Monday Starters #10

A collection of links, fun and serious, on film and culture, to start the week.

Art

Web Gallery of Art

‘The Web Gallery of Art is a virtual museum and searchable database of Western (European) fine arts of the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, and Impressionism periods (1000-1900), currently containing over 31.100 reproductions.’

‘Still-Life of Books’ by Jan Davidsz de Heem, 1628

Academic

Dziga Vertov “Man with a Movie Camera” by Denisa Krausova

‘Vertov envisions a dynamic, mobile and slightly chaotic urban/industrial world that necessitates an improved cinematic eye, kino-oko, for a viewer to capture it all. Influenced by futurism and the Russian avant garde, he celebrates progress, movement, strength and shape, but adds his own cinematographic aesthetics in which the film as medium is inseparable fromits content and message.’

‘Vertov’s enchantment film reflects in his playfulness and experimentation with the material. He layers, crosscuts and tilts the film to create special effects and enhance the narrative. He consistently uses the camera’s full potential, and carefully select the right feature for individual subject: fast panning or cutting when evoking high pace (work, development, growth), slow motion to understand human and animal body in motion, stopping, tracking and handheld movement.’

‘Man With a Movie Camera’

Audience

Social Facilitation

The audience effect – could you improve your writing by imagining an audience, or the opposite – forgetting about an audience?

Campaign

Support an indie production –

The Unknown 

‘The Unknown is a drama/scifi web-series, in which a group of survivors wake up in a desolate town with no memory of who they are, or why they’re there. The only remnant of his previous existence is a security for a company he knows nothing about and a photo of a wife and child he does not remember having. As he explores the town he find himself violently pursued by a group that call themselves The Guardians who attempt to drag everyone into an area known only as Zone A. Elliot knows nothing of why this is happening, only that his only hope of survival is to join others like him who are on the run and seeking the truth.
The Unknown is made by scifi fans, for scifi fans!’

Character

How to Write Fiction: Andrew Miller on creating characters

‘At its simplest, its barest, characterisation is about a writer’s grasp of what a human being is. When we set out to write, we do not do so out of a sense of certainty but out of a kind of radical uncertainty. We do not set out saying: “The world is like this.” But asking: “How is the world?” In creating characters we are posing to ourselves large, honest questions about our nature and the nature of those about us.’

Event

London Screenwriting Research Seminar

6th December at The Institute of English Studies, London

‘The seminar explores the study of the screenplay and the practice of screenwriting as an academic discipline and object of scholarly enquiry.  We explore the nature of writing for the moving image in the broadest sense, from a broad range of possible methodologies and approaches, considering in particular: the history and poetics of the form, contextual analysis, the process of writing for the moving image, and the relationship of word and image in the production process.’

Fun

Inspiration

Top artists reveal how to find creative inspiration from The Guardian

‘An idea never comes to me suddenly; it sits inside me for a while, and then emerges. When I’m preparing for a particular character, I look for ideas about her wherever I can. When I first danced Giselle, I found Lars von Trier’s film Dancer in the Dark incredibly inspiring. It was so dark, and it felt just like a modern-day version of Giselle – the story of a young woman taken advantage of by others. It brought the part alive for me. Now when I talk to others who are playing Giselle, they sometimes say they’re worried that it feels like a parody, and not relevant to today. I tell them to watch that film and see how modern it can be.’ – Tamara Rojo, ballet dancer

‘Lede’

Blog the 5th: The Screenwriter’s Lede

‘While teaching an entry-level news writing course, one of my college journalism professors described two kinds of news writers: Those who can get past their lede, and those who can’t.

The lede – journo-speak for “lead” – simply refers to the opening paragraph of a news story. Ideally, your lede delivers the most bare-bones, essential version of the facts while establishing both the Raison d’être and tone for the rest of the story. Without an intriguing (or in the very least, sound) lede, you’ve lost your reader from the get-go.’

Podcast

BAFTA Archives

Hear the best talent from the film, TV and games industries speak about their craft in this series of Q&As, lectures, interviews and tributes.

Recordings of BAFTA events from between 2009 and 2012, including talks that have been digitised and restored from the BAFTA archive.

Speakers include Tom Hanks, Anthony Minghella, Peter Weir, Sydney Pollack, Russell T. Davies, Robert Altman, Ronan Bennett, Terry Gilliam, Pedro Almadovar, Ang Lee, Peter Morgan, Martin Scorsese, Aline Brosh McKenna, Duncan Jones, and many others.

Psychology

Psychologists find that anger leads to optimism, from io9

Two psychology researchers had a simple question: How do emotions influence our decisions? What they discovered was a strong association between two emotions we don’t normally connect. People who were angry made choices that were just as optimistic as those made by happy people.

‘Fearful individuals consistently made relatively pessimistic judgments and choices, whereas both happy and angry individuals consistently made relatively optimistic judgments and choices.’

Routine

Daily Routines of Famous Writers from The Paris Review archives

I like the slowness of writing by hand. Then I type it up and scrawl all over that. And keep on retyping it, each time making corrections both by hand and directly on the typewriter, until I don’t see how to make it any better.

– Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag

Screenwriter

Frank Darabont on writing.

The one mistake the lesser film adaptations often have made in the past is they really think it’s about ‘Stephen King’, it’s about spooky, it’s about the scares… and they forget about the characters. They don’t really focus on that. To me that’s what Stephen’s work is – that’s what makes it most compelling. So I’m always in pursuit of those characters and let the other stuff be the caboose of the train rather than the engine. And that’s true of any piece of work that I do. I’m always most interested in the characters and exploring who those people are, why they are, how they are, and what is that compelling them to do or not do.

Writing talk starts 1:20 into the clip.

Sound

The Sound of Inception

Writer-director Christopher Nolan likes to be involved in the sound mix; he enjoys it and wants to play with ideas.

He wants it to be bold and aggressive and startling and fresh and new. Chris is great at encouraging us to push beyond those typical ways of dealing with things.

– Richard King (Supervising Sound Editor / Sound Designer)

He makes these suspenseful movies that will emotionally grab you and will sonically do the same whether it’s through some deep unique sound design element, or whether it’s through effective score, or whether it’s through even the simplicity of the mix.

– Garry Rizo (Re-recording Mixer)

©Warner Bros.

Stuck

25 Ways to Unstick a Stuck Story by Chuck Wendig

’11. Steal Your Protagonist’s Shoes Then Make Him Walk On Glass

Storytelling is an act of cruelty. We are cruel to our characters because to be kind is to invite boredom, and boredom in storytelling is synonymous with big doomy death-shaped death. So: be cruel to your protagonist. Rob him of something. Something important. Something he needs. A weapon. An asset. A piece of knowledge. A loved one. A DELICIOUS PIE. Take it away! Force him to operate without it. Conflict reinvigorates stale stories. New conflict, or old conflict that has evolved and grown teeth.’

Twitter

@LaFamiliaFilm

In their own words: Author, Screenwriter, Filmmaker. A child of Marx and Coca Cola who strives to be Terrence Malick when he grows up (or David_Lynch, I haven’t decided yet).

Visuals

Photographer and cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitsky talks about what makes a good photograph, from Web of Stories.

Wolfgang Suschitzky; Hampstead Heath Fair, 1948

Writing

Elmore Leonard: The Story-Writing Process

Quote

‘Discipline allows magic. To be a writer is to be the very best of assassins. You do not sit down and write every day to force the Muse to show up. You get into the habit of writing every day so that when she shows up, you have the maximum chance of catching her, bashing her on the head, and squeezing every last drop out of that bitch.’

― Lili St. Crow
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