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Film Script Format

Write Your Story in a Screenplay Format

Now you have your story structured and characters well developed, You need to write your story in a professional film script format. This is where all the creative work kind of stops, since professional film script format  has very strict rules, so be careful.

Now:

Many writers use  a script writing software to write in script format even if you plan to use a screenwriting software, you should go through the rules mentioned here, so you can make sure that everything is in place. It may sound complicated at the start, but, trust me, once you’ll understand the basic, it will come easily to you.

I am going to walk you through the basic format rules and if you want to deepen your knowledge on the subject, I recommend reading the book The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style.

Film Script Format’s First Page

The first page needs to have the title on about line 25, on the page center in quotes and in caps letters.

Four lines under the title should be the “Written by” (also centered) and 2-3 lines after that should be the name of the writer.

I also like to write my contact information at the bottom of the page.

Writing The Scenes

The important thing to remember is that every scene needs to start with the details of who, what, where and when. The script should be written is present tense since revealing to us on the paper as we read it, as if we are watching the film.

The Slugline

The first line that describes the scene called slugline, which is the headline of the scene. Each time your character moves from one location to another, it’s a new scene and you’ll need a new headline. The slugline reveals to us the number of the scene, is it shot inside or outside (writing as INT/EXT), the location of the scene and the time of day (day or night).

The order here is very important.

It should all be in capital letters, so it should look like this:

      12.INT.LIOR’S ROOM.NIGHT

The reason for being strict about the slugline is so the producer/cinematographer/sound man and all other crew members can go through the script quickly and get the general idea about the production.

For example, they can learn how many scenes in the film need lighting (those that are shot inside) and how many are going to use sunlight (those that are shot outside at daytime). If you’ll read the lesson about Script Breakdown, you will understand why this is very important when working on the budget

This is why many directors and producers ask for the script in a Final Draft format because it makes it easy for them to divide the scenes like that.

The Scene Description

After writing the slugline, you should write the scene description. The scene description is built from a few short sentences and should give us a clear image of what we are going to see on screen.It should be written two spaces below the slugline and between the margins.  Every scene will start with a scene description, but it can be written during the scene every time something happens that is not a dialogue.
When a character is introduced for the first time, you should write her name in capital letters and add a short description of her.

Remember! You can only write what we see. You can’t write stuff like “Leroy is sad”, you should show us he is sad. You have to remember that the audience is not going to read the script. You can sometimes use metaphors to set the mood, but be careful there.

So it what we have now will look like this:

      12.INT.LIOR’S ROOM.NIGHT

      Leroy, a fat, 40 years old man, is sitting with a small dog next to him. Leroy is           crying while looking at pictures and the dog is licking him.

Notice I didn’t write “sitting with HIS dog”. If I want the audience to understand that the dog belongs to Leroy, I need to find away show it.

Writing The Dialogues

The talking character’s name should be written 3 lines below the description and about 4 inches from the edge in capital letters. The character’s lines will be 1 line below and about 3 inches from the edge.

The whole thing should lool like this:

      12.INT.LEROY’S ROOM.NIGHT

     Leroy, a – 40 years old man, is sitting with a small dog next to him. Leroy is              crying while looking at pictures and the dog is licking him.

DOG

                                         Hey Leroy, are you OK?

LEROY

                                         No. I miss my girl

Adding action lines

Now, Leroy wants to get up in the middle of the conversation. This is how we write it:

      12.INT.LEROY’S ROOM.NIGHT

      Leroy, a – 40 years old man, is sitting with a small dog next to him. Leroy is crying while
looking at pictures and the dog is licking him.

DOG

                                         Hey Leroy, are you OK?

LEROY

                                         No. I miss my girl

DOG

                                         Why?                                                                                            

          Leroy gets up without looking at him

LEROY

                                        I don’t want to talk about it!

There are much more and if you want to get perfect in it,

You can also get Screenplay template from this link

Horror Film Music

 

Disclaimer: Some links in this Horror film music article are for scary films so this post is not recommended for young kids under the age of 16 or anyone that is scared from horror films

Writing Music for Horror Films

horror-videoeditingMusic and sound are the best ways in horror films to built suspense and to in hence the scary parts. That’s why you can see many horror films directors that have the same soundtrack composer again and again.


Many composers like to work with horror films because you can do a lot more in it. Music for horror films are usually more aggressive and there is more room for experiments. In this article, we will discuss the Horror film music.


Here is a few thing you should learn to make scary horror film music

What’s the Horror film music purpose?

The main thing you need to think about when composing the music is what is the purpose of the music in your film. Sometimes it might just be, to let us know that the killer is coming. Usually for this job, the composer will use a very minimalist music like in jaws or Friday the 13th In this case, the simplest the theme is – the better. Sometimes it can be just a repeating note that keeps returning again and again and gives us the creep like in Psycho.

“The horror in music comes from the silence”

John Carpenter

Use the movie’s theme to create the Horror film music theme

Think about what kind of feeling you want the audience to have, when they watch the scene. It will help you a lot to understand the film’s premise first. For example, in the very recommended movie, Suspiria, that deals with witches, Dario Argento, the director, said he wants the audience to feel like the witches are always in the room, even if we don’t see them. That was acclaimed perfectly in the main music theme of the film.

 Use contradiction to play with the audience head

The contradiction can also be a great tool to create scarceness. You can see that kind of style in the main themes of movies like Rosemarie’s baby, Where the movie use a lullaby song to create a very creepy atmosphere. Another good example is Nightmare in Elm Street, Where the composer uses a children’s game song to compose a very scary theme. The emotional contrast between something pure from our childhood and this nightmare we see in the movie is very powerful.

What’s the best way to play for horror films?

Every composer has its own way of making the music. You don’t have to be attached only to an orchestra. In the 80’s it was very popular to use electronic music and we always have the classic Goblin’s music in the movie Suspiria from the end of the 70’s that uses prog rock music and was one of the first horror films to use synthesizer it’s soundtrack. Some movies rather use guitars etc. It’s really up to you and the director.

Always test the horror film music

When working on horror film music, you can’t just let it play in the background.It has to contribute to the image in the scene. You have to test it in front of an audience and see how does it affect them. What emotion does the music invoke in them? Play the music to an audience without showing them the film and ask them later how did the music make them feel.

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I hope this article helped you to understand more the world of music in the horror film. If you like me writing about the genre, let me know, as I enjoy writing it.

 

Sound Design Stages

 Sound Design Stages

The Sound design process in a film is a very complex one and requires great sensitivity. The sound in a film is an important part in creating atmosphere and to transferring the film’s message.

When to start working on the sound design?

Do not work on the film’s music and sound design before you finish editing the image. Some video editors say they need music to edit the scene. This is not the right way to work. The image should stand by itself and if you feel you really need music to help you edit the film then put any music as reference only. Unless you are buying music from music library (Which I’m going to talk about soon), do not let the music to dictate your editing.

Starting the sound design process

The process begins with a meeting of the sound designer with the video editor and the director. The sound designer will watch the film and write down notes as movie style, dramatic moments, repeated themes and preferences of the film director and editor. It is necessary to find out whether there are dialogues that need dubbing or other special matters that the sound designer need to know about them. It’s also important to clarify deadlines and Questions like are there more shooting ahead? What are the film director expectations? and so on.

Recording sounds (Foley)

The sounds in your film, that weren’t recorded in the set will be recorded by the sound designer and they are called Foley (after James foley who invented the technique). They are added later on to the film. These sounds need to sound realistic and interesting. Today the foley artist has a big part in making the cinematic experience a big one. The sound designer will show the film to the Foley guy (or girl) and explain it’s concept to him. The Foley guy should take his notes and translate them into sound recordings.

Here is a shrt clip, that will let you get the hang of how it’s done

The Secret World of Foley from Short of the Week on Vimeo.

 

The film’s music

Mostly in low-budget- movies the sound designer is also responsible for the music (the truth is that when we talk about low-budget films, there is a good chance that he will be even the same person who wrote the screenplay)
There are several ways to produce music:
First of all, you can go and ask the orchestra to record it for you. This, of course, will cost a lot of money and is not recommended. In today’s age people can record a full orchestra in their own room through a computer software. There are a lot of musicians who have their own bank of music.They sell you packages of pre-recorded melodies and all you have to do is come and choose what you like.

Today, there are many sites that offer you music for sale. Here are 3 examples:

.de wolfe music

opus1 music library

film and tv music library

When image editing is complete, you can send it to the musician and he will suit the music to what is happening in the scene. If you are using music from a music bank you may need to make some repairs in it.If it’s a problem to do that then you need to make sure that the film is edited by the music bits.

Don’t let the video editor do the sound design

There can also be in a situation where video editor become also the sound effects designer. That is the one who finds sounds libraries. Anyway, never agree to let your video editor become the sound designer, no matter how low is the budget. Actually, the more low-budget the film is, the more your crew won’t be the most professional crew and you’ll need a professional sound designer to fix a lot of problems.

Introduction to Script Writing Course

First Rules On Screen Writing

writing a screenplay can sound frightening to some. There are rules, structure, formatting and many more elements that make film students scared to their bones. The good news is that writing a screenplay is not as hard as it sounds. In this blog, I’m going to give you tips and insights into writing a great script that will be sell.

If you want to learn the rules and the right format there are many sites and online courses that can help you. Today there are many script writing software, like the very recommended, Final Draft 9, that can guide you about format and structure while you write your script.

Now, here is something you probably won’t hear in film school:

The problem with learning script writing is that when you are trying to do something artistic, too many rules can back you down. The rules I will talk about here should be taken seriously only when you are working on the second or third draft of the script. The process of first draft writing should be flowing and fun. For a start just tell your story. If you think too much about the rules, when you write the first draft, you may get a script that has “correct grammar”, but really boring.

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“I could be just a writer very easily. I am not a writer. I am a screenwriter, which is half a filmmaker. … But it is not an art form because screenplays are not works of art. They are invitations to others to collaborate on a work of art.”

Paul Schrader

The first step of becoming a writer

The first script writing lesson I can give you now is to write at every opportunity you get. If it’s possible to find a job that has something to do with writing, it can be excellent as well. The articles here are going to focus on finding your unique inner voice and learning how to let it out originally.

So until next time, just keep on writing!

 

Documentary Filmmaking – Introduction

Documentary Filmmaking – Important Key Points

In this article, I will go through some very important key point of documentary filmmaking. I’m going to start with an important discussion that should be the beginning of every documentary filmmaking course and I’m also going to write some tips to get you started. I’m also going to talk about finding an original idea for your film and the types of documentary films out there. In the next lessons, I will talk about the basics of non-fiction storytelling, The art of the interview, The history of documentary filmmaking and much more.

So let’s study documentary filmmaking

What is a documentary film?

The definition of documentary film is kind of a controversial one. Some say that the documentary filmmaking purpose is to document the reality and some would say that the role of the documentary is to interpret reality.
So who is right?
The truth is that there is no such thing as an objective film. The only responsibilities we can be fixed to a documentary filmmaker is to be fair to its object (some would argue even that). That is to let the subject that you document a chance to express itself and to be treated with respect.

Quick tip:
Many film schools will tell you that an honest documentary filmmaker
needs to show all the sides of the subjects. That makes sense, but be careful! Most subjects are not simple as black and white and there is a lot of grey. You need to find the grey area that has the blackest colors and the most white colors, but don’t attempt to give everyone sides. Sometimes there are just too many

The movie “Roger and Me” by Michael Moore is a good example for documentary filmmaking. Michael Moore is a documentary filmmaker that keeps challenging the objectivity of documentary film.
He himself claims that what he shows in his films is real, but admits that the voice overs are his personal interpretation of the facts.
Look:
The truth is that if he would just show the facts, it wouldn’t be interesting. The reality is not so interesting. Not enough to just copy it without making a commentary.

Now:
it’s important that you’ll understand that directors that are less provocative than Michael Moore also gives interpretations from their perspective to the facts that they’re taking about. That’s why most of the documentaries are made with the director’s narration.

I don’t really believe that documentary is objective reality and fiction is all illusion.                          
Mike Mills    

What am I trying to tell you?
A documentary film can not show an objective world. When you frame a certain reality into the shot, you’ve set your point of view on the object. How is that different from staging a scene in fictions? Once you’ve decided what goes into the frame and what’s not, this is your point of view. How can you objectively decide when to turn on and off the camera?

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Be fair to your subject – but also with your film

Some may say that if the photographed object is OK with you shooting him in certain situations, then the decisions about what’s getting in the film and what does not are yours alone. There are those who feel that the director should discuss with his object about what can and can not enter the film. I don’t believe in that.
But here is the kicker:
You are not your object parent! What is important is that the film will turn out good.
Eventually, you’ll have to trust your instincts. You shouldn’t be lying about your subject to make the movie more interesting, but if your subject of the film wants to be part of the decision process of the film, that might lead to trouble.

Find an original subject for your film

To find a good story for a documentary film, in my opinion,  is more difficult compared to finding one for a fiction film. Of course, there are repeating themes (especially if you are in film school): your grandmother who raised you as if you were her child, this guy that has to deal with cancer or other terminal illness, In Israel we have lots of films about the Palestinian and Jewish problem. The problem with those issues (important as they are) is that they all been done too many times. So if you’ve been going to film about those issues, you better find a way to make it breathtaking and original. For example the film “Freeheld”, that deals with cancer, but in an original and interesting way. It tells the story of a woman dying of cancer who wants to leave all she has to her spouse, Stacey. She encounters difficulties because they are not husband and wife and together they fight for what’s right according to their point of view.

You know, the process of making a documentary is one of discovery, and like writing a story, you follow a lead and that leads you to something else and then by the time you finish, the story is nothing like you expect                            
William Shatner

Most documentaries are about the present or past, but there are no strict rules. There are films like The War Games, which is highly recommended documentary for fans of the genre, from 1965, that describe a possible future: The Film takes all the terrible facts of the second World War and uses them to describe a nuclear war on London in the future. Whatever time period you’ll choose to talk about, it always has to revolve around something that happens in life.

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How to review a documentary film

Another important point to talk about it in the context of Documentary Films is how do you criticize a documentary It’s hard to say stuff like the subject is not interesting.
I think that when reviewing the documentary, you do not judge the issue but how the director introduced the topic. It is very important that the director will investigate and show the character he chose to shoot and even more important, why he chose them.

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So what can you learn from it about making a documentary?
When you write your documentary or treatment for one, ask yourself over and over, Why did I choose this project? What can I bring to this issue? And what I can do here that we have not seen yet?

I hope you enjoyed this post and let me know if you have anymore questions or ideas for lessons

 

 

Basic camera technique & movements in film

 

The camera angles in a film are one of the most important rules you need to know about filmmaking. Whatever field you’ll take on the film and television industry, whether it’s producing, directing, acting, scriptwriting, etc. It is important for every filmmaker to learn the technical terms of any type of shot.

Why is it so important?
First of all, it will help you to develop your camera techniques. But more importantly:
this is the way all the film casts communicate. It will save you a lot of time (and embarrassments) to know them.

 “There is only you and your
camera.
The limitations in your
Photography in your self, for
what we see what we are.”                                                                                                  Ernes Hass

The Important rules you must know:

180-degree rule

This is a rule you will hear lots of your crew member talk about in a film production.
Here’s the deal:
The rule helps you not to mess up the direction of characters in the film while they are relating to each other. For example, if you have a scene with two characters talking to each other, not following this rule, might make them look like they are talking to themselves.

So what’s is the 180 rule?

The 180-degree rule is an imaginary line that connects between the two (or more) characters in the scene. The camera has to stay on the same side of the line during the whole scene. Crossing the line will mess up the direction the characters are looking at.

Click here to watch illustrates of the 180 rule

30-degree rule

To make your video editor’s life easier, your camera angle should move at least 30 degrees between each shot of the same subject being shot. For example, if you are shooting a car and you want to shoot it from a different angle,you should make sure your next camera angle will move for at least 30 degrees from the previous shot,
otherwise a “Jump Cut” will appear.
A jump cut is when two shots don’t attach together smoothly.

Click here to watch illustrates of the 30 rule

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Use Camera movements to built emotion

There are some camera movements that can make the atmosphere in the film a lot stronger. The camera movement is very important to set the emotion of the scene and it something you’ll have to practice a lot. A bad camera movement can really ruin the scene atmosphere. You have to be careful not to use them too much as many beginner directors tend to do, as it might make the audience lose focus. Use them only when it’s necessary to the scene. Remember! a good camera work doesn’t call attention from the audience.

If you decide to go on camera movement, I would recommend shooting the same shot in static camera, just to be safe. Sometimes a movement shot will look great in your head, but in the editing room, it won’t feet and then you’ll be lucky to have the static take too.

As an exercise, I would advise you to shoot a scene with all the movements I’m going to introduce you now and then shoot the same scene again with static cameras and see what kind of scene you are getting each time.

Zooming In

It is a process in which the cameraman changes the lens length from long
(Wide Angle) to close-up. This movement tells the viewer that what is happening now is important. Usually, we use it when the character becomes emotional or to highlight what is being said.

 Zooming Out

Same as Zoom In but inverted

Pan Left \ Right

While the camera is sitting on a tripod, we set in motion its lens to the left or right. It means that the camera is scanning the scene horizontally. If you’ll nod your he’d left and right, you will see how pan left and pan right looks like. If the director wants to see more of the right, he will ask the cameraman to Pan Right. These movements often are done relatively slowly unless doing what is called:
“Swish Pan” which is a very fast pan that creates a blurred background. This camera movement also very good to immolate point of view

Tilt Up, Down

While the camera is stable on a tripod, move the lens up or down, so the camera is scaring the scene vertically.  If you’ll nod your head up and down, you will see how tilt up and down looks like. If the director wants to see more of below the frame, he will tell the cameraman to tilt down.
Usually, we use it to show the size and power of a person or an object in relation to the viewer, So the viewer feels as if he is looking up. The same thing when you want to emphasize the lack of power Tilt down will show the bottom part of a photographed object.This camera movement also very good to immolate point of view

Here is a scene from one of the funniest films I know- the movie Top Secret – from the masters of parody- Jim Abrahams and David and Jerry Zucker– to show you a small Til up

Click here for an  illustrate that describe it the best

Enhance your camera movements

The movement we saw up to now are very simple, but there is a way to make them look much more powerful. The Dolly is kind of a cart that you put on tracks and put the camera on it and it creates smooth motion. It makes the viewer less passive while watching and feel more active.

Dolly In/Out

Also known as” Dolly Zoom”. Dolly in means to get closer to the object and Dolly Out means to get away from it. It is quite similar to Zoom In and Out, but there is a big difference:
On a Dolly shot the ratio of the photographed object and its environment will remain similar, so the visual effect will be a lot stronger in the “Dolly shot”. The way to do this is by pulling
the camera backward or pushing it forward while pulling the zoom on the lens to the opposite direction. It will always look better then zoom in because zoom in calls for more attention from the audience, while the dolly in is more subtle.

Track Left/Right

is byTry them both and see the difference. t

Move the camera on the dolly to the right or the left. This kind of movements is good to create at the viewer a feeling of more activeness.

 

Make your movement look professional

It is very important that your camera movements will be smooth and substantial to the story, otherwise, they will attract too much attention and it will interrupt the viewer to Be “sucked” into the atmosphere of the film. The viewer might be too aware of the fact that he is watching a movie, and once that happens, you lose him.

Therefore, it is very important to practice as much as possible on these camera movements.

Your home work for today is to start paying attention to the camera angels and movement in the films and tv shows you are watching. Try also to take it a step forward and understand what are the emotion the director is trying to set with these angels.

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