Filmmaking Week 5

What is Theme?
Write Your Story

Time to settle on one idea (ideally one of the three you pitched in class) and expand it into a full story.

*At this stage, you are not writing this in screenplay format, yet*

Write in prose form, with two additional requirements:

#1: Do your best to only write what we would see on the screen. In other words, no lengthy backstory descriptions, and no explanations of what is happening in a character’s mind. Describe the people, scenery, dialog, and actions. Develop the plot through scenes as they progress from one to the next. Each scene should reveal the next part of the story and provide new information to the reader/viewer. (If you’re having trouble with this style of writing, imagine that you are playing a movie on mute, and describing what is happening out loud to someone who can’t see the film.)

My Story: A giant grow-man sized 12-year old bulldozes his way through middle school in search of maturity, self-control and belonging at an independent school. The Theme is the chaos of being bigger than everyone in middle school, including the teachers. The short is set in 2023 on a suburban campus and takes place over the course of one school day.

A little flood of little kids get off a school bus before and after Tommy.

Tommy wades through a sea of middle school kids in the lobby of Lewis to check in and surrender his cellphone.

Tommy is sitting in a classroom sharing a desk with a kid 1/2 his size. His head is bent low to hers as they work out on a project together.

Tommy stands in the lunch line surrounded by kids who are two heads shorter than he is.

Tommy runs around on a field of grass knocking smaller kids out of his way to get to a soccer ball.

Tommy stands in the hall looking down at a teacher who is yelling at him for knocking a kid over. The kid is behind the teacher pointing and laughing.

Tommy stands at the white board with 4 other kids working on a math problem. The tallest other kid at the board comes to his arm pit.

Tommy is on the basketball court playing in a scrimmage. He gets passed the ball, drives to the basketball and shoots with two defenders hanging off his body trying to stop him. He runs over another defender in the lane.

Tommy and two friends sit on the wall outside of Bradley, drink Peace teas and wait for the bus.

Best Picture Debate

Each member of the class will be assigned one of the Best Picture nominees (draw from a hat first, then trade with someone if you’d like).

Prepare a convincing (and, if you wish, entertaining) statement you will present in class on Monday about why you think your film should win Best Picture. Statements should be 2-3 minutes long. You do not need to have watched the film, but you should at least watch the trailer and do some reading about your film. We will likely watch the trailers in class on Monday.

MY Answer:

How do we measure what the “best” picture is? Best at what? Quality is subjective. If we just stick to objective measurements, the winner would just be the highest-grossing movie every year. This year Avatar: The Way of Water would win hands down: $2.2 billion and counting. Most of the other best picture nominees have been box-office flops.

James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water, a sequel to 2009’s Avatar, should win multiple Oscar even using subjective grading. Thirteen years after Avatar, The Way of Water is nominated in four categories, Best Picture, Best Sound, Best Visual Effects, and Best Production Design (formerly known as Best Art Direction). The Way of Water continued the story of the Sully family and pitted them against an old enemy in new Avatar.

Cameron crafted exciting action and stunning and imaginative visuals and venture into conceptualizing and creating an entirely new alien world with its own flora, fauna, ecology, atmosphere, and so on. Everything was rendered in mind-boggling life-like detail with bright colors and an authentic yet fantasy-like feel. Everything is gorgeous in a cinematic, dynamic way. Cameron build an exciting narrative around action set pieces.

The computer-generated imagery, the motion capture, the 3D, the textures and physics of creatures and objects moving in space, and underwater are state-of-the-art digital film-making perfection; all of Avatar’s fantastical creatures and cultures were designed and rendered from scratch.(Speaking of which, why doesn’t this movie qualify in the “best animated feature” category?)

New creatures in the film include over-friendly whale-like mammals called tulkun, and naturally, there are whalers extracting from their blubber the Pandora equivalent of whale oil, Amrita. Similar to the nectar in Hindu mythology that is supposed to make its consumer immortal, Amrita stops aging.

The Way of Water hammered home the point that we should protect our oceans. Cameron is genuinely trying to save the world. For me, that makes it the Best Picture.

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