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Study Guide

by: Nicholas Spriggs

Study Guide Com 316

Nicholas Spriggs
Elon University

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About this Document

The following study guide covers the last 5 weeks of class. I chose to focus on the lessons most likely to appear on the midterm this Tuesday.
Writing for TV and Cinema
Youssef Osman
Study Guide
premise, Loglines, Subtext, Sequences
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This 5 page Study Guide was uploaded by Nicholas Spriggs on Friday October 7, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to Com 316 at Elon University taught by Youssef Osman in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 7 views. For similar materials see Writing for TV and Cinema in Communications at Elon University.

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Date Created: 10/07/16
Study Guide I’ve compiled the most important lessons of our class into the following notes. While it may be helpful to look over previous notes, I’m fairly confident that the following can effectively prepare for the midterm. However, I would recommend looking over Osmun’s personal notes on the sequence breakdown if you find my explanation insufficient. Chapter 1 and 2 Basic Grammar of Cinema A shot is the smallest unit of film. It is composed of 24 frames per second When put together a group of shots produce a scene. Any change in location or time is a new scene. A sequence is a series of scenes An act is a series of sequences There are three acts to a film Act 1: Set up Act 2: Conflict Act 3: Resolution A subplot is a side story meant to support the main story and give the audience some variety so they don’t get bored with film Sequence Breakdown Sequence A: Usually contains the Inciting Incident which is the action that starts the story and pushes the protagonist into an unfamiliar situation Sequence B: Introduces the Page 17 Mistake which is an action that will come back to haunt the protagonist some time in the next 15 minutes st Sequence C: 1 False Epiphany, which is a moment when the protagonist thinks he’s safe and secure only for that same security to be ripped away as quickly as it was introduced. Sequence D: Midpoint this is the middle of a film and the moment when the protagonist officially goes from passive to active. Sequence E: (Varies) Sequence F: 2 ndFalse Epiphany The second time the protagonist thinks they’re safe only for their hopes to be crushed. This false epiphany is usually more brutal than the first and serves to push the film towards its conclusion. Sequence G: Big Gloom The protagonist darkest moment. In many cases this is around the film’s climax. Sequence H: Resolution self-explanatory A premise is the purpose behind a story. It explains what a story means not just what its about. For Example: Animal Farm is about animals overthrowing their owners, but its premise is about how socialism leads to corruption and inequality rather than eliminating it. Components of a premise 1. Central Theme 2. Action (Conflict) 3. Fulfillment of the idea or value There are three types of emotions filmmakers must exploit in cinematic storytelling: 1. Voyeuristic: emotions relating to the audience’s curiosity about new worlds or information 2. Vicarious: the audience’s desire for escapism 3. Visceral: the audience’s desire to feel something A logline tells the reader who must do what in order to prevent what from happening Short Films vs Feature Films There are 3 main differences 1) Unity. Most short films take place in one location and consist of a single story 2) Character. The character arcs in short films are much more simple and usually consist of no more than three distinctive traits 3) Endings. The endings are much more intense and memorable Chapter 3 There are three main dimensions to character: 1. Physical: This refers to their appearance and how it affects the way a character’s personality and circumstance 2. Social Status: Consider the characters role in society. How does it influence the way he sees himself. Is he trying to escape his status? 3. Psychological: How does their psychology affect other characters? How does it affect their decision-making. Remember characters are allowed to evolve. The best ones evolve a lot. BUT you need to make sure their character is consistent. Guidelines for a good character -They must be active -The must have a well-defined problem -The character MUST be the one to solve their problem A good rule of thumb to remember is that the problem needs to be huge. So make the antagonist great. 4 Basic Archetypes Hero: The first archetype is the hero. Typically they are presented as being to superior to the audience, however, this is not always the case at the start of the movie. The key thing to remember is that you DON’T identify with them you FANTASIZE about being them. Average Joe The second archetype is the average Joe. This character is extremely relatable, you’re meant to empathize with him/her. Underdog The third archetype is the underdog. This is a character that the audience can’t help but sympathize with. They're constantly fighting an uphill battle. Film’s centered on Underdogs typically involve them overcoming extreme odds or struggling to fit into normal society. Lost Soul This is a character that the audience has never encountered before. Lost Souls are defined by their unique personalities and their inability to fit into normal society. Unlike the underdog this character isn’t specifically motivated by acceptance. Of the 4 archetypes Lost Souls face the most internal conflict. Chapter 5 (Chapter 4 won’t be tested) There are Three Basic Types of Transitions: Cuts (Standard method of going from one shot to another) Dissolves (often used for a passing of time) Fade Ins/Outs (Signals the beginning of a segment or sequence) Scene Construction Start with the whole movie, then go to sequences, then go to Scenes A scene should: 1) Advance the story 2) Increase dramatic tension 3) Tell the audience something about the characters Subtext: Illuminates a characters thoughts and feelings without having them actually say what they feel or think. Subtext makes he dialogue “interesting”, it engages the audience and gives them something to think about and participate in 4 reasons why subtext is important -Its the way we talk when something emotional is at stake -It actively engages the audience -Using subtext separates professional writers from amateurs -Using subtext to create “smart” dialogue is crucial to attracting talent Scene beats -Directors can clarify the arc of a scene by breaking it down into smaller pieces -These smaller pieces are called “scene beats” -The strongest scene beats are shifts in emotion…for the characters and for the audience


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