* 2007-2009 Film Directing Intro Page @ Film-North, see Film Directing Class Pages! *
"My movie is born first in my head, dies on paper; is resuscitated by the living persons and real objects I use, which are killed on film but, placed in a certain order and projected on to a screen, come to life again like flowers in water." - Robert Bresson
[ updates are at directing.filmplus.org
Every time you see this color triangle, you are on directing pages!
LINKS (links film-north)
Directing Lab: classes on-line.
Film Directing Books at Amazon.
On Film Directing -- links from HandyGuide!
Film-Directing: dozens of lists and groups, subscribe!
Directors Guild of America Books on Directing, also my Film-Books page!
Film Studies at University of Alaska Fairbanks
Stage Directing Classes: Directing with Meyerhold (Floor Plan) & Directing Pages Guide THEATRE
Film and Stage directing are different, but I advise to start with the theatre. To learn about the text and the actor. Master mise-en-scene -- the primary motion. Only then we can talk about directing the camera.
Of course, there is my online directing class, you can enroll yourself, but the best is to study the pages first and see how we work on UAF productions (Shows directory). I believe in self-education and the web is a good tool!
Proto-page for THR 470 Film & Video Directing
I will talk only about Director's relation with camera, or call it his home-work, his self-process. For dealings with actors I reserved another ("Theatre with Anatoly") page.
Well, directing is a new profession. In order to talk about the craft, we have to define the art, the reason for craftmenship.
Visions give birth to images. You have to see things in order to show them (and film is a show biz), you have to notice them in order in order to learn how to reconstruct them, you have to dream in order to lead your audience through a couple hours of a day-dreaming. There are no actual "pictures" on the screen, only MOTION (pictures), everything is in the mind of your spectator -- that's where film is finaly composed. The beginning of it is in your mind.
You don't have to be a director to understand directing and if you want to do theatre (and, especially, film) you better learn a few things about directions.
This page is about VISUAL composition. DRAMATIC COMPOSITION is on ANALYSIS Also, I recommend you visit my Lab Theatre -- The analysis of dramatic structure is a biggest part of directing for stage.
If you don't know it yet... the framing (check the glossary) is a beginning of everything:
Extreme long shot (XLS)(2001)
(Of course, it was shot with the model). Important to remember the three major sizes -- Long Shot, Medium and Clouse up. It almost as if 3rd, 2nd and 1st face -- they (he), you and I. That's how your spectator lives through an indentification with the screen. The close you get, more personal it feels. Notice that all climatic moments can't excape closeups.
long/wide shot (LS, WS)(Basketball Diaries)
Sometimes called "establishing shot": gives us the sense of environment, the settings -- tradionally, opens the scene.
Most popular, tv loves it. Keep in mind that cut from LS to MS reads as another degree of "subjectivity" (I'll talk about POV and "subjective time" time later. Remember that getting closer to action is getting action inside you).
The king of the screen.
....and, of course, the extreme closeup (XCU), often called "detail" (the eye-logo on my front page).
Sometimes, we give the same size shot a different name.
Closeup could be reffered to as a "head shot" and MS as "chest-up" -- and there are several in-between sizes: MCU, for example (Medium-Closeup). Stay with with "1-2-3" for reality breakdown, it will help you to measure the cuts. The jump from one to antother is extremely dramatic, but if done right, we do not notice the cut. That is the art of montage (check the Glossary)
There are practical reason for different names for the same size of a shot.
MS could be called "Two-Shot" (two people in)
Even without a storyboard the crew understands that two actors will be in one shot.
The size of shot is no less important for constructing your visual sentence than I or He in your grammatic construction. The cut from LS to CU is a statement. Skipping a MS, we are sucked into action; if done properly, it's very effective. Try to master first the transition between LS -- MS -- CU
[Framing, focus, line of tention - The Golden Triangle Principle.]
@All images are freebies. You are welcome to copy.
If you draw two diagonals between the corners, you have a focal point in the middle, a center of our natural attention. The action is gravitates to center, but you don't want to get there without a resistance, no, you organize your shot in such a way that action arrives there only when your spectator beggs for it. Never be too much ahead of him, only one small step -- you directing the movie in order to direct his emotions.
Unfortunally, I'm not a sophisticated enough HTML writer to give your frame by frame sequence of one shot to demonstrate the dymanics of composition in motion.
This is a shot from Tarkovsky's "Sacrifice" -- one of his many favorite non-communication compositions. Reconstruct the position of actors in front of the camera, using the floor plan chart.
Indicate the axises, the direction of their looks. Some consider his mise-en-scenes "too stagy" (tradition of Eisenstein). But Tarkovkosky's notorious long takes are justified by within the frame complex composition, we need time to see it.
SIGHT Oil, 36X48, canvas, 1982. Click on to see it big
My paintings on this site are the left-overs of the DEATH Page, which I moved out. I left only images from the FIVE SENSES cycle as somehow relevent to film.
Who is he? Director is the spectators' congressmen. Again, I have to send you to the theatre page, if you want to know about the theory of spectatorship. At this point we have to accept that director is the first spectator, who sees the film before it even exists. The rest is the laborous path to arrive to this space in time, when the rest of the world can see it. In my radical view everything I create is already exists, all I need to do is to see it. I base my theory on Genesis: seeing was the creation of the world.
Director is an extremely active spectator.
Acting in Film Analysis class *
Film Acting Pages: actors
2004: I do not know when I will have time to write about "acting in movies" -- here is a short list of actors I refer to in Film Analysis class.
Acting is a part of "mise-en-scene" in many textbooks (need definition).
Maybe I will put my comments to the titles and actors later. Anatoly
PS. Watch the movies on your own, we don't do in class.
There are other movies with Jack Nocholson could be recommended (use Amazon suggestions).
[ I am not mentioning European film actors here. ]
See Acting I, II, III and Film Directing pages.
[ long list @ film.vtheatre.net ]
I have no pages on individual actors. Only film directors -- Eisenstein, Tarkovsky, Bergman, Kurosawa, Fellini (Film-North).
[ updates ]
Questions: Can I study directing on my own?
2004: new Film Acting Pages *
Five new pages on Film Acting: Screen (331 Directing), Actors (Filmmaking 101), Video, Film, Camera (2004) *
2005-2006 Theatre UAF Season: Four Farces + One Funeral & Godot'06
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my books.google.com + scholar.google.com * eCitations *