The Language of Film - Notes

Effective storytelling is answering the 6 main questions (who, what, when, when, where, why, and how) in equal parts. If one part goes on for too long it makes the story feel dragged out, which quickly gets boring and uninteresting.

I didn't realize the power of a close-up shot! It's an intimate view of someone's face, an area that a stranger would never be in, which is why people feel like they really know someone in a film or on tv. The close-up shots give a really realistic and personal experience of a character.

Even in documentaries, establishing where interviews or events are taking place is important. Show brief shots of the room or area or get a wide shot of the space.

Different shots answer different questions:

Who? - Close Up

What? - Medium Shot

Where - Long Shot or Wide Shot

When - Extreme Long Shot (it can show subject moving in such a vast space that there is a sense of how much time it will take) or CUs of particular objects

Why - Extreme Close Up, Close Up of objects (very internal, uses suggestive shots and editing techniques)

How - Medium Close Up, Close Up or Extreme Close Up of particular actions

2-Shot is important. Whenever you have a scenario with multiple subjects, their relative proximity, posture, and the power dynamic between them is an essential story element.

Every shot must provide new info - The only reason you should cut at all is when moving the story forward requires information not present in the current shot.

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© Ciara Cruder  2020