Monday, 29 July 2013

Psycho story structure

I tried make a story structure of Psycho story according to three act paradigm. I applied it to my previous notions.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Syd Field's paradigm of screenplay structure

The book Four Screenplays captivated my attention because Syd Field applies paradigm on films which are famous. He explains that screenplay is a unique form, it is neither novel nor play but combines elements of both - it is a story told with pictures in dialogue and description place within the context of dramatic structure. Structure is the foundation of all screenwriting - it holds all together. He continues: all stories in common have beginning, middle, and end (though not necessarily in that order). In dramatic terms the beginning corresponds to Act I, the middle to Act II, and the end to Act III.

Act I: a unit of dramatic action and is about twenty or thirty pages long and held together within dramatic context known as Set-Up. It sets up the story, what is the story about, relationships among the characters and their needs.

Act II: it is about fifty or sixty pages long - know as Confrontation. Here the main character confronts obstacle after obstacle on the way to achieving his or her dramatic need. Dramatic need is what the character wants to win, gain, get or achieve during the course of the screenplay. The story will be about a character overcoming (or not overcoming) obstacles (created according to the known dramatic need) to achieve his or her dramatic need.

All drama is conflict. Without conflict there is no action, without action there is no character, without character there is no story and without story there is no screenplay.

Act III: it is dramatic unit about twenty or thirty pages long and is known as Resolution = solution. Does the character live or die, succeed or fail, win the race or not, get married or divorced?

How do we get from beginning to the middle? From Act I to Act II and then from Act II into Act III? By creating a Plot Point. A Plot Point is any incident, episode, or event that "hooks" into action and spins it into another direction, from Act I to Act II, Act II to Act III. There can be many Plot Ploints in a screenplay, but the ones that lock the story in place before you begin writing one word of screenplay are Plot Points I and II.

Those Plot Points "hold" the story in place, anchoring them to the story line.

THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (notes from the book)

Plot Point I of Act I is the discovery of Rapail's head that really begins the story. It is the natural lead into Act II: Who killed him? Was it Lecter? Or buffalo Bill? Only one person can answer it: Hannibal Lecter. It is a tense that completes the Action of Act I.
The discovery of cocoon is Pinch I the sequence in the First Half of Act II that holds the story together, the clue that keeps us on the trail. Without the Pinch it would be hard for the story to move forward, instead, it would curl up within itself and go nowhere.
Mid-Point of Act II: Lecter is strapped to a rolling hand truck. (moved to Memphis)
Key scene in Act II id when Clarice visits Lecter and he gives her information to track Buffalo Bill. He is both a teacher and a father to her. Buffalo Bill's dramatic need is to get a new "girl's suit". Lecter's desire is to obtain a view, so he is teaching Clarice how to hunt a serial killer.
Pinch II: Lecter's escape. Lecter has to get out of the building.
Plot Point II: the realization that Buffalo Bill must have know his first victim and Clarice alone check it out.
At the beginning of Act III, two elements are left unresolved: will Clarice find Buffalo Bill before Catherine's killed? and How does she resolve the relationship with Hannibal Lecter? Those two story points have to be addressed during the third act.
When Clarice finds the house of Buffalo Bill there is a tension which comes from the audience wanting the character to know what it knows, this technique generates the tension. This situation is called an "open" story. The audience knows what's going on, but the character doesn't. In a "closed" story, the audience learns what's happening at the same time character does.
Resolution:  relationship with Hanibal Lecter: the phone call at the end of the film. ("have the lambs stopped screaming?")

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Visual Story by Bruce Block

It is great book about visual and story structure. I really enjoyed that book because it made some things about visual (story) structure clear than I had been thinking about it before.

Some notions from the book:
Pictures can be broken into three building blocks:
- Story: building blocks of plot, character, and dialogue
- Sound: building blocks of dialogue, sound effects, and music
- Visuals: building blocks for all visuals are the basic visual components

The basic visual components are space, line, tone, colour, movement, and rhythm. Every visual component can be described and used in terms of Contrast & Affinity.
Contrast = Greater Visual Intensity
Affinity = Less Visual Intensity

Here are greatly explained perspective elements, space and composition. Terms like Flat Space, Camera movement, Textural Diffusion, Aerial Diffusion, Depth clues,  Limited Space (Background, Middle ground, Foreground), Ambiguous space are explained by illustrations and pictures. I have never noticed such as thing like surface divider. Contrast & Affinity is used in Witness (1985) - contrast between the rural Amish community (flat space) and the urban police (deep space).

Other visual elements are also greatly explained but were described in the course before. Bruce offers great films as examples of all components at the end of every chapter.

A story is here described by three basic parts:
- Exposition (beginning)
- Conflict (middle)
- Resolution (end)

Conflict and Climax:
Conflict can be internal (emotional struggle) or external (physical situation). A story conflict can be both internal or external. The Climax is the most intense part of a conflict. At the climax, the main character must choose a path and win or lose. The internal or external conflict must end.

The resolution provides a place for the story to finish.

There is explained The Story Structure Graph and as a example is used Hitchcock's North by Nortwest. There is a Story Sequence List which helped me to understand that there can be Exposition part after a Conflict and a Conflict can be at the beginning of a story. Resolution of that film is only 20 second long at the end of the film e.g.

The point-of-view created by the writer is a critical element of the story, because it's the main clue to choosing the visuals components.

Choosing components
The picture maker can select visual components that best communicate that point-of-view. FOur methods are instinctual, arbitrary, researched, and analytic choices.
To choose visual components, begin by answering these question:
- What is the story about?
- What is the point-of-view?
- Where is the story's location?

An example of Touch of Evil (1958)
1. Story: An honest cop uncovers corruption in a small town
2. Point-of-view: The unlikable characters (except for the cop), the location, and the situations are sinister, grimy, corrupt, and dangerous.
3. Story Location: A seedy little border town between Mexico and The United States.

Space: The entire film be deep space, making visuals dramatic and imposing. Deep space stands for the town's widespread corrupt activity.

Line and Shape: A wide range of lines and shapes will be used to give the movie visual variety. Shape differences will be emphasized, such as curved arches in contrast to rectangular doors and windows.

Tone: Every shot will exploit dark, dramatic shadows and tonal contrasts.

Movement: To increase the sense of deep space, the camera will crane and dolly, and the actors will move perpendicular to the picture plane.

Rhythm: The visual rhythms of the compositions and the editing will have as much contrast from sequence to sequence as possible. Some scenes will be filmed in a single continuous take, and others will be highly fragmented  . The idea is to add visual variety and strong visual intensity to each sequence.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Story structure

I watched films and tried to describe the structure of film story:

Family Plot

Touch of Evil



Saturday, 6 July 2013

Re-edited Assignment 3

The main Robert's (tutor) critique was about narrative - the story structure. Robert encouraged me to re-edit the story and I agreed after a great phone discussion. I realized that I did not conveyed some issues about the story in original edit. Here is the re-edited version but I was not able to make it within 90 second:

Assignment 3: Notes, storyboard, critical evaluation and tutor report.

I forgot to put here the files with my preparation, story board and critical evaluation of Assignment 3:

PDF Files:
original storyboard.pdf
changed storyboard after first shooting day.pdf

Tutor report: Tutor_Report_Assignment_3.pdf