Thursday, December 3, 2009

Emotional Relief

Cuts, like music, provide emotional relief to the viewer. If a particularly powerful thing happens on screen, whether it be in the form of dialogue or action, minimal (if any) music should be used, and few (if any) cuts be made. I also think as a culture we have gotten so used to the close-up that it too provides relief more than enhancement of the emotion; after decades of overusing the close-up in TV and film, the full shot may ultimately end up being more powerful.

As with anything, this is not universally true, but I think it's a good guideline for the most part.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Why I Prefer Narrative to Documentary

Documentary is a wonderful medium that freely offers what many narrative filmmakers tire endlessly to achieve, namely the ability to convince the audience of the film's reality. The more Joe Moviegoer is convinced of the reality the filmmaker has crafted, the more likely he is to emotionally invest himself in it. Documentary implies that from frame 1, what he is seeing is real, and exists in the same world he does. With narrative, it is much more difficult (if not impossible) to reach this level.

But certain techniques and production styles that narrative filmmaking allows (and that I personally employ) are usually looked down upon in documentary as distortions of reality. These techniques-- thin depth of field, dramatic music, heavy color grading, etc.-- are not distortions; rather, they accentuate and bring the film's reality closer to how we perceive our own. When you remember a particularly emotional or traumatic event, you don't remember how it "actually" happened, but rather you recall certain elements that your mind chooses to isolate. The freedom that narrative gives us, both in production and post, to "accentuate" in this manner can be used to bring Mr. Moviegoer into that "real" headspace we yearn for.

I believe good film works on an un/subconscious level just as much (if not more) than on a conscious one. Documentary rarely allows for this type of manipulation to the extent of narrative, and it's for this reason if nothing else that I prefer the latter.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Blog is Not Something I Ever Really Wanted to Do

In fact, I believe that unless you're someone with something truly useful or important to say, the very concept of blogs (and Twitter, for that matter) is rather narcissistic; after all, you're really just assuming that people want to read your diary.

It's with that in mind that I'm treating this more as a thought journal than anything else. As a filmmaker, random bits of film theory-- some brief, some expansive-- will often pop into my head, and I feel it could be beneficial to me to have these thoughts written down. As I said, I don't believe things should be blogged that aren't worth blogging, so allow me to clarify that I'm not billing myself as particularly intelligent or insightful here-- I'm typing on the intarwub rather than writing in a notebook because it allows for interaction in the form of comments (something I welcome, if anyone feels so inclined).

To summarize: these are the random musings of a student in his field. Take them as they are.