Friday, September 12, 2014

Films I liked: Rashomon (+ World Cinema Notes)

Thought I'd post this just for kicks even though I just wrote about not looking too much at features for story structure...

Logline: A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from different points of view

Concept Statement: Humanity is self-serving and sinful, but our hope and salvation comes for the few who our attempt to make up for their crimes.
  • Themes: Imperfections of Human Nature; no accuracy, only bias

  • Director Kurosawa was influenced by traditional Japanese Kabuki Theater.  This is evidenced by the Shaman scene and the way Tojomaru would often exaggeratedly smile not unlike a Kabuki mask
  • No heroic archetype, though each character seems to be the protagonist of their own story
  • The Wife is a good example of a character who is not admirable but who is still sympathetic
  • The film was made during post-WW2 Japan.  As a result, the tone of the film is pessimistic, similar to how Japan might have felt after being defeated.
  • The film coined the term, 'Rashomon Effect,' which means contradictory interpretations by the same people

Notes on Global Cinema:
  • Nonlinear Narrative
  • No happy ending
  • Not Invisible Editing

Story Study: Translating the Storytelling Structure of 'The Hero's Journey' to literal Gameplay

A different study on using story structure and translating it into literal gameplay in Journey

Story Study: Who has the Power?

Personal Notes on Studying Reference

In regards to thesis / storytelling in Ringling CA...
  • Study shorts for how they get quick and effective exposition, story structure, and closure
  • Study features/tv shows for how they make shots, transitions, actions, and cuts interesting and entertaining.  Try not to take too much influence on story structure from these mediums because their long time length allows them to properly execute elaborate plots and higher concept ideas that shorts do not have the time to tell.

Big Hero Six Clip: Billy Merritt Notes on Staging and Cheating

  • Everything in the first four seconds of the clip is clear and readable; there is no mistake that there is a boy character who drops something heavy on his toe
  • At 00:05, Camera distance = emotional distance, so the camera cuts in to close up on Hiro's face, who lets out a writhe of pain
  • Hiro stays on screen left while Baymax stays on screen right throughout the entire clip.  The audience is never confused.

Hiro is framed by a gap in Baymax's arm and body...

But when the camera cuts, Baymax's arm no longer has the gap.  Overall, a really cool, effective, and simple staging cheat.
  • Characters influence the camera: When Baymax walks towards Hiro/MG at 00:38, the top of Baymax's head rides the safe action line

The gap in between the desk and bed is perfectly readable so the audience isn't confused when Hiro falls inside of it (almost as if the filmmakers were foreshadowing)
Hiro's face is silhouetted by the objects that fell on him.  Clear and readable staging!
  • When Baymax picks up Hiro, the staging is cheated so you never actually see him picking up Hiro, saving a ton of labor and scrutinous animation.  Cheat that junk!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Story Study: Sympathetic Doesn't Have to Mean Likable

  • Showing vulnerability is key for the audience to connect to the character.  Is usually done when the character is first introduced
  • Power Struggle - when being vulnerable, the character must be shown to not have "status" in the scene
  • The Wife in Rashomon; she is a powerless character who isn't shown to do any redeeming action throughout the film, but we sympathize with her because she was raped
  • Joel from The Last of Us; Screws over humanity to find a cure in order to save a girl for his own selfish needs (who didn't want to be saved), but we sympathize because he was shown as a vulnerable father who lost his daughter at the beginning of the story

Monday, September 1, 2014

Filmmaker Study: Michael Bay and Bayhem

Q: What Is Bayhem?
A: The use of movement, composition, and fast editing to create a sense of epic scale

Shoots multiple things moving on a very long or wide lens.

Examples of other films that use Bayhem: Lego Movie, Tarzan (Glen Keane)

Shorts I liked: O Futebol Classico

Logline: Mickey's dream of watching the futebol championship is put in jeopardy when his view is blocked.
Concept Statement: ???

Runtime: 3:52