How to "Watch a Movie and Call it Research"

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  10 October 2005
How to "Watch a Movie and Call it Research"

hi all,

I am in seach of some fresh movie Ideas as well as new ways of storytelling by film techniques.

I have heard from many people on this forum to watch a lot of movies for this.

but whenever I start watching a nice movie with the purpose in mind to learn something,
I quickly get lost in the magic of that movie.

so my question is "Is there any methodology through which you can learn by watching movies, you can take notes or learn some new Ideas or techniques?"

please post if anyone have tried any successful procedure.
Vishang Shah
  10 October 2005
the best way is to watch with a fellow film dork and talk about the movie while it's going on.
  10 October 2005
^^^ Agreed!
-Kiss me, I'm Irish-

  10 October 2005
One of the tried and true methods is to turn the sound off.

Also, forcing yourself to just watch short segments can help.

  10 October 2005
I am thinking to try to watch different segments from different movies randomly.

like cutting scenes of movies in 20-30 seconds segments.
and watch all these parts in random order.

I will give it a try tomorrow ,and I am sure it will start brainstorming.

like you never know, what is coming next and you can try to make a meaningful link between
all parts, so birth of a new story, may be...

and the sound off method is also quite useful,
because by switching off one medium in a multimedia experience, you are out of magic and can concentrate on learning.
Vishang Shah
  10 October 2005
All those methods work really great, but you can also, like you said, watch the movie through and be lost in its magic, but afterwards, spend an hour or so thinking as much as you can about what you saw - writing, direction, lighting, acting, etc. etc. That tends to work for me pretty well.
  10 October 2005
Originally Posted by MarioV: All those methods work really great, but you can also, like you said, watch the movie through and be lost in its magic, but afterwards, spend an hour or so thinking as much as you can about what you saw - writing, direction, lighting, acting, etc. etc. That tends to work for me pretty well.

I agree. I kind of prefer to get lost in the story the first time through and talk about it after. Then I revisit the film a second time a little more analytically.
sketch blog
  10 October 2005
If I'm going to study a particular movie, I have to watch it twice. The first time, I watch it as a typical viewer, not trying to pick it apart or anything. When it's done, I'll write myself a mini-review, making notes on how I felt about the story, the characters, etc.

The second time I watch it, I take that mini-review and really analyze the movie to figure out where those impressions came from. Why did I feel unsatisfied at the end? Why did I roll my eyes every time a particular character came on screen? Why did I not bother pausing the movie when I had to go to the bathroom? Sometimes, it's story-related. Sometimes it isn't.

I often use this example, but during The Bourne Supremacy, I totally lost interest during the fight scene in the kitchen. Why? Because I couldn't see what was going on due to the poor choice of using a hand held camera in a tight space to record fast action. If you can't see what's going on (see also The Blair Witch Project), it's very difficult to care about what's happening.

Watch it twice. It helps a lot.
"The only reason most scripts are bad is because most people can't write." - Leslie Dixon
  10 October 2005
Also watching the special features or making of sections can really help, after you do the other things first.
  10 October 2005
special features and making of movie are like jewels but very rare.

yesterday, I cut few scenes from "schindler's list", the greatest movie ever made by

and working on it.
before that I reviewed some scenes from "Tarzan"
like "kala meets tarzan" and "tarzan meets jane".

I am always looking for empathy points and ways to generate pathos in the story.

introducing new character always gives a springboard to the story, I guess.
Vishang Shah
  10 October 2005
Here's an idea. Post a thread to a popular forum, like CGTalk, and call it, "Uwe Boll is the greatest director of all time!"

Now, sit back and harvest all the nuggets of insight from the resulting flamewar. Done.
  10 October 2005
But I assure you that isn't the case... Lucas is the awesomest d00d

  10 October 2005
hey biffen,

nice idea,

why post somewhere else?
I am just continuing on this thread...

I am always amazed by movies from spielberg.

so here is my question?
how spielberg handles his movie? any ideas...

I am asking this specific question because in CG we are the gods of the crew and actors.
because we are all of them.
like one man army...

1. Jurrasik park
2. Schindler's List
3. Minority Report

and my most favourit : A.I.

how can we create a bit of magic like this in our short movies?

and lucas is also great at trilogy,
but wachowaski bros are no less in Matrix.
Vishang Shah
  10 October 2005
Originally Posted by animotion3d: but wachowaski bros are no less in Matrix. flame...

Seriously though, from a movie making perspective, they are amazing movies. It's not often that something comes along that's truly groundbreaking and I think the first Matrix movie was exactly that. I have to hand it to anyone who comes up with something so new that they actually have to go invent the technology to accomplish it.

But...(you knew that was coming, didn't you?)

From a storytelling perspective, they're a little less than stellar. Again, the first installment was great, asking a familiar philosophical question ("How do we know what's real?") in an incredibly original way. But I think that was pretty much all they had in them. The second movie was completely pointless from a story POV, and by the third, they had fallen so in love with their own reputation that the weird and (to me) unsatisfying climax just fell flat. It was kinda like they lost track of what it was that they were trying to say in the first place, which is bound to happen when you become an overnight sensation the way they did.

Just my 2.
"The only reason most scripts are bad is because most people can't write." - Leslie Dixon
  10 October 2005
I will have to second the idea of watching the movie as a viewer the first time and then afterwards ask yourslef questions or discussing it. Then the second time try to have a notebook ready and give yourself tasks. I allways set up what I'll be looking for at any following viewing. For example Pick out the 12 dramatic point in the movie according to the Hero's journey. These 12 points is what we call a Mythological breakdown and is common for a "reader" for studios to do to summarise the film for producers and to be able to judge the structure objectivly without concerning oneself with if one likes the genre or not.

Another task can be to make a more common breakdown using the Paradigm (Three act structure) and picking out the basic five plotpoints.

If it's more the visual storytelling you want to disect and not the basic structure you could as some one else pointed out turn off the sound and see if you can make out of the core of different scenes or you could pick out the dramatic beats of the actors, looking at what their agenda with every line of dialouge and every movement is and when it changes (that change is called a "beat" dramtic lingo and is the smallest part of dramatic structure.

My basic point being try to set up a specific taks for yourself and write down your findings on a notpade of a laptop and save them for later reference if you want to.

Hope this helps.

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