Notes for Comm 140- Intro to Film Studies

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University of Massachusetts Amherst
COMM 140
Martin Norden

The Business of Film Wednesday, September 04, 2013 12:21 PM Exams will be open book, open note format:D That does NOT mean you don’t have to study or to preparatory lecture readings This class is not about memorization,therefor, it's about having a good, solid working knowledge of the concepts The Movie Business Production The making of movies(directors, actors, editors, cameramen,etc) Independent filmmakershave a great screenplay (or what they think is a great screenplay) but can't get major distribution companies interested, so they have to raise money by themselves in order to get the film started -Even "low budget" independent films (maybe 5-6 major speaking rules, modern day script so no major costuming or special effects, etc) can still cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars -The dream of these independent filmmakersis to get shown at major film festivals (ex. Sundance, The Golden Age of Cinema) and distribution companiescan pick up the rights to spread it around and make money off of it. If you have a great movieand you've lined up perhaps a director and a couple big name actors, you can take a kind of "package deal" to distribution companies as a business proposal to get the funds for a big-budget film -A great deal of negotiation takes place (no, these actors, no this setting, that director is pants, use this one, etc etc) -The company provides a bulk of the production money up front so that actors and whatnot can be paid during filmmaking -The distribution company does, of course, get a bigger cut of the profits Distribution -Early Years: Came into being because theater owners had to buy prints from the moviemakers,but once they had shown it and exhausted their audience, what did they do then? -A While Ago: The distribution company bought the film from the producers, and rent it to the theaters, who returned it after a few weeks -Present: Nowadays,distributors will buy the movie,and then make hundred of copies of it in order to get it to as many theaters as possible -Distribution companies tend to be owned by conglomerates(i.e. deep pockets)(Warner Bros, Time Warner, Paramount,Sony…) who often lease out contracts to smaller production companies to actually make the films Exhibition The showing of movies(theatres, streaming, drive-ins, etc) Film: Living in Oblivion Successfully demonstratesthe monotonyand repetitivenessof filmmaker Act 1 was the Director'sNightmare, Act 2 was the Actresses Nightmare, and Act 3 was reality, but they were doing a dream sequence Crew Members Producer - The Money. Hires the crew, and is largely concerned about staying on budget and raising money raising money Director - works with the actors and cinematography,and if it’s a well managed team, they will work mostlywith the actors one-on-one,leaving the details to others Assistant director (AD) - Take care of details like affirming traffic is stopped, takes orders from the director, makes announcements for things like 10 minute breaks Cinematographer (also the Director of Photography,DP) - their #1 job is controlling the way the light falls on the subjects on the scene, also camera movements Assistant Camera Operator - focus and color Sound Recordist - Operates sound equipment, inserts soundtrack to film that complements scene, the slate board with the slapper is identifiable on both the sound and image takes and used to synchronize them Boom Operator - Script Continuity - Gaffer - Hair/Makeup - Costumer - Miscellaneous Production Assistants - Production Design Tuesday, September 24, 2013 11:20 AM (New England film) Nonprofit org that encourages film/video production activity "classifieds" jobs tab List of film and videomakingactivities Lighting Key light - primary light source High key light - Harsh lighting, deep shadows, lighting is relatively uniform Low key light - mainly 1 key light with minimal other light sources, and very stark contrasts, a lot of shadows Fill light - secondarylight source Fills in the dark spaces to try and make a moreuniform Spreads the lighting around May involve using reflectors (ex. white sheet) that spreads the light around and softens the shadows Back light Light source is behind the subjects head Ratio: Key light: High contrast = high ration = low key lighting Comedies,happy stuff Key light + Fill light Low contrast = low ration = high key lighting Film noir, drama, horror… Quality: Hard light Direct Used for serious moments,drama Soft light Diffused, light hits subject Softens details, blurs contrast More flattering, romance Back Light Silhouettes, good for mysteryor suspenseful characters Edge/rim light (kicker) Makes a subject stand out Direction: Frontal Light Features of subject are rather flat, no Accentuating blandness Under lighting/Halloween lighting Distorts features, makes shadows large Lighting = Ratio + Direction + Quality Mise-en-scene People in charge of mise-en-scene a. Director b. Cinematographer c. Production designer (in charge of location AND art design) c. Production designer (in charge of location AND art design) How numerous aspects of a scene look together Costumes Hair/make-up Sets Mattes Miniatures Digital environments (sound, sometimes) Schufftan Process Early matte technique Wanted to create an "otherworldly"landscape Creates a miniature ~ tabletop size Between camera and actors would be a large, partially mirrored glass Glass at a 45* angle to camera The bottom part of the glass would be scraped clear so that the actors could be seen The top part would reflect the miniature set If done properly, the film would have a compositeeffect Acting Tuesday, October 01, 2013 11:20 AM Film performers Stars Personality stars play one persona very well in every film he's cast in Assumption is that they are playing themselves typecasting ex. John Wayne Character stars People who play very different kinds of roles from film to film Often hugely different from the actor's personality Ex. Meryl Streep Supporting players May not appear in every scene Important characters, but often limited to only certain areas of the film Bit players Actors with one or two lines in a film Extras Don't have lines of dialogue Nonprofessionals Get people who don't intend to be actors
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