a career around; but a lot of film students see horror movies as a lower form of a media, the bottom of the totem pole as far as movies go. I don't let this get me down though, because there will always be horror movies getting made, and they will always make more money than pretentious indie movies.

I can understand telling someone to broaden their tastes. But ripping someone down just because that is one type of art or movies among the varity of your tastes is pretty narrow minded. Film students should stop living in this mind set.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Just a note

Sometimes I think we (Film Students) are a little to close minded about things. Don't get defensive just yet, hear me out. We all have our own ideas of the thing that we want to achieve that we narrow in on it and almost lose sight of all the possibilities that we can have as filmmakers.

There are those of us that put all our focus on the camera work, some people only work in editing, some people like sound, and I'm one of the people that likes writing more than anything else.

We can't do this. We should experiment with everything, see how it works, dissect it as an art form and experiment. If you don't feel comfortable with a camera, get behind one anyway. Don't listen to the “rules” of what you can and can't do with something, do what you want, learn from experience, learn from your failures. Create something new and teach it to your friends.

After I graduated from high school I set out to make a feature length film. It was essentially “Clerks” but set in a movie theater, and I did it. I have a copy of the film, the script, a journal I kept in production and I look back on it with VERY fond memories. But the film itself isn't great. The script is pretty funny, the acting isn't bad, but visually it is absolutely dreadful. While the final product of my creation wasn't something for me to showoff to producers with a “HEY INVEST MONEY IN ME” attitude, it was easily to this date one of the most valuable learning experiences I have EVER had.

Learn everything about the craft, yes you'll find stuff that you don't like and stuff you really really life, and take the time to find what you're good at. Just don't narrow yourself down to a few tasks before you try them, it could be the thing putting food on your table in a few years.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What I learned. Vol. 2

Cinematographer's style was an interesting film. It provided a rare insight into the mind of cinematographers, a world I'm only vaguely familiar with. To hear these professionals talk about that craft was a different experience. It's one thing to hear actors, writers and directors talk about their craft, but when you listen to the people responsible for the way a movie actually looks talk you really listen.

How they all take so much into account to visually tell the story was astounding, this is a piece of film making that a lot of people forget about in the process. God knows how.

What have I learned? Something that I considered easier to answer after the initial viewing, but now I feel I have a better idea.

The idea of striking one light at a time, and thinking of it as a paint brush stroke is something I'll need to keep in mind when lighting. Lighting isn't my specialty, or my cup of tea, perhaps this style of thinking will have me looking at it all differently, and help.

I also like the idea that one of them said that Cinematographers don't play with lights, they play with shadows. This is great advice to think about. Don't light a scene to expose everything, light it to expose the important things.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Scene Analysis

Film Title: Sin City
Director: Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller
Cinematography: Robert Rodriguez
Synopsis of scene: It is Hartigan's (Bruce Willis) last day as a police officer because of his heart condition. He is using this last day to bring down a notorious serial rapist that no one will bother arresting because of his family ties.

1-3: The shot begins as a medium long shot and dollies forward to about above the hood of the car then zooms in the rest of the way. The entirety of this shot Hartigan has an internal narration going, so the pushing forward gives us a visual focus on the narration.

4: Big close up on his Police Badge as he reflects on his work. This is a great shot because it shows us what and how the character is looking at without doing a POV.

5: Close up on his lapel as he puts his badge on. Even without the sound going we would now know he is a cop and that he is proud of it (because he wears the badge on display).

6-7: His narration continues and the camera very slowly and subtly zooms in as he reflects on his wife and the last case that he has to finish.

8-10: The camera is on the back of the car as we're introduced to his partner Bob, he looks into the moving camera as if we were Hartigan.

11/12: Medium long shot of Hartigan getting out of the car, the camera follows him as he walks past bob

13-15: Long Shot, Bob pleads with Hartigan about what he is doing. The shadows on Hartigans face seem to reflect his inability to let go.

16: Medium Close up: Hartigan turns to bob

17/8: Medium long shot hartigan talks to bob, the shadows on his body are lit up as he speaks (coincidence?)

19: Medium close up

20-25: Medium close up of Hartigan at first, as Bob continues to “Try and talk sense into him” and Hartigan's anger grows the camera moves closer and closer to him.

26: Medium Long shot, Hartigan hits bob.

27: Medium close-up. This is the most Human that Hartigan has looked the entire time, his scar is out of frame and we have a nice tight close up on him.

29-31: A nice close up of Hartigan as Bob lays down in the background. The shadows return to Hartigan's face his “game face” for what is about to happen.

32-33: A long shot of Hartigan walking down a hallway. Going from the dark to the light, a transition he is hoping to emulate with Nancy Calahan when he finds her.

34: Close up on Hartigan as his heart condition begins to act up.

35/6: A different close up on Hartigan, the shadows have intensified on him as his condition begins to get stronger. The camera zooms in closer on him as he fights it. (Focus of the literal internal structure)

37/8: Long shot of the two thugs and the car, Hartigan enters the frame silently.

39: Medium Close up Hartigan waits in the shadows. A good visual representation of his character, on the edge of the shadows but with his face to the light.

40: Medium Long shot of the thugs talking about the car.

41-2: A wider Medium long shot, the shadow signifies Hartigan as both a character in this scene and a forecful presence in the story itself.

41-2: A wider Medium long shot, the shadow signifies Hartigan as both a character in this scene and a forecful presence in the story itself.

43-5: Medium Close ups of Hartigan hitting the thugs.

46-8: Close up as Hartigan clutches his chest, the camera tilts upward to reveal his face.

49: Medium Shot, hartigan stumbles

50: Close up of hartigan in pain. The grey on his face is a shade we haven't seen on the characters thus far. It is a good representation of how to show a feeling (pain) without color but with different shades of black.

51: BCU Hartigan opens his pill bottle

52: Medium shot Hartigan takes the pills

53: Big Close up of Hartigan swallowing

54: Medium shot, The darkness has engulfed him. This was a good way to show the impending death coming upon him from his heart condition.

55: Close up- Hartigan falls down

56-60: Low Medium shot on Hartigan that dollies forward slowly and tilts up as he stands, showing his power and the light slowly coming down on him giving him a godly look

61-2: A close up of Hartigan's gun moves up to Hartigan's face. The shadows on his face that I mentioned early as his “game face” are back.