Director Training: Report on Christopher Nolan’s Directing Style

For the purposes of the course, training and assessment in the ‘directing’ category have to do with aspects of ‘mise-en-scéne’ and directing actors. Training for directors may include: an examination and report on a director’s style. [Image 1: Christopher Nolan] For the final digital filming project, I was assigned as the first-unit director. A very simple definition of my job is to be the director’s assistant, listening to every single one of her orders and taking charge when the director is missing, along with completing over trivial tasks. For training, there are 6 categories: directing, cinematography, editing, sound, scriptwriting, special effects. Since there is no exact category for me to work in, I decided to do a training in directing, as I am also partially a director, and I have a extremely high interest in studying actual renowned hollywood directors. In the start of the year, we were told to write down our favourite movie, and my favourite movie was Inception. Inception had a crazy plot as the film explored the boundaries between reality and imagination. However, I did not have a clue for who directed this film. As I did some research, I realised it was Christopher Nolan. He is considered as one of the most popular directors of this era, as he directed the Batman Trilogy, and Memento, and Interstellar. Interstellar was also another crazy movie that incorporated physics concepts that I have a strong passion in. Thus, I have decided to heavily analyse Christopher Nolan’s directing style and learn his secrets of captivating the world’s attention. Christopher Nolan is from London. His father is from United Kingdom, while his mother is from United States. He had both citizenships, and he began making films at an extremely early age of 7 using his father’s Super 8 camera. Star Wars was Nolan’s inspirations and at the age of 8, he created a stop animation (which I was learning in second semester of high school year), named Space Wars. He earned his college education in Haileybury and Imperal Service College and University College London. He was the president of the Union’s Film Society. Having a close look at his early life, it can be noticed that he had a very strong passion for filming ever since he was young, but there is no noticeable trait that discerns him from other directors and of how his directing style came to...
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Director’s Style: Wes Anderson -The Grand Budapest Hotel-

Director’s Style: Wes Anderson -The Grand Budapest Hotel- I’ve recently watched the latest Wes Anderson film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and I think it is remarkable. The entire film is a feast to the eyes; the visual of the movie is spectacular. My personal opinion, the visual of the film is so outstanding and eye-catching that it covered over the plot line. (Or maybe the plot line is not the focus and it is mainly emphasized on the art and composition of each scene.) Anyhow, there is something unique and distinctive about Wes Anderson’s film and I can’t quite lay my finger upon it. His style is original and unique that it is hard to categorize his film into any particular genre. While watching The Grand Budapest Hotel, I picked up a few Wes Anderson signature film techniques that occurs in his film which makes it so special:   1. Vibrant Color: Every scene in a Wes Anderson movie is like a color palette. The vibrant and rich color of each scene capture the audiences’ eyes. As a viewer of the movie, I admit that the color is a main reason why I enjoyed the film so much. With all the vivid colors, the presentation of each scene becomes more pleasant and amusing for the audience. Top: In this frame, the color scheme is red. Top: In this frame, the color scheme is pink. Top: In this frame, the color scheme is blue. This signature move also occur in other Wes Anderson films like Moonrise Kingdom and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Top: In Moonrise Kingdom the color scheme of this shot is yellow. Top: In Fantastic Mr. Fox the color scheme of this scene is yellow. I think this is a great technique that I can learn and incorporate in to my film. I just need to carefully select the color of the character’s clothing, color of prop, location, and everything that comes into frame. Careful selection of color can establish the mood and atmosphere of the entire film. 2. Perfect Symmetry: Something else I notice while watching The Grand Budapest Hotel is Wes Anderson’s consistent play with perfect symmetry. Many shots in this film presents a perfect symmetry for example this screenshot below: And this image:   Wes Anderson’s incredible dedication to perfect symmetry has helped him develop his unique and distinctive film style. Many directors tend to avoid...
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Director’s Training: Click

In a way, our film is very similar to the movie “Click” starring Adam Sandler. Released in June 22, 2006, the movie directed by Frank Coraci tells a story about a man who supposedly has it all, a caring family, a great job, and a genuinely happy life. However, he receives a magical remote control one day, which allows him to skip, rewind, and pause his life at moments, all at the click of a button.   Due to the similarity in our story line, I think that many of the shots that Coraci uses to demonstrate his story could be integrated into my own. Although the film is more of a comedic film, we can integrate many of the serious shots and camera angles into our story.   One of the most iconic shots in the story is when he clicks the button and a video-like fast-forwarding transition occurs where the whole scene is played but sped up three times faster (just like a screen on a DVD player). I thought this was cleverly used, and although our tool is a necklace, we can do a similar shot where the background seems to be blurred out (traveling out of the screen really fast, while he is in motion), to show the passage in time.   Consequently, the reaction shot to the surreal transformation that happens to the protagonist is very important as it demonstrates an emotion that connects the character with the audience. In the film, the camera often does a close shot to the face of Sandler as he has a wide-eye astonished expression. As this is quite an easy shot, I think we can easily integrate it into our film.   Another scene that everyone would agree to be pretty iconic in the movie is the scene where Sandler becomes old due to the remote control, and cries in the rain. I think this scene could easily be paralleled with our partying scene. After the protagonist in our story realizes that partying isn’t everything in life and all his friends have moved on, he becomes depressed at his loneliness and former stubbornness to acknowledge the importance of every part of life. In “Click,” Coraci uses a bird’s eye view camera angle to minimize Sandler, making it seem like he is very unimportant in the overall spectrum of the universe. I think we could apply this to...
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Martin Scorsese Directing Style

Martin Scorsese is a famous and talented American director who is recognized for directing many well known movies such as Goodfellas and The Wolf of Wallstreet. His movies all have one thing in common, which is the fairly similar directing styles he implements in them. These trademark styles define his movies and make them significant enough for people to be able to tell that the film was directed by him just by watching those specific scenes . One of his most commonly used styles is the freeze frame shot. A freeze frame is a shot when the film is paused at that one shot for a period of time. In Martin Scorsese’s movies, the freeze frames are usually followed by a voiceover, most likely of the protagonist, explaining the situation. In his movie Goodfellas, the freeze frame comes after the part where three gangsters stop the car only to open the trunk, revealing a kidnapped man. They then stab and shoot him to ensure that he is dead. At this point, the voiceover explains that one of the gangsters, the one in the shot at that point, is him and states that he is and always wanted to be a gangster. He uses a freeze frame at this point to draw our attention and introduce us to the protagonist of the film. In other scene of Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese uses a freeze frame while the protagonist is being physically beaten and abused by his father. During the freeze frame, he uses the voiceover to express the opinions of the protagonist as it cannot be done in that scene while he was being beaten, which is an effective way to help explain and get the audience following along with the plot. In our future films, I feel that we can incorporate freeze frames like the ones used by Martin Scorsese in similar scenarios to either advance the plot of the story or maybe even just to emphasize on the emotions and facial expressions of a character. Either way, freeze frame is a new and different type of technique I have learnt from Martin Scorsese that can help make my future films more...
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Director Training: Oren Peli’s Directing Style (Paranormal Activity)

Steve Lee – 3A Director’s Style • An examination and report on a director’s style. • A short documentary about a director’s style or emulating a director’s style. Among directors, I want to examine specifically on Oren Peli’s directing style. Oren Peli is most widely known for his “Paranormal Activity” series. Background: The film Paranormal Activity was actually filmed in the Oren Peli’s house. It took around 7 days to film and 1 year to edit the whole movie. Before he started, he had people to audition for the film. Peli spent around $15,000 for the film. When it was released, it was only showed in festival circuits until Steve Spielberg saw the movie on a DVD. After Spielberg watched the movie, DreamWorks purchased the movie, which then became extremely popular. Mise En Scene: I can say the mise en scene of Peli’s film is first person perspective. The film was all made in the director’s house. According to Peli, he wanted to make sure to have a first person perspective in the film, being very raw and authentic. He chose this type of style because he wanted the viewers to feel how the characters felt in the film but at the same time did not want to offend the viewers in a certain way. Directing Style With Actors: In order to make the best possible film, Peli had numerous auditions to determine the perfect characters for the movie. After he found the two characters, Peli actually did something very interesting. Because this was a first person film, he only warned that something would happen before the characters went to bed. In this way, the characters would actually experience something new while filming the scenes. Here was the interesting part: “There was no dialogue. There was only an outline of the story. The actors never received any script. They didn’t know about anything they were getting into. All they knew was they were going to do something about a haunted house and basically discover everything as they were shooting. There were no lines for them to follow. Everything was spontaneous.” Unlike typical directors, Peli just gave a brief topic about the movie and that was it. The actors were also told to film with the video camera for the...
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Directing Actors (Video)

This is a video about Directing Actors helping them establish confidence on stage to portray a realistic character. Hopefully this short video will allow the other fellow amateur directors in our class to interact better with the casts and the crew! CHECK IT OUT RIGHT HERE ^ Citations: Judith Weston, (1996). Moment by Moment. Editor: Bernice Balfour, Directing Actors (49-76). CA: Michael Wiese...
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