Posted in Chapter 7, tagged Daredevil, Drew Goddard, Foggy Nelson, Karen Page, Matt Murdock, screenwriting, Steven DeKnight, The Frame, Wally Wood on April 30, 2015|
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Leaping at you!
This weekend, free comic book day is arriving and we are about to be hit with the Age of Ultron juggernaut. Meanwhile, for some time now, superhero tales have been popping inventively through the channels of television as well, including the current franchises of DC’s The Arrow and The Flash, among others. Recently, Marvel’s Daredevil has joined the fray courtesy of Netflix, ready for being devoured in hours of bingeing. (One student in a class discussion about sports asked if among winter sports in which he takes part one could consider binge-watching because it’s a sort of competition and includes a variety of skills in order to master its intricacies and emerge a victor from among friends.) The Daredevil TV series, created by Drew Goddard, has garnered quite a strong fan reaction for its clever retelling of the comic’s 1960’s origin story and successive development by writer Stan Lee and artists including Bill Everett and influential maverick creator Wally Wood.
Karen Page, Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson: you make it with your characters
For those interested in an interesting screenwriting lesson, this recent podcast on The Frame with show runner Steven DeKnight features many compelling discussion points and revealing commentary about scripting television series, including story structure and character development — and how they are dependent on episode length, platform, and target audiences. DeKnight also discusses details about the content of the show and how tone and violence were key issues for the show’s creators to consider.
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Posted in Chapter 1, tagged Breaking Bad, Douglas Slocombe, Extension 765, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Steven Soderbergh, Steven Spielberg, The Fearless Vampire Killers, Vince Gilligan, Visual Literacy on April 17, 2015|
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For a lesson in the art of directing from American master Steven Spielberg, here is an educational exercise courtesy of another American master, Steven Soderbergh. On his site Extension 765, Soderbergh has taken the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark and posted a version of it in which he has removed the color and replaced the entire soundtrack with a contemporary — and very Soderberghian — score, in order to study the staging, pace, and other visual elements of Spielberg’s direction. And, yes, Raiders looks superb in black and white, thanks to its cinematographer Douglas Slocombe (still alive at 103 years old!), who also shot such classics as Rollerball, The Lion in Winter, The Lavender Hill Mob, The Man in the White Suit, and one of my all-time favorites, The Fearless Vampire Killers. If you ever wondered what Raiders of the Lost Ark would look like as a silent film, this is it! And if you are looking to see how others have learned lessons from the directing (and cinematography and editing) skills of Mr. Steven Soderbergh, look no further than that little TV show Breaking Bad. For my money, Vince Gilligan and his colleagues must have spent a fair amount of time watching various examples of Soderbergh’s work to find inspiration for Breaking Bad from the tone, pace, atmosphere, and other elements of style in a number of his best movies.
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That’s not really what they say in French to begin a take, but it will work on this occasion. In fact, the “cinématographe” was the groundbreaking device invented by Louis Lumière, working with his brother Auguste, over 120 years ago. To mark this 120th anniversary of the birth of projected movies and the inventions, innovations, and visions of the Lumière brothers, the Institut Lumière based in Lyon, France has partnered with the Grand Palais in Paris to create an exhibition “dedicated to the flagship inventions of the Lyon-based pioneers of cinema, Louis and Auguste Lumière.”
Rachel Donadio, writing in the New York Times, states “Back before Instagram and selfies, before home movies and Kodachrome — and long before the obsessive documentation and online sharing of every moment of our waking lives — there were two brothers from Lyon whose innovations opened the door to the future.” It is appropriate that this exhibit is in Paris, where the brothers held the first paid public screening of their movies on December 28, 1895 at the Grand Café, and where they screened large-format 75mm films at the Universal Exhibition of 1900. Check out this thorough article from the New York Times for an introduction to these inspiring filmmakers, or of course consult the pages in Chapter 2 of Moving Images that describe their place in moving image history.
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