Thursday, October 18, 2012

the art of film-making

Even if you're not intrigued, as I am, by the minutiae of film-making, I think you'll find your film-viewing experience enriched by some basic knowledge of the art.

To that end, I'd recommend you pick up a copy of Making Movies, by Sidney Lumet, which you can get for around six bucks (with shipping) on Amazon. Or, alternatively, you could get a friggin' library card.  Lumet's a master of the cinema, and really takes you inside that world.

From the cover: "Invaluable... I am sometimes asked if there is one book a filmgoer could read to learn more about how movies are made and what to look for while watching them. This is the book."

- Roger Ebert, The New York Times Book Review

If, however, you want a quick look into what screenplays are like (and who wouldn't?) and an example of how that gets translated for the screen, I'd highly recommend you go check out THIS POST on the Blacklist website. It starts with a snippet of the screenplay from the critically-acclaimed 1998 film, OUT OF SIGHT, by Scott Frank. After that is the actual clip, as it was realized on film, and then a series of questions, such as, "What elements in the movie scene are the same as the script?" and "Regarding the differences, put yourself in the mindset of the filmmakers and speculate: Why did they make the changes they did?"

While watching a film whilst reading a script and asking probing questions is an extremely useful exercise for a budding screenwriter, I think anybody'd find it would give them a bit more respect for the incredible difficulty involved in shaping a movie that works.

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