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Raising expectations


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#1 flashman

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 09:35 AM

Hello all,

I am hoping you can help us ...

I have recently been working with Ian Warwick, Director of London Gifted and Talented (www.londongt.org), and a very enthusiastic exponent of using Moviestorm as a creative cross-curricular educational tool.

As part of our business strategy to get Moviestorm used more within schools, we are currently creating a resource for secondary school students, to explore the skills and techniques used by writers. Ian has seen some of the movies created by our community, and we believe that your work could really make a difference to the success of this project.

The first skills we are focusing on have to do with how writers manipulate and steer audiences through techniques that set the tone, voice, intrigue etc. The list below are obviously ways that that writers use to draw their audiences over the first threshold from real world into text, and we are looking for examples from films that demonstrate any of those skills in action. The list give examples from commercial films, and we would like to illustrate the techniques using your Moviestorm films. Each of the techniques can be looked at in terms of their suitability, memorability, originality and creativity...

Title sequence - What makes the title sequence effective? Is it quirky? Does it have great graphics? How does it introduce the ideas or characters or themes? What questions does it raise? How does the film aim to achieve either suitability for the following film, or memorability? Examples include run lola run; catch me if you can; to kill a mockingbird; the truman show

Title - Is the title intriguing? Does it evoke a mood or an idea of what the film will address? What will the title add, or how will it help frame the film or the expectations of the audience? Is the impact surprising, interesting, unusual or simply crazy? Examples include one flew over the cuckoo's nest (Ken Casey's title); eternal sunshine of the spotless mind (a line from a Pope poem); the men who stare at goats (from the book title); bladerunner; swimming with sharks; the curious case of benjamin button; the grifters; till human voices wake us (from the TS Eliot poem); how to lose friends & alienate people (a smart parody of a self help book).

Taglines - Is the tagline clever, playful, humorous or ironic. Is the tagline surprising, disarming, or uncommon – revealing a unique or unusual attitude or point of view? Does the tagline demonstrate an ability to influence popular culture and language? How well does the tagline capture the central theme, appeal, or essence of the film? Examples include Houston, we have a problem. Apollo 13; They’re back. Poltergeist II; The true story of a real fake. Catch Me If You Can; Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. Jaws 2; The list is life. Schindler’s List; Earth. It was fun while it lasted. Armageddon; The coast is toast. Volcano

Trailers - What elements of the trailer suggest how the producers see their audience and the genre of the film? How does the trailer let the audience know what to expect without giving it all away? What questions are raised by the trailer that will need answering by watching the film? What differences are there between trailers aimed at different countries and why? Examples include the wave; sherlock holmes; the boy in the striped pyjamas; amelie

Prologue - Why would a prologue be used? How else can backstory be shown? Why do some prologues give away the ending and how does this impact on why an audience may want to continue watching? How are causality (whodunnit) and temporality (what next?) impacted by the use of prologue? Examples include the hudsucker proxy; up; citizen kane; 2001 a space odyssey; layer cake

Opening sequence - How do the first few minutes of a film impact on what the audience will expect the story to be about? What conventions are working to establish intended or likely consequences? How is editing a crucial element in setting up pace? what questions are raised and how are the answers delayed? Examples include drive; amelie; joyeux noel; great expectations; Fargo; a matter of life and death; the shining; funny games; jaws

Mise-en scene - How is the tone of a film set up? What techniques are used to establish the composition, sets, props, costumes, sounds, and lighting? How do the various elements of design help to express a film’s vision? How is a sense of time and space, as well as setting a mood or character’s state of mind explored effectively? Examples include the cabinet of dr. caligari; grand illusion; travelling players; perfume; minority report; bladerunner

As filmmakers, could you please help by pointing us to examples of your films, or the films of other Moviestorm users, that you believe would be suitable reference materials for the students?

Please feel free to contact me directly if you prefer - andrewkennedy@moviestorm.co.uk

Many thanks in advance
Andrew
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#2 primaveranz

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 09:48 AM

This sounds like a job for Aroundworld wink.gif

"If we only use 1/3 of our brain, what's the other 1/3 for?"


#3 lucindamc123

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 08:21 PM

That kind of technique doesn't influence my movie viewing at all. I read a lot so if a movie is made from a book I have read, I will go see it. One of the reasons I started making movies is because TV and movies were becoming boring to me, so I did this to entertain myself.

I did really like Iron Man Three, even though I know a lot of people who didn't like it. It was very entertaining.

#4 flashman

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 06:04 AM

QUOTE (lucindamc123 @ May 29 2013, 8:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
That kind of technique doesn't influence my movie viewing at all. I read a lot so if a movie is made from a book I have read, I will go see it.

This is not about film versions of books, it is about comparable techniques that writers and filmmakers use to raise expectations, and referencing movies made by our users that employ some of the techniques.
Andrew Kennedy
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#5 kkffoo

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 07:17 AM

Andrew, I think the task you've set here is too complicated and overwhelming.

Two degrees of difficulty..
1)interpreting what is meant by the course material without doing the course
2)remembering all the movies I've watched in enough detail to fulfil the brief, or spending a lot of time searching through to find examples

What about a list of moviestorm movies which have made it into the final round of the Machinima Expo each year? This would take a bit of effort and time to sort out, but not nearly as much as the task you set.



#6 lucindamc123

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 01:11 PM

Not too many Moviestorm users have made full length feature films so it would be difficult for me to find one that uses all those ideas for film promotion. I watch all the movies on here as they get uploaded so the title or description of the movie doesn't matter to me. But I will watch a lot of them again and see if I can see any of those ideas being used in the promotion of the film.

#7 rampa

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 06:50 PM

I think Andrew meant "your" films in the singular. That should make it much easier to figure out, as you would know why you chose your titles, intro, tagline, etc. smile.gif

#8 kkffoo

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 08:46 AM

That's a good thought Rampa, but I'm still struggling to come up with any ideas.
I wonder if Andrew could simplify the task in some way?

#9 flashman

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 10:56 AM

It appears Ian's brief and my introduction did not make clear what I am asking for - I apologise!

The listed techniques and detail was intended to help explain how those techniques can be used in films to raise expectations with the audience. It was included for those that might find it interesting and helpful. The film examples listed were there by way of example, in case that was of interest - we are certainly not suggesting you need to watch them!
We do not want you to explain what you have done and why in relation to the techniques, just point us at your movies that include one, or some, or the techniques:
- I am sure that you have given your films titles, and used title sequences.
- I have seen so many trailers, I was confident that this technique would attract numerous examples.
- If you have made a short story, then it will have an opening sequence - all films do - what and how that was constructed is very much of interest.
...and so on and so on.

The bottom line is that it should not be much of a 'task' at all - If it was, I would not have had the temerity to ask! With thousands of potential Moviestorm films to look at, we just thought it made more sense asking you creators to filter the massive list facing us, and point us at the better examples, as you should know what you did.

Is that any clearer? blink.gif

Once again, we cannot thank you enough for giving this your attention, and I apologise for confusing you. We believe that the resource we have planned could be critical in the adoption of Moviestorm as a written and film language learning tool in education.

Best,
Andrew
Andrew Kennedy
MD, Moviestorm Ltd.

#10 lucindamc123

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 03:33 PM

Here is the IMDB page for Vautrin (made with Moviestorm) and you can see the tagline, image and the description of the movie.


http://www.imdb.com/...387609/combined

#11 Harb40

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 05:27 PM

Although it wasn't made with Moviestorm (I did greenscreen some of the plants into it so I could use the music) I submit this to answer your request. Shadows of the Past. The opening sequence was a bit of background on the story. I wanted to let people know at the very outset that this was about the Korean War. By using the asian characters with military uniforms, I wanted to give the feel of the war itself. I then used a transition phase where you were travelling to give the illusion of being transported to a different place or time.

I tried using a few different styles in the credits. Rolling, flying, pop-up. Something to keep the eyes moving.

Is this what you are asking for? I know you want to see MS made films but this might clear up any questions others might have if this is close to what you are looking for.
The Harb40 Passion Competition now has it's own website.

#12 kkffoo

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 06:03 PM

In general terms, one of the movies that springs to mind which leads the viewer in unexpected directions is Danse Macabre by Kibishipaul

This film also creates atmosphere with minimum set and characters.
The set up of expectation and the misdirections are very subtle.

#13 kibishipaul

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 07:48 AM

QUOTE (kkffoo @ May 31 2013, 6:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
In general terms, one of the movies that springs to mind which leads the viewer in unexpected directions is Danse Macabre by Kibishipaul

This film also creates atmosphere with minimum set and characters.
The set up of expectation and the misdirections are very subtle.


Thanks Kate. I'm relieved to find there are people out there who can explain that movie better than I can laugh.gif

In all honesty, the making of Danse Macabre also took me in unexpected directions considering the finished article is a far different movie than what it started out as. The original idea was about as subtle as a brick!

#14 kkffoo

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 09:23 AM

@K In my view it is one of the real joys of machinima that you have the freedom to follow a whim, adapt without much cost, and end up with something unexpected...in that way it is very similar to writing.

Another film which might fit this brief could be
Ad Hominem Attack by Jorge Campos

There's a change of emphasis and pace part way through which shifts expectations in a surprising way.

#15 Nahton

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 12:30 PM

Here is an example of a trailer that does an effective job of raising expectations for the great, albeit unfinished Spindrift series.

http://www.moviestor...p;vid_id=104531

#16 flashman

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 08:47 AM

Hello everyone,

I meant to reply back yesterday morning, but meetings got in the way.
Thank you so much for your suggestions so far - some really useful films in there. We are looking for maybe 20 or more examples in total, and hopefully a couple of films at least to cover each of the techniques, so please keep the brief in mind when you are watching Moviestorm films, or let me know if you recall any remarkable films from the past - anything could be of interest.
The exercise is already proving itself worthwhile, as we are seeing some films for the first time, and with the quantity facing us, sourcing the gems is a daunting task!

Aside from this thaead, Primaveranz pointed me at a great example of opening sequence and mise-en scene with his film 'Le Rondeau'
http://www.moviestor...p;vid_id=105966
Please feel free to contact me directly to discuss if you prefer.

Our target is to get a first draft of this preliminary skill complete this week, so please keep an eye out and let me know what you find, there are no rights or wrongs in this exercise - all uses of the techniques are of interest.

Thanks again,
Andrew
Andrew Kennedy
MD, Moviestorm Ltd.

#17 mystery_egypt

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 08:18 PM

Hello Andrew

I'm not very familiar with the the school systems of the different coutries. How old is the target group? Young or older teenagers?
I'm asking this because I have seen excellent techniques in movies that might not be suitable for let's say 12 year olds, but might not be a big issue with 16 year olds (thrillers, horror elements, crime etc.).

In my opinion the movie Breakdown by steve3416 uses techniques that had a big effect on me as viewer from the beginning:
http://www.moviestor...p;vid_id=109235
For example it sets the position/rank of the actors pretty fast at the beginning by different things. The filming of the dominant person from below (and thus making him big), and of the weak person from above (thus making him small) makes it pretty clear what role they have a the office.

I hope I understood the task correctly.

#18 Harb40

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 08:01 AM

2 films that come to mind are made by KV:
Debt
Captive

Both use light and dark to keep you in suspense. The titles alone, being just one word, make you wonder what the film will be about. Which meaning are you expecting and which does the film deliver?

Debt uses a first person perspective to start you out and let you experience the film through the main characters eyes.
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#19 flashman

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 08:20 AM

QUOTE (mystery_egypt @ Jun 4 2013, 8:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello Andrew

I'm not very familiar with the the school systems of the different coutries. How old is the target group? Young or older teenagers?
I'm asking this because I have seen excellent techniques in movies that might not be suitable for let's say 12 year olds, but might not be a big issue with 16 year olds (thrillers, horror elements, crime etc.).

I hope I understood the task correctly.

Hello mystery_egypt,

That is a good question, and we are aware that we may need to split resources according to age if we are to make this open to all, if we cannot source sufficient examples that are suitable for all ages and cultures.
This will be a global resource, so I apologise for speaking in UK education terms to explain ourselves!
We believe the skills and techniques we will be demonstrating equate to what is known as 'Level 5' learning. Level 5 can be reached by Key Stage 2 students (ages 7 to 11), but is more expected in Key Stage 3 (ages 11 to 14). Of course, the Moviestorm community is for ages 14 and above, which would infer that much of the content is possibly only suitable for Key Stages 4 (ages 15 to 16) and above.
At this point, we would prefer your recommendations not to be filtered - so please point us at anything, and we can determine whether it is suitable, but of course, material without mature content is very much of interest.

There have so far been links to YouTube and Vimeo, as well as Moviestorm uploads. Ideally, we need the videos to be on the Moviestorm website, otherwise links could be removed without our knowledge, and the exercises irrevocably broken without our knowledge.

Thank you all again
Andrew Kennedy
MD, Moviestorm Ltd.

#20 lucindamc123

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 07:09 PM

Vautrin is a full length feature film and it is about the Japanese invasion of Nanjing China in 1937. So it is a historical as well as educational movie. It is here on Moviestorm but it has been set to private but Flashman since you are a staff member, you can watch that movie and even download it and put it on a DVD to show to the students you are speaking about.


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