The Film Page

Film (and video) are in my opinion the most exciting artistic medium being created in the world today. Film inherently combines the theatre, music, painting and still photography into one fabric. This combination of the different characteristics requires a film maker to become simultaneously, the photographer, the painter, the choreographer, the composer and perhaps most importantly the director.

What I like to call the magic in film making is the ability to sew these different artistic mediums into a realistic encompassing experience. One that leaves no room for doubt as to the authenticity of the fictitious events portrayed, and compels the audience to accept the idea or point it is trying to convey.

What I will try to do on this page is explain a little bit about how the few films I had the fortune of participating in were made, while interleaving information about some of my favourite movies, and some (and I emphasize - only some) of the more important films in the history of cinema.

Cinematic Language

During the three years of studying film in high-school, we quickly grew to understand that film is nothing other than a language. Just like any other language it has a set of rules (albeit a not completely drafted out and very flexible set of rules), certain grammar, a vocabulary all its own, and most importantly - that it was meant to be used, like language, in the conveying and communicating of feelings, opinions, and factual matters of life.

This point of view inclines one to accept several other points:

  • One, that all film, both mainstream and off the wall, both "good" and "bad", are on the very basic level equivalent. We might tend to more easily understand the "dialect" of hollywood pictures, but that is usually because that is the "dialect" were are most used to hearing. This also means that even the "worst" film might have certain value as a linguistic exercise.
  • Two, a film maker must fully understand what he is trying to say when setting off to create a film - not knowing what you want to say is OK if you're experimenting and learning, but don't expect people to listen.
  • Three, we have way to few dictionaries for film language.

What this also means is that the face value script, is only the first step in making a film. Photography, lighting, design and sound, can contribute immensely to the idea the film is trying to portray. Without the help of the cinematic elements, the film is either very obvious and uninteresting, or without a point to make. This might work sometimes, but is mostly just annoying.

Most films can be divided into four creation phases and comprise five separate but interacting artistic elements. In a good film one finds a combination of these artistic elements, brought into interaction during the different creation phases of the film to endow the film with a deeper meaning or to strengthen the ideas the films director has expressed in the script.

Creation Phases
These are the stages that bring a film from idea to existence
Artistic Elements
These are the words of the cinematic language
From the idea to the script Mise en Scene
From the script to the storyboard Acting and Directing
On the set Photography and Lighting
Mayhem (also known as post production) Sound and Music
- Editing

Standing true to Murphy's Law no film ever progresses through these exact stages. For sanity's sake, it's nice to think there's some order though, so there you have it.

Also - Take a look at this great site about Film Production.

Music Headpage Literature Headpage Thoughts Headpage Sandy Pit

I guess this is the place to put the link to the most amazing film site on the web - the IMDb Logo IMDb for short

This page last modified on - Friday, August 14, 1998.