T351 Week 9 - Spring 2013
- Review Quiz
- Art Videos / Story structure / Dramatic scenes
- Review scripts & treatments
- Production tips
We'll pitch dramatic stories in lab the week after you return from spring break! Then you will have one week to prepare as you'll shoot them the following week. I'll also check in with you on your Final Projects. No lab this week to you can shoot and edit your Art Videos!
Some of you are missing paperwork (critique, proposals, etc.). Please turn in anything missing ASAP if you want to receive credit for it.
You should turn in or have turned in the following:
- Interview / Feature story Critique (Upload this to the Oncourse folder - due this week)
- Any missing Art Video Pre-Production materials (Was due last week)
- Final Project Proposal & Treatment (Was due last week)
This week you should be finishing shooting. Some of you are already
editing. We'll look at these starting right at 10 AM the week after spring break. Please be sure to have this uploaded before the start of lab.
We'll pitch these the week you get back from spring break. It's fine if you would like to pick your own storytelling partner.
But everyone still needs to pitch their idea and turn in a proposal and treatment. These are group projects. Everyone in a group is expected to turn in their own edit - unless you tell me your plan for collaboration.
Conflict is essential to storytelling. People never
live happily ever after until the end of the story, after the conflict
has been addressed.
- Lovers who can't be together
- A dog who is trying to find his way home
- A boy battling a giant
- Two nations at war
Stories have a beginning, middle and end.
You can write your own story, or base it on a real-life event. Many
movies and TV shows are based upon real events and people.
A Beautiful Mind
Bonnie & Clyde
Law & Order
Saving Private Ryan
Your story doesn't have to revolve around a person or an animal. A former student wrote one about a pen. (The character arc was kind of
difficult.) It started on a CU of the pen hanging in the bookstore. It was then used to create art, write papers, and pen love letters.
Terrible ideas / things to avoid - The fewer characters the better. FInd people who can act (not your friends). There is time to line up talent, but you have to start now. Whatever you do don't write one more about the "worse day
ever" or being "late for class" or "and then the test was canceled" or
have your character then wake up and realize "it was all a dream". Another terrible idea that keeps returning is the "woke up with a hangover and can't remember what happened".
An interesting scenario is NOT a story. (E.g. a man wakes up in a rowboat.) Once you introduce the prime character and the conflict, you need to resolve it.
Keep your storytelling projects
short & sweet! It's
much better to have 4 minutes of gold than 10 minutes of yuck.
A good goal is to always try to make the viewer wonder, "What's going
to happen next?"
[Look at examples]
- Story & character - A story usually involves one or more person and the conflict they face. Characters should transform (have a character arc). If there is just a situation (I feel sad because my boyfriend died), that's not really a story. Similarly just having people fight or make love is not storytelling. You need to make
us care about the characters and the story. We need to
know who basic motivation of our characters and why they are doing what they are doing. It's not what happens to us that defines us or our characters- it's how we deal with it.
- Clearly draw your characters - There's a concept called "first action" that addresses
the very first time the audience sees a character. The idea is that we
find out something about the person that identifies who they are and
that provides insight into their character. Maybe the first time we see
"Joe" (the hero in our short story) he is coming out of a building and
holds the door open for someone coming in. It takes 4 seconds to show
this and establishes the fact that Joe is probably an alright guy. Maybe
the first time we see "Pete" (the bad guy in our short story) he is honking
at a homeless person slowly pushing her shopping cart across the street.
Stories & Story Structure Resources
Relevant web links:
Scripts & treatments
Start with a treatment, then move onto a script. It's much easier to
refine a treatment than to make changes to a script. After you are happy
with the treatment, move on to write the script.
A treatment describes the flow of the story.
Treatments use the present tense and a narrative manner. The treatment
should address individual scenes. The function of a scene is to further
develop the plot or characters. Some writers like to put scenes on cards, which they can re-arrange. You can do this with paragraphs.
What’s in a script? Read Jim's Script
Two-column vs. film style
The single column script is best suited for writers who are leaving
the visual decisions to the cinematographer or director.
In general I've been impressed with many of your videos. Here are a
few tips to make them even better:
- Nothing saves you more time in production and makes your project
better than pre-production- a.k.a. planning.
Simply put, spend time thinking about your projects. The more
time you spend picking your script and shots apart before production,
the smoother and quicker it will go.
- Visualize every single shot! Beethoven could
write his music entirely in his head. You can do the same thing.
Imagine the first fade up from black. What do you see? You can
do this with every single shot along with the soundtrack.
Put it in writing in the form of your script and shot sheets. If
you can learn to do this you will have great success producing
- When writing a scene - don't forget the basics, such as establishing
time and location. When in doubt
interesting establishing shot, then start moving the camera in.
- When blocking two-person exchanges OTS (over the shoulder) shots
- TV is a close-up medium. Avoid using too many long shots and medium
long shots. Use close ups and extreme close-ups to to tell your story.
- Everything, every shot, every sound, every character should be there
for a reason. If it doesn't push the scene or the character along cut
- Lighting - Always plan on enhancing the appearance through lighting.
Occasionally you will get some nice locations that don't need much
(shooting outside on an overcast/diffused day) but almost every single
indoor scene will benefit from at least a little soft fill.
- Keep the camera level and smooth. Don’t slightly tilt the horizon.
Keep it level or really tilt it (cant / Dutch angle) Keep your movements
smooth and steady.
- Don't use hand held shots - unless they are specifically motivated!
Hand-held implies a documentary feel. Many of the hand held shots I've
have been unmotivated and of marginal quality.
- Lenses: Occasionally check to see if lens has water drops on it.
You often can’t see these through the viewfinder. Never touch
the lens with anything other than special lens cleaning paper.
- Gain switch
- make sure it's turned off
- Remember the 180-degree rule and how to cross it
- Remember to motivate your edits and avoid jump cuts. For good edits
(think about this when you shoot!) I also like the 3- shot rule:
Think about the shot you're shooting, the shot you'll use before it,
the shot you'll use after it. Also consider what will motivate your
edit. Action? A sound?
- When shooting B-roll, shoot mini-continuity
sequences. These will cut together very nicely.
- Always start and end your sequence with a fade- unless a pop on or
pop off has been specifically motivated.
- Start and end programs with both video and audio. In other words
as you fade up on your first visual, we should hear something. At the
end, your music should end right when we fade to black.
- Only digitize the audio that you need. In other words if you've recorded
your interview or primary audio on track one, don't bother digitizing
track two, or don't bring it into the timeline.
- When using B-roll, don't just drop in one shot, instead use a sequence
of 3 or more shots.
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