Posts tagged ‘learning from films’

April 29, 2011

Watching Movies from a Critical Point of View

The first time you watch a movie, just watch it. Let yourself get lost in the experience of the film. That’s why we screenwriters work in this business — because we know the power of film to transport, to transform, and to transcend.

The second or third go ’round, bring a critical eye to your viewing experience in order to improve your craft and your film knowledge. Here’s how the Script Lab suggests us writers watch a film:

Many films are made to entertain. But cinema can also educate, indoctrinate, or propagate by allowing us to experience multiple perspectives: cultural, political, or ideological. Hence, we subscribe to the so-called experts, but who’s to say the average moviegoer can’t add to the discussion. Enlightenment is often a product of hard work and practice, so for the aspiring home-based couch “critics”, here is what to study when watching a movie:

(1) Screenplay. Hitchcock said, “The three most vital elements in any good film are the script, the script, the script.” And watching a movie in the right way can teach you a ton about how to structure “the script”. One of the best ways is to watch the clock as you go. At about 12 – 15 minutes in, you should hit the inciting incident. 24 -30 minutes – the character is locked-in, propelling him into the Second Act tension. The practical experience of seeing and analyzing the parts of a script, with stopwatch in hand, is key to identify major plot points, three act structure, and the eight sequences in a film.

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