What Kind of Films Do We Make?
–Anti-cliche films: Films that break the cliches and do the opposite of what is expected to happen. “Whenever I’m writing a script and a cliche comes up, I tend to do the opposite in terms of what happens next,” (Steal Adcock).
–Dark,Gritty, Realism: “The films I make have a sense of realism because I film my scenes in locations that exist in-camera instead of computerized worlds on green screens. This is done to submerge my audience further into the world I want them to experience. I choose my locations carefully so they don’t look too polished. Grit and aging are added to props to make them feel like they’ve existed before the film even starts; the sets are done likewise to ensure that everything feels like it’s been there,” (Steal Adcock).
–Practical Effects: “I do not like CGI, I dealt with it in the past and learned that the overuse of CG can ruin a scene in a film because the audience knows it is fake. I always try to find a practical way to convey an effect in film, whether that be using ashes for debris, fireworks for ricochets, or glow sticks for laser blasts,” (Steal Adcock).
“I like making films because it’s quite a different and personal experience each time. I get to walk through my character’s shoes for a while. Not only that, but I get to meet these characters simultaneously, while filming and while editing, and I get to go on that journey with them. I am with my characters every step of the way, and at times I help them along. When I am editing I am laying out their journey and witnessing their journey at the same time. I am with them when they struggle, when they cry, when they succeed, and when they take action; as if I am the parent that never leaves, and keeps watching their lives all the way through until the end. I see my timeline, when I am editing, as an actual timeline; past through present, and I have control over everything on that timeline, I know each historical event that occurs before it happens. It’s like a pre-planned life that I take witness to, and it is a great experience. I get to watch my characters grow and develop over time, and how they change and overcome great obstacles. What I hope to convey to an audience is that they too can endure,” (Steal Adcock).
Our Style of Cinematography
When a film is seen, what is perceived is not necessarily the reality that most individuals believe that reality to be. The reality of film is that film consists of moving pictures and sound, both of which are illusions that, when interpreted within our minds, tell us that we are witnessing the window to another realm that is not actually real, but looks and sounds real by simply mimicking what we perceive in reality through our five senses, in the case of films, only two senses. With film, visuals are the half of it, and sounds are the other half, however, just because the visuals are half the film does not make the visuals less important than the sound because visuals are what deems films as films, because without visuals, films would be radio broadcasts or audio recordings, so that here, I speak specifically of the visuals of film, because the visuals came first, and the visuals have yet to leave. I will refer to these visuals of film as cinematography.
Often people do not realize the difference between just filming something and cinematography. Filming or ‘shooting’ a scene is the same yet different than the cinematography of a scene because just filming something, just taking out a standard video camera and aiming it at an actor or object, is just that, filming an actor or an object, but cinematography comes in with a more creative approach in: How should I frame this shot so that the actor’s head is not cut off at the top, but there is still no space left above my actors head? Or, what if instead of an over-the-shoulder shot, I go instead for a full frame of the actors face, not straight on, but at an angle, pointing up, so that I can create a shot that perhaps has not been seen before? The essential point of cinematography is exactly that, to create what has not yet been perceived nor conceived. Originality and creativity work hand-in-hand in this process, so that rules must be made aware of, but rules must also be prepared to be broken. I know the difference because I recall times during film shoots when I would just hand the camera to one of my friends and tell them to start filming, which is fairly problematic. This is fairly problematic because I failed to frame the shot, create movement, or apply style due to the fact that I was rushed, under pressure, and therefore not focused on how the shot should look, but more so on getting the scene filmed as fast as possible due to time constraints and pressure.
Cinematography functions to tell a separate story apart from dialogue and any other audio, but not all people understand it this way. The function of visuals in cinematography is to tell a purely visual story that does not require words to explain anything. Transition shots between scenes convey the passage of time between each scene and they can establish the tone, atmosphere, and setting of the story. Visuals carry so many different aspects because, depending on lighting, color correction, and framing, the mood, style, atmosphere, and setting can be conveyed without saying or using a single word. An entire life could be told in pictures, and they say pictures speak volumes, well I say moving pictures speak many volumes.
Our Style of Dialogue
If something a character says sounds even slightly unnatural, replace the phrase with something else or delete that section or phrase and its entirety to avoid something that will sound unnatural during filming. For example, a character saying, ‘See ya…’, does not sound as natural as character simply saying, ‘Later.’ From my experience people don’t often take the time to give a two syllable goodbye, they tend to stick with one syllable goodbyes using the words, ‘Bye’, ‘Later’, or waving their hand with a half-smile.
Lengthy dialogue is risky dialogue. People do not tend to talk to each other in paragraphs during normal conversations, but rather in fragments that bounce off each other.
If a phrase sounds repetitive or similar to something you’ve heard too many times in real life or in film, either take it out completely or find a way to change it up. Audiences want to hear something different, not something they heard a hundred times before.
Situations and topics should also be acknowledged. What is common in most films are characters who talk about the plot of the film, which is fine when giving exposition, but can be unrealistic if the exposition or plot the characters are talking about, is forced. Topics range from small talk to theories people have about space and time, because the biggest mistake in films are characters that say stupid things that most people in real life would not say. Give characters a conscience, common sense, logic, reasoning, and enough intelligence (in terms of adult characters) that those characters do not seem like they have the mind of a child (unless of course, the characters being depicted are mentally challenged or suffered some kind of brain trauma). Everyone has a history, everyone has those funny stories they tell, and everyone tends to have some kind of relatable experience story to tell in response to a trigger comment from another character.