Filmmaking is for Warriors: CineBeauty

 

walter20mitty2004

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The eye of the camera is a window into the filmmaker’s soul.

Seriously.

Think of it this way, Peter Jackson took on the awesome beast that is LOTR and he created images like this;

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What you’re seeing is Mr. Jackson’s soul, as it experienced Lord of the Rings. He saw the mountains like his home of New Zealand, the Orcs like creatures brewed in the ground mixed with the warrior prowess of the Maori, and the captivating beauty of the land of the elves like the hidden paradises around which he grew up.

But he didn’t just envision the look of these things, he envisioned how the audience would see these things. Take the following for example:

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Boromir is currently the coward in this scene. He gets a basic CU (close-up), which is traditionally from the mid-chest to the top of the head. Legolas on the other hand is defending his honor, showing that he is honorable and the one to pay attention to of the pair. He gets a closer CU.

He probably also gets that because someone thought he was prettier. Well, he was cast as the Elf.

Do you see how Mr. Jackson is showing you his soul? He shot The Fellowship of the Ring in a specific way so that you would feel the same way he feels about everyone and everything on screen.

But he didn’t just do it in a basic, boring, lets-cover-all-the-angles way. He created something gorgeous. CineBeauty – the act of using a video camera to create something beautiful.

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Even hideous, creepy, evil things are somehow beautiful as seen through the eyes of filmmakers like Jackson.

There are so many things in the cinematography of the Fellowship of the Ring that are beautiful. And I haven’t even seen it in years. We could talk about the use of lighting to convey good vs. evil. We could talk about hero shots and sweeping angles and maximizing tension and showing the connectedness of a team…but this is just a post scratching the surface of beauty and the soul of the filmmaker.

What is CineBeauty to you? What other movies and filmmakers create gorgeous visuals to tell their stories? Go watch a movie and find out.

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Lucasfilm

I went looking for articles about Lucasfilm and the buy-out by Disney.  I wanted to research enough to present an accurate opinion in the post.

Instead, I found a post by Bret D. Asbury, and he said a lot of really good things.  I don’t agree with everything, of course.  Below is a quote from his article.  I found that he approached the subject of new Star Wars movies in the most open-minded, yet fan conscious way I have heard so far.

“I do not mean to suggest that Episodes I-III are cinematic masterpieces, any more so than Episodes IV-VI are. I only wish to point out that the prequels also have their moments of excellence. It follows that the sharp distinction between the original trilogy (wonderful) and the second trilogy (rubbish) is unwarranted—both are flawed, yet for long stretches remarkably entertaining space operas. Today’s kids seem to understand this better than their parents, who are often so concerned with protecting the legacy of their beloved films that they can’t appreciate the new ones. My son and his friends embrace Mace Windu as much as Luke Skywalker and are just as scared of Darth Maul as they are of Darth Vader. To them, Star Wars is a captivating, six-film succession, each episode replete with a healthy dose of quirky characters, action, and mystery.”

(Find the rest of his article here: By Bret D. Asbury)

I grew up with the Star Wars movies.  When the new ones came out I was still a kid.  All my opinions of them were jaded by my older siblings and my dad.  I believed that “Ani” Skywalker was a bad actor because everyone else said he was.

Then I learned to screenwrite.

Have you ever listened to the dialog in the Star Wars movies, regardless of who’s speaking or the episode number?  Have you ever seen Hayden Christensen in another movie besides Star Wars?  What about Mark Hamill?

Then how do you know that these guys are bad actors?  Mark Hamill got in a terrible car accident between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.  His face was a bit disfigured.  I mean, they stopped promoting him as the pretty boy in that movie, or didn’t you notice?

Sometimes when we grow up with things we love them like newlyweds.

I suggest you re-watch the Star Wars films.  Watch them like a screenwriter.  You’ll see the bad dialog, plot holes and inconsistencies.  You’ll see the mistakes and 70s weirdness.

Or don’t.

I mean, we all love things unreasonably, don’t we?  Don’t worry, I still love Ferngully, Jurassic ParkLord of the Rings, and the Spiderman cartoon.  And I will defend them forever.

(Here’s a link to interesting Star Wars info: 100 Things You Didn’t Know About The Empire Strikes Back)

Nerds Are Cool

I’m in the process of developing a webseries.  It’s a comedy about a group of friends who decide to break social norms by doing crazy things in public.  It’s called, Things We Do In Public.

These are self-proclaimed nerds, of course.

A moment ago I searched Youtube for The Lord of the Rings soundtrack, for a completely different reason.  The ad that popped up beside it and on it was for a geek dating website.  Now why am I considered a geek if I look up The Lord of the Rings?  I might just like epic music.  Or maybe I’m researching influential American authors.  Or maybe I need background music for a sword fight I’m choreographing for a kids’ drama class.

It’s one of those reasons anyway.

Google says geek means,

  1. An unfashionable or socially inept person.
  2. A person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest: “a computer geek”.

Suddenly because I like LOTR I am socially inept and/or eccentric.  Now, I know that the second one may be true.  I am a film/theater lover.  But I always think of myself as a nerd, not a geek.

Google says nerd means,

  1. A foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious: “one of those nerds who never asked a girl to dance”.
  2. An intelligent, single-minded expert in a particular technical discipline or profession.

Wow, maybe I don’t want people saying I’m a nerd.  I like this definition by author John Green much better:

 

This is the kind of people who will live in my webseries.  These are real people.  The google definition is just a reflection of insecure highschoolers who needed a category for all the people who made it through chemistry on the first try.  With an A.

Youtube, I resent your ad choices.  I’m not a geek/nerd.  Am I?  But maybe I don’t resent you.  Maybe I should be flattered that you think I’m the kind of person who recognizes the “miracle of human consciousness.”

I’m definitely the kind of person who choreographs sword fights.