Cinema Tog Rap Thy for Screenwritters

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Cinematography for Screenwriters Screenwriting students are often told to think visually. This is good advice. But it might be even more correct to say, Think cinema. Modern practice calls for specific camera angles and shots to be left largely up to the director. Directors (and therefore producers) do not want scripts filled with camera shots specified. Only if it is important to understanding the action should a camera shot be put in a script. However, this does not mean that a screenwriter
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  1 Cinematography for Screenwriters   Screenwriting students are often told to think visually. This is good advice. But it mightbe even more correct to say, Think cinema. Modern practice calls for specific cameraangles and shots to be left largely up to the director. Directors (and therefore producers)do not want scripts filled with camera shots specified. Only if it is important tounderstanding the action should a camera shot be put in a script. However, this does notmean that a screenwriter should not understand something aboutcinematography.Screenplays are often described as blueprints for films. Imagine anarchitect trying to draw a blueprint for a building without knowing anything aboutthe materials it was to be constructed from. To effectively design a script, a screenwritershould know something about cinematography and editing. Only then can he writeknowledgeably for the medium. Film Is Shot By Shot Storytelling A film is composed of many shots. For the cinematographer and editor, the job is topick the right shots which will, at any given moment, best convey the story clearly to theaudience as well as heightening the impact of the action and characters. In choosing anyparticular shot, there are two factors to consider: the type of shot in terms of the area tobe shown and the angle or viewpoint of the shot. In a script, the screenwriter will veryoccasionally have to specify both of these to make clear his vision. But he should do thisonly when absolutely necessary for the simple reason that directors tend to ignore cameracues in a script and think the writer is trying to do their job for them. However, asmentioned previously, the writer can write his scene descriptions in such a way as tosuggest the cinematographic treatment of his action. And doing this will help the readerbetter visualize the film. So thinking visually is only part of a screenwriter's skill. Hemust also be able to think cinemagraphically. Create PDFfiles without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)  2This condenses action down to a shot by shot telling of the story. When you visualize theaction, consider how the camera can show this action. And then write your scenedescriptions so they capture the flavor of this. Learn to think cinemagraphically invisualizing your scenes. Take a look at the scene description   previously mentioned fromDoctor Zhivago:  INT. CATTLE CAR -- NIGHTThe red-hot stove in the cattle car sheds a cheerfulglow on the filthy straw which is trampled and sticky,strewn with garbage. In the straw lie sleepingfigures, fully clothed under ragged blankets and coats;hairy faces, mouths agape; men, women and childrenmixed promiscuously. The scene gives the illusion of asort of basic comfort; we feel at any rate thepassengers must be warm enough. Filthy cookingutensils swing and slop in the movement of the train.    This scene description suggests many different shots.    A long shot of the whole car.    Close- up shots on cooking utensils and on the faces of the sleepingpassengers.    No shot is specified.    Yet we get a feel for how this scene could be shot.    The vivid images that The director might capture are clearly conveyed to thereader. Create PDFfiles without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)  3 Types Of Shots By Area   Where a camera is placed in filming the action and the characters determines the amountof area shown to the viewer as well as the image size. Types of shots are first specified bywhere the camera is placed. An EXTREME LONG SHOT (ELS): Captures a very large area from a great distance. It is used to establish alocale,especially when the view is grand and impressive. A city skyline and thepanoramic desert and mountain scenes in westerns are frequently used examples of theExtreme Long Shot. They are often used in opening shots of a film to help captureaudience interest and to establish the setting of the story. They are also used as atransition to a different part of the story. The LONG SHOT (LS): Orients the audience to the general scene of action and reestablishes the sceneof action after a number of Medium and Close Shots. It might take in the entirety of aroom, the outside of a house, someone walking down a street. Usually when action isoccurring inside a building, a quick establishing Long Shot of the exterior of the buildinghelps to orient the viewer to where the action is taking place. The MEDIUM SHOT (MED SHOT or MS): Usually shows characters from just below the waist or just above the knees. Two orthree characters are sometimes filmed together in a Medium Shot. These are alsosometimes called a Two-Shot (with two characters) or a Three-Shot (with threecharacters). Arrangement of characters and lighting of a Medium Shot can make onecharacter more predominant than the others. Create PDFfiles without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)  4For instance, if one character is angled so he is facing the camera more than the othercharacter (who is more in profile), the one angled more toward the camera will dominatethe scene. So while there many be two or three characters, the audience's attention can besubtly focused on one of them as the center of interest. In filming conversations, thedirector and editor can cut back and forth between two Medium Shots, each one favoringthe character who is talking at the moment. The CLOSE-UP (CU) or CLOSE SHOT:  Selects a small portion of the action in a scene and shows it full-screen size. It cancapture a small scale action such as loading a gun. And it can capture facial expressions,giving more impact to the actors. Close-Up shots are actually broken down further. A MEDIUM CLOSE-UP: Will show a character from about midway between the waist and shoulders to abovethe head. A HEAD AND SHOULDER CLOSE-UP: Covers from just below the shoulders to above the head. A HEAD CLOSE-UP: Shows just a persons neck and head. A CHOKER CLOSE-UP:  Shows just below the lips to above the eyes, but not the whole head. An EXTREME CLOSE-UP: Shows small objects or sections of objects in great detail. A bullet being put in a gunmight be shown as an Extreme Close-Up. The viewer would not see all of the gun. Alsofocusing on a single feature of a person such as his eyes or lips would be an ExtremeClose-Up. Create PDFfiles without this message by purchasing novaPDF printer (http://www.novapdf.com)
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