Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television

Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Flash Frame Visuals Academy, Bangalore, India

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Screenwriting Tips


Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Bangalore, India

Screenwriting Tips

In one word if I am asked to describe pre-production …it is nothing but solely planning. Planning how to put your words across to make it into script, planning where to rewrite and how to make it better, planning what next to after scripting and so on and so forth! But many times while planning, we tend to overlook certain things, which are really important to have a tremendous output.

A quick look on few other pointers

Deciding on subjects

  • Choose your subject carefully; you are going to live for long time- Make sure day & night, eating, sleeping, breathing, you think only about that subject. Something which not only is very close to your heart, but something which you yourself will never get bored off and would love to stick to it till your film is out.
  • Through your film, be concerned for others- Even if subject has been chosen by you, always keep audience in mind…whether they too would be interested in the subject and if yes, which best way they would like to watch it.
  • Chose a subject and issues you would love you learn more about- You should grow each day while making a film. Before starting the script, devote sufficient time in researching about your subject. If you like it, definitely you would love to know more about it and share it with your audience too.
 Questions when assessing a script

Students of Flash Frame Visuals Academy, analyzing their script

·      How visually cinematic it is?
·      How well would it play with the sound turned off?
·      Whom did you care about and find interesting?
·      Is the plot credible, or can it be made so?
·      What is the screenplay trying to do, and how is it going about it?
·      In each scene decide what each character wants, moment to moment. What do they do to get it?
·      What stops the character and how does he and she adapt to each obstacle?
·      Are obstacles intelligently conceived to put the characters to the test?
·      What is the screenplay’s premise?
·      Time the film; does the story content merit the time it takes onscreen?

Script Scenes

  • Mark beats and critically examine the working of each dramatic unit.
  • See whether each scene can create more interesting questions in audience mind.
  • Eliminate scenes that repeat information or that fails to advance the story.
"Script Supervisor" plays an important role in the Production Team

With this, I conclude lessons on script and screenplay writing. We have already discussed enough on these topics. 'Write , write & re-write' this is how I would like to conclude about writing A little wait and new topics would be discussed in next issue, which would make you think more creatively and professionally.Till then keep writing and happy reading.

Ref: Directing- Michael Rabiger



Article written by :
Aditi Keerthi Kumar
Head - Academics
Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Bangalore, India
www.ffvacademy.com 
E-mail : aditi@ffvacademy.com





Friday, 2 December 2011

PG Diploma in Film Technology


Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Bangalore,India




PG Diploma in Film Technology
Duration : 18 months (3 semesters)
Specialization: Direction (or) Cinematography

They say books are nothing but thoughts put together in words. Same is the case with film too. Film is nothing but imagination captured together in a magical box called camera and showcased on a big screen. Film has the powerful ability to accurately emulate mood and tone, bringing a story to life. Because film sees light, much the same way as the human eye and the captured image feels natural and real.

Film is a language. You choose your vocabulary, your dialect. The stocks, the way you expose them, the filtration, the lenses, the lighting, the color palette…all those things are where you refine your story.
FFVA provides you a dais to share your thoughts, to put them across in form of striking visuals, which till now have been just in your mind! 

The PG Diploma in Film Technology is an 18-months intensive course. The course structure has been customized by industry professionals in a way that the entire program would be divided into 3 semesters, giving in depth knowledge about what it takes to transform ideas into a celluloid short film. Students are expected to undergo a hectic course schedule.  
If you want to enter the hardcore cinema industry, with extensive knowledge in film formats like16mm & 35mm, this is the right course for you.

Course Structure

During first 10 months, the students will be learning about the aesthetics & techniques of Digital Filmmaking with High Definition, to understand the process of capturing and transforming the moving images.

Once familiar with it, they move on to the 16MM format using Arriflex 16 SR3 camera to develop in-depth understanding of the texture, tonality and latitude in both black & white and color.

Here, their learning starts with in depth classes of theoretical and practical aspects required to understand the language of Film Technology, with Filters & Light, Framing & Composition, Advanced Lighting, Image Manipulation, Sound Recording & Post production - Film processing & grading, Optical printing, Negative cutting, Film & Telecine Grading, Digital Intermediate & Conforming.

Students will be trained and guided by Cinematographers from the industry. Each student will create number of short films in HD and one short film with the 16mm reel.
Students use 16MM in the sophomore as their basis to operate and work from to understand advanced mediums and formats such as Super 16MM, 35MM and HD. Classes will have extensive coverage of theory & practical to understand the film formats.

According to their specialization, students will take the role as Director (or) Cinematographer in the short films created, using 16mm. At the end of the course, students will be confident & well versed to enter the film industry.
Film stock will be provided by PID India Pvt Ltd, official distributor of Kodak Ltd.

Course starts during July, of every year. 
For more details, visit our website http://www.ffvacademy.com 

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Cinematography with Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television 
Bangalore, India



DSLR Filmmaking 

The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is a 21.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS digital single-lens reflex camera made by Canon. It succeeds the EOS 5D and was announced on September 17, 2008.

Students had a great experience with Canon 5D Mark II. Their short films were shot with the same. 









Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television, gave training to the students with latest DSLR Filmmaking. 


Review of 5D Mark II


The 5D Mark II produced an excellent video image. The picture was sharp, colors were strong and accurate, and motion was very smooth. The camera also managed the least amount of artifacting we've seen from the video-capable DSLRs we've tested so far. We also liked the range of manual controls available in video mode (thanks to Canon's firmware upgrade). It didn't quite match the offerings on the Panasonic GH1, but it definitely came close.
















Saturday, 1 October 2011

Writing for Comedy


Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Bangalore, India
www.ffvacademy.com                                                                                                                   


Writing for Comedy

Each time I come across any script, I can feel the amount of hard work that has been put into it to make it look funny. But somewhere something seems to be missing. Somewhere the feel is not smooth…things look intentional, humor doesn't seem to be flowing with the situation. As they say …'although this is the world of laughs, the least funny thing in the world is to create comedy'. So why not to have a look at what all it takes to write for comedy?

Something going wrong





Jim Carrey - "The Mask"
'Charlie Chaplin', 'The Mask''The Hangover', Shrek'Ace Ventura'…and the list goes on. These are the kind of movies which are so fresh in our mind as if released yesterday. There is something about these movies…scenes, dialogues, situations, expressions or probably all of it…something which has made us come out of our world and enjoy being in their shoes even for just few seconds. We have laughed our hearts out. We have enjoyed being in their world. But having a closer look at it, we will realize that in most of the funny movies, the comedy situation occurs only when the protagonist is thrown in unpredictable situation, something where things are not how they are meant to be…where everything is going hay wire or simply wrong. One can take above mentioned movies itself for reference. So don't be scared to play with situations and try not to find logic in each and every sequence. Comedy is no science.


Point to be noted: The most important thing to remember is that humor has greater significance when people are involved in it rather than things. Only if a person lands up in a situation and handles it in a funny way, we can see the audience smiling.

Visual Comedy



Charlie Chaplin managed to make audience go rolling on floors without even uttering a single word. That is the real power of visual comedy. The expressions, body language, dressing itself is planned in a way where silence has its own meaning. Their physically comic features compensates for everything else. Same is the case with Johny Lever in Bollywood and Vadivelu in Kollywood. Even if you mute the dialogue, somewhere that humor will still make sense. Visual Comedy always comes from extremes. Anything too subtle won't make audience laugh.

But then what about actors like Jim Carrey or Bradley Cooper? Their looks to die for makes comedy a very serious business. No wonder for them their characters are bit exaggerated. While writing the story itself, one has to keep these people in mind and structure it accordingly.




 Point to be noted: Many comedians have their separate team to write comedy scenes for them. They know how to make best in a given kind of situation. So usually the initial draft of the script is handed over to the team and they insert comedy situations wherever required.

Universal acceptance

The Animal
Something which makes you laugh need not look funny to some other person. Same is visa versa. So how you go about creating a universal appeal for your comedy scenes?

Choose the most typical setting in which the incident happens for your protagonist to get stuck into. Create a familiar image for quick audience comprehension. There are some situations where each one of us get into at some point of time or the other. Those are the situations you need to highlight for comedy scenes. And most importantly it has to be simple. In funny scenes, there is no time for audience to interpret the complexities. They are always ready to see the absurdity in an otherwise normal situation.

Point to be noted: The premise of the story itself should be funny and most importantly, timely. For instance, bachelor's party in Hangover. It just suits the ideas and situations in contemporary era. Always remember that less no. of words in dialogue, bigger the impact.



Reality vs Believability

In comedy, realism and believability have a wrapped point of view. Reality is not necessary for a comedy writer till the time you are able to maintain consistency with believability. A truly comic character lives in a world of his own, beyond the limits of our society.




For example, in 'The Mask' the kind of situations in which Jim Carrey lands up is far away from reality, but still we tend to believe that he is stuck in to those situations and somehow manages to come out of it. The incongruity and biological impossibility of the character gives him his platform for humor and Carrey's physical comic dexterity.
'Ace Ventura', 'The Animal'…they are far beyond reality, but somehow we tend to believe what the actors are going through. So audience are already prepared for that ride. All they want is a good laugh.

Point to be noted:  Never consider your actors as 'them'. Characterize each and every actor separately. You cannot get humor if you think of them as 'them'. Each and every character of the scene should have their own comic value.

I think above mentioned points would atleast make you begin with the comedy genre. And as I say each time, write, write and rewrite. That's the only secret of a good script writer. 

Last but not the least, genuine thanks to Pat Silver- Lasky for her contribution for 'Screenwriting'. Definitely it was of great help for my research for the topic.



Article written by :
Aditi Keerthi Kumar
Head - Academics
Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Bangalore, India
www.ffvacademy.com 
E-mail : aditi@ffvacademy.com

Monday, 5 September 2011

Filmmaking - The Charlie Chaplin Way


www.ffvacademy.com                  


Filmmaking - The Charlie Chaplin Way

When we talk about early Directors, how can we not mention Mack Senett, of keystone Kop fame, who took comedy into a new dimension all together.

Well, the name didn’t click? It might now, if we say that he was the one to discover the invincible talent like Charles Spencer Chaplin, now famously called as ‘Charlie Chaplin’. For being just 5”5 and underweight, Chaplin was denied from the Army. But probably he was destined to be a world famous comedian, as they say it!



Charlie debuted his outfit in ‘The Tramp’ during the silent film era in the Keystone comedy Kid Auto Races at Venice. And instantaneously he became immensely popular. More than anything else, he was all known as the funny little tramp with the baggy pants and the durby hats and walking as if his feet hurt. But not many are aware of the fact that how much thought process went in deciding this attire, which later became his trademark. As Chaplin recalled in his autobiography-

Mack Sennett had requested me to get into a comedy make-up. I had no idea what makeup to put on. However on the way to the wardrobe, I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat. I wanted everything to be a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large. I was undecided whether to look old or young, but remembering Sennett had expected me to be a much older man, I added a small moustache, which I reasoned, would add age without hiding my expression. I had no idea of the character. But the moment I was dressed, the clothes and the makeup made me feel the person he was. I began to know him, and by the time I walked on stage he was fully born”.



Chaplin's early Keystones use the standard Mack Sennett formula of extreme physical comedy and exaggerated gestures. Chaplin's pantomime was subtler, more suitable to romantic and domestic farces than to the usual Keystone chases and mob scenes. So it didn’t take him long to discover that he is not meant for Senett kind of comedy, it was way too fast for him.

Direction

Followed by this, he left Senett for Essanay, assured that he could have more time for the creation of his films and his own direction in production. And that’s how he wore Director’s cap too! Here Chaplin rounded out the character of the little tramp, creating an intimate style. The camera was placed in a position for a specific reason and the scene held for a longer period of time. He had a feeling for framing and the props in each scene were there for some specific purpose. So he had the complete control over creative part of it and was free to do what all he wanted.

Soon after this he got in contract with First National to produce eight two reel films. First National financed and distributed these pictures but otherwise gave him complete creative control over production.



Chaplin now had his own studio, and he could work at a more relaxed pace that allowed him to focus on quality. By 1927, "talkies" became the dominant mode of film making. But still, Chaplin resisted making such a film all through the 1930s. He considered cinema essentially a pantomimic art. He said: "Action is more generally understood than words".

Chaplin's first talking picture, The Great Dictator (1940), was an act of defiance against Nazism and was also critically acclaimed

Unknown Chaplin

During his brief stint in Senett, he never believed in writing scripts. He used to think that he should not share or reveal his ideas, just as magicians prefer not to say it out. But soon after he joined Essanay, things changed little bit and he started writing, but that too just a vague premise. He often used to reshoot the entire scene, instead of structuring it on paper before itself. The only time he properly wrote the entire script was for his spoken dialogue film, "The Great Dictator" in 1940. Chaplin's unique filmmaking techniques became known only after his death, when his rare surviving outtakes and cut sequences were carefully examined in the 1983 British documentary Unknown Chaplin.

Behind the scenes

Now here, I would take few of his most popular flicks which made audience laugh their heads off. But it didn’t come easy. There was so much happening behind the scenes, which Chaplin had to cater to while quietly donning that naughty smile in front of the camera.



THE CIRCUS

While filming this movie, already he was under huge personal turmoil. As if his domestic troubles were not enough, the film seemed fated to catastrophe of every kind. Even before shooting began, the huge circus tent which provides the principal setting for the film was destroyed by gales. After four weeks of filming, Chaplin discovered that bad laboratory work had made everything already shot unusable. In the ninth month of shooting, a fire raged through the studio, destroying sets and props. For the final scene, of The Circus moving out of town, the wagons were towed to location. When the unit returned for the second day’s shooting the whole circus train had vanished. It had been stolen by some high-spirited students who planned to use it for a marathon bonfire. This time, luckily, Chaplin was just in time to prevent the catastrophe. Somehow, from all the chaos, Chaplin conjured a film of deft comedy and admirable structure.

THE KID

The Kid is considered as the most perfect and one of his most personal film. According to Chaplin ‘I was at my wits’ end for an idea’. My wife became pregnant and gave birth to a malformed boy, who died after only three days. I evidently suffered acute trauma from this loss. But the responses of the creative mind are unpredictable. Only ten days after my own child was buried, I was auditioning babies at my studio. Suddenly the creative block seemed overcome. I was absorbed and excited by a new plan for a story in which the Little Tramp would become surrogate father to an abandoned child”.  Chaplin never seemed more dogged in his characteristic quest for perfection than in making The Kid. He patiently shot scenes again and again until he was fully satisfied. In the end he had filmed more than fifty times the length of film that appeared in the finished picture.


Even in silent black & white era, Charlie Chaplin managed to leave a loud impact universally.Still his movies are as entertaining as many years ago. He would truly be a mentor for many, irrespective of whether they are from film fraternity or not !! Happy reading.

References: 
1) Understanding the film, Jane Bon, Ron Johnson
2) www.charliechaplin.com




Article written by :
Aditi Keerthi Kumar
Head - Academics
Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Bangalore, India
www.ffvacademy.com 
E-mail : aditi@ffvacademy.com

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Interpreting the Script - Basics


Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Bangalore, India
www.ffvacademy.com                        

Interpreting the Script - Basics
Now you are done with first draft of your Script. All your characters, situations, and conflict is all set. You read, reread and reread it again…something seems to be missing in that wide spectrum of interpretation. But what is that ‘something’? Let’s get to the root of it and find what it takes to interpret the script.

First things first. Kindly make sure that list of below mentioned things is right in place.

  • Epoch
  • Time of the day
  • Locations
  • Character details revealed by their words and actions
  • Words and actions used by characters

Now once this too is over, what you have in front of you is an overall script, right from beginning till the end. But that’s not how we go about the production part. There are few other smart ways to simplify the script further in order to sail through the production part smoothly.

Filmmaking students are ought to know these tricks, so as to become effective storytellers. At our film academy, students are immersed in the thorough process of understanding and interpreting the script, so that they are capable enough to find the flaws in their script, when re writing happens again and again. Faculty from the film department of Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television, train the students to convert complicated steps into simple ones. Here we go....

Break into manageable units

Divide the script or treatment into workable units by acts, locations and scenes. This helps you plan how each unit of the story must function and initiate the process of assembling a shooting script. For instance if you have five scenes in the same room, you can shoot them consecutively to conserve time, energy, irrespective of the fact whether they are widely spaced in the script or not.
The very minute production process actually starts; the same thing and flow of events should be conveyed to everyone including the actors, crew and the cameraman so as to avoid any last minute confusion. 

Action speaks louder than words

Truly cinematic films remain largely comprehensible and dynamic even when the sound is turned off. (Do notice the word ‘largely’). So whenever planning for a screen presentation plan it in a way as if largely it is meant for a silent film. That strong should be your visual presentation. This will force you into telling your story cinematically rather than just theatrically. So make sure that actors you pick up for your film should not be incredible in expressions alone, but also in body language, the way he is able to sink in the character et al. 

Character Establishment

An important aspect of considering the script is to trace each event and character backward to see that the requisite groundwork has been laid. It’s not just about introducing the character. It’s about laying a proper foundation of what that character is, his past, and few other coincidences with his life in order to create a dramatic arc in the story.

As Director and actor, once you know the subtext, you can develop behaviors to manifest the tensions between the inner and outer worlds, between what the character wants to do and what impedes him. 

I hope by now you will surely be entering the realm of proficient script writers. That's why script writing in a professional film institute like Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television, is an integral subject since it helps you to jot down all your thoughts on paper and helps you to sew all these threads together to form an interesting screenplay. 

Reference : Directing, Michael Rabiger


Article written by :
Aditi Keerthi Kumar
Head - Academics
Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Bangalore, India
www.ffvacademy.com 
E-mail : aditi@ffvacademy.com

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Common Q's and A's of Script Writing

Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Bangalore, India
www.ffvacademy.com




Common Q’s & A’s of scriptwriting


“ As a scriptwriter one should give more importance to the plot not the character. Scriptwriting is just about writing the best story and nothing beyond. We can escape from primitive formats and write our own scripts the way we want”…different people and more different notions. Let’s have a quick glance and see till what extent these contradictions hold true meaning.

·      Write the best story the way you know. Don’t worry about anything else - False

If you are a painter or a poet concerned only for your art and you don’t care what anyone else thinks about it, you still can manage to go that way. But writing a screenplay is all-together a different ball game.
Writing a screenplay with a motive of just writing and not making it into a movie doesn’t hold much of a meaning. The script is unfulfilled as long as it’s on paper. If someone tells you “write the best story you can”, it’s meaningless. Of course you’re going to write the best story you can. Who’s going to write the worst story they can?

·      Leave the details to experts- True

As a writer you should not divert your attention from your main task and that is storytelling . Don’t get too much into the direction and the camera part of it. Leave it to experts. Don’t offend them by proving that you know much more than they do. Never forget that moviemaking is all about teamwork.

·      Less is more- True

         Avoid overwriting. Overly descriptive screenplays are not fun to read.  Limited description about location, action and character would do. Always remember less is more. All you are supposed to describe is core of action, and not all of it! Also remember that excess of details slows down the pace of the movie.

·      Script format isn’t really important – False

Anything that distracts from the story hurts the reading. Script is a specialized form. So stick to the format as much as possible. By doing that the form becomes invisible and the reader focuses on all his energy in just reading and visualizing the script.


·      Once a script has been rejected, it’s a dead meat– False

As a scriptwriter you should have confidence to pitch for your script, provided it’s truly worth it. If you believe in the script, keep trying. Try in different places. Change the title of the movie if you want.


·      Small budget films are easier to sell than big budget giants – True

Producers always welcome the scripts which doesn’t have unnecessary location budget, astronomical star salaries et al. Make you story so strong that even if its single location; it should hit the audience straight! Keep your locations simple and action basic, especially as a starter.

The more detailed version of the same, more Q’s and A’s are discussed at Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television. Here we thoroughly believe that just like Direction, Cinematography & Editing,  ‘Scriptwriting’ too is one of the major platforms for a successful film. So once again, happy reading.

            References : Ronal B Tobias



Article Written by:
Aditi KK
Head – Academics
Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Bangalore, India
www.ffvacademy.com
Email : aditi@ffvacademy.com

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Convocation 2011


Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Bangalore, India
www.ffvacademy.com


Convocation 2011 - Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television

What do you call a moment where you walk down your nostalgic lane, in presence of people with whom you started the journey, acknowledging them, and taking along the ones who are with you at present, making it one of the most unforgettable moment ever…well I will call it as our ‘Convocation 2011’!

For the majority, ‘convocation’ is a very formal event of handing over the degree or diploma certificates to the suitable candidates. But at FFVA, it was more of a personal event since we believe that it’s about life long relationships, and not just about qualifying our students and bidding them adieu.




Mr.T.G.Keerthi Kumar, Founder and Director of FFVA, shared his experience with students about how he started Flash Frames and how the journey has been so far. He also highlighted the future plans of the institute. In the most humble way, he shared the entire credit of the success with his team and the old students who have been the major pillar of support and encouragement.

Moreover nothing came better than sharing the moment with someone as humble and as pleasant as Mr.V. K Murthy saheb, who was the honorable Chief Guest of our event. Recipient of Dada Saheb Phalke Award 2008, along with "Life Time Achievement Award" from IIFA, and many other such accolades, the first thing that each one of noticed about him was yet old pleasing smile, having no airs around him.

Founder & Director - Mr.T.G.Keerthi Kumar
Honorable Chief Guest - Mr.V.K.Murthy
1st Indian Cinematographer to receive the Dada Saheb Phalke Award

Guru Dutt’s favourite cinematographer, he remained loyal and worked only with him till the time Guru Dutt was alive. Pyaasa , Kaagaz Ke Phool are some of his masterpieces. He was as simple as any other 89-year-old man would be, but definitely way more active and possessing the eyes which no one else would do. He was all game to share his experiences and memories with the students present there and give them all the useful tips, which would help them in the longer run.


Best Student of the Year 2010-11 - I.Amarjit Singh


Soon after this, Mr.V.K.Murthy handed over the Diploma certificates to our students, declaring one of them as the ‘Best student of the year 2010-11’. That came as the element of surprise as it was the least expected thing. Everyone joined for lunch soon after that and it was surely a delight to see all our present and old students together reminding us of the fact that yes, indeed we have covered a little distance from where we started !



Article Written by:
Aditi KK
Head – Academics
Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Bangalore, India
www.ffvacademy.com
Email : aditi@ffvacademy.com