Posts Tagged ‘story’

Application of Theory

Posted: January 29, 2013 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 12_14
Tags: , ,

Alexander Mackendrick‘s book, “On Film-making” (2004) is proving to be very insightful. It is pretty much exploring his approach to teaching as a director, and covers his film-making approach. One quote that really struck me was:-

“Creativity’ will always look after itself if you are prolific in production, which means starting off by turning out masses of work that is relatively unoriginal, derivative and imitative. When productivity has become second nature, you will find you have acquired a freedom in which your particular and personal individuality emerges of its own accord. One of the things I find frequently missing in students … is not imagination itself, rather the knack of making a disciplined effort in the development of a fertile imagination.

Intelligent and critical students are all too apt to use ‘thinking’ as a substitute for the much harder work of ‘imagining’ at the intuitive, emotional and sensory levels. People who talk about things instead of doing them tend to use analysis as a substitute for creativity. But a . statement about the kind of effect you want to achieve is never a substitute for the often exhausting labours that must go into actually creating that effect. Work is the only real training.

So, doing is learning. The ability to make films is more important than the ability to think of doing. So, any theory is only useful for how it can be used. So keep making films. And making films.

A film-maker makes films. It’s simple. It’s in the title.

The whole point of this course is to reflect on theory and apply it – so, not a million miles away from Mackendricks opinion. We need to constantly discover theories, and apply them to our practical work.

Or, to put this theory into practice,

  • Pick a location or a prop.
  • Make a film
  • That tells a story
  • with no Dialogue
  • Using any available technology
  • You have 3 hours to complete it and get it uploaded.

The more you do this, the better you will be at film-making!


Finding a story

Posted: September 18, 2011 by Alan Hardcastle in CMP 10_12
Tags: ,

There are a number of important factors in making the films for this project – Speed, accuracy, and story.

We have a deadline. We need to see at least 4 sites to visit in each filming window. Luckily, we have drivers too, so we can get away with 3. But we have 40 businesses to see in 3 weeks. Then we edit. So, speed is essential. More speed, less haste.

We have to make sure we identify everything we need – therefore the important thing to do first is identify everything we need – location, contact number, contact name, what they do, who they are, when they can film, when we can film, what they have been nominated for… and all this has to be accurate. We have already had a slight mix up in contacting a client before we had all the information – so while speed is important, it must be balanced with accuracy.

So, then we have story. This is not history, this is how we are making the film interesting. What is the story we are telling? Every event has a number of different angles we can take on telling it to someone else. Lets take the Rag Day for an example – we can take 3 routes. 

1. Rag day has been an event in the college calendar for 20 years.

2. Rag Day raised over £2000 for charity last year, and this year hopes to raise more.

3. Large numbers of college students end up in hospital every year with alcohol poisoning.

While we assume all 3 are accurate (although I have just made them up as an example), No1 is potentially pretty dull. While 3 is possibly the most interesting story to run with (cue shots of drunken students, students in hospital, concerned parents, teachers and medial staff) it is not necessarily a story we would run with if we were commissioned by the College. 

So, we are left with No2 – the story os about how much we have raised for charity, and how much we expect to raise for charity next year. Cue interviews with Staff members, Students, Charity Workers with shots of students in fancy dress and fact checking about which charities are involved and how much has been raised in the past.

All the information is then organised into a story – Introduction, main information, summing up – as a rough script, which will help to generate the questions and shot list. Then we phone the client and run it past them – that way, they correct it for us and we have an accurate story.