Chapter 5 My Movie Log #2: My Movie in Three Scenes – Exploring Narrative and Mise-en-SceneTwo of this unit’s My Movie Logs are designed to help you develop your proposal for a short film which you will be sharing in the Unit 03 Group Discussion. Feel free to read the Group Discussion guidelines before working on this My Movie Log.You will complete your My Movie Log work here, and then you can take this work into your Group Discussion for the proposal you’ll post for your peers.
For the Group Discussion forum, you’ll be proposing an original short film (a short film idea you’re developing on your own) that can be told in three scenes (a beginning, a middle, and an end). By “short” film, envision it running anywhere between 2 to 5 minutes in length. Consider, Pixar’s “One Man Band” is 4 minutes.Our textbook defines “scene” as: “a complete unit of plot action taking place in a continuous time frame in a single location”. Using this definition, a scene has a single location. With a three-scene story, you could have three different locations. You could also reuse a location if that best fits the story you’re telling. A scene can be composed of several shots.You are not making the actual film for this Group Discussion forum – you’ll be posting a proposal to share with your peers. (Yes, the intention is that you couldmake this film on your own at some point outside of this course, so keep that in mind during these development exercises.)
For this My Movie Log, you’re going to explore the following three parts of your short film development:Part #1: My Movie’s NarrativeBased on the guidelines above, what is your original short film’s narrative. To help your development, who’s the main character or characters in your short? What is the goal they need to achieve or problem that needs to be solved? What obstacles get in the way, raising the stakes and making it difficult for your protagonist? Focus the narrative into three key scenes: one scene representing the beginning (the narrative’s setup), one scene representing the middle (the confrontation, rising action), one scene representing the end (the climax or final test and resolution).Take this development work and craft it into a description of your short film’s narrative structure in 3-4 sentences. This description should include the following: Who are the main characters? What’s driving the story (goal and obstacles)? What’s the beginning? The middle? The end?Here’s an example:Beginning: A man swims alone in the surf at dusk, he’s heading seaward. Struggling, he turns back, barely making it to shore and collapses next to his abandoned flip-flops and wallet. He looks like death. Middle: Later, he awakens with a start and finds himself near a campfire. A woman tends the fire, keeping it between her and the stranger. Both are uneasy but she wants to help him; he too is cautious but finally gives in to the fire’s warmth. End: That evening, two pairs of flip-flops abandoned at the surf, in the distance we see the pair walking along shoreline.Target: 150 words, try to keep it focused within 250 words maximum.Part #2: My Movie’s ThemeBriefly describe your short film’s theme or idea, feel free to include recurring imagery, motifs and implicit meaning.Here’s an example:My short is about finding purpose and how love and acceptance can grant new perspective on life.Target: 25 words, try to keep it focused within 50 words maximum.
Part #3: My Movie’s Mise-en-ScèneIn this unit, we’re learning about mise-en-scene… which can be seen as the “look and feel” of the movie. Describe the look and feel of your short film as you envision it. If you wish, you can take inspiration from German Expressionism or Italian Neorealism (explored in our reading), or perhaps the use of mise-en-scene in Rear Window or another one of our movies…Describe in a few sentences the elements of the design and composition, including lighting, that contribute to the look and feel you want to capture in your film. We’re not exploring specific shots or camera work in this log (you’ll explore the Cinematography in Chapter 6 My Movie Log #2)Here’s an example:My short film will take inspiration from Italian Neorealism or Fruitvale Station, using actual beach locations and natural lighting. I want my three scenes to show three distinct areas of the beach: the roiling surf, the campfire high on the beach near beach homes, and calm shoreline. The man’s flip-flops are well-worn, almost ragged. The woman’s flip-flops are also worn, but the texture and design (perhaps beading) suggests comfort and strength.This description is a start… other elements of mise-en-scene can be added.Target: 150 words, try to keep it focused within 250 words maximum.
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