Time Traveling in Movies: A Very Complicated Plot Device Explained

If you’ve ever wanted to make a film about time travel, you might want to brush up on how different filmmakers have made sense of it in their work.

Time travel movies are—awesome—we know this—but what makes them so interesting has less to do with the awesomeness of time travel as a narrative concept and more to do with the awesomeness of time travel as a plot device. (Did I mention that time travel is awesome and also has loads of awesomeness?)

There are so many films about time travel, from the silly (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) to the dramatic (Looper), and each one deals with the concept in different ways and for different purposes. In this video, Henry Reich of MinutePhysics, my second favorite science channel on YouTube, analyzes time travel in film and literature to determine how it functions in the hands of different writers and filmmakers. On its own, it’s an incredibly fascinating video, but if you look at it through the lens of storytelling, you can learn how adding a wrinkle in time can not only open up new narrative passageways for your time traveling characters but for your audience as well.

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Classic Video Sounds Explained by Experts

Four video game sound designers dissect the sound effects of the world’s most recognizable video game sounds. This is a fascinating look at the limitations of early video games and they philosophy and psychology of how these sounds were used to reward the player. Part 1 covers games from 1972-1998: Part 2 covers games from […]

The post Classic Video Sounds Explained by Experts appeared first on FilmmakerIQ.com.


‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’: The Bond Between General Leia and Poe Dameron Explained

Carrie Fisher The Last Jedi

In the Star Wars: The Last Jedi behind-the-scenes sizzle reel that debuted at this year’s D23 Expo, Carrie Fisher said the upcoming sequel is powerful because “it’s about family.” Sadly, her words have taken on a whole new meaning in the wake of her sudden death at the end of last year: it will now be about watching the final time this actress – who, for many fans, has felt like a part of their pop culture family for 30 years – steps into the role of Princess-turned-General Leia, one of the most iconic sci-fi heroes ever conceived.

In Entertainment Weekly’s latest barrage of Star Wars news, there’s a story about the bond Leia shares with Oscar Isaac‘s Resistance pilot Poe Dameron, her impact on his growth as a leader, and the vulnerable place we find the Resistance at the start of the new film.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson says that Leia’s character “to some degree or another has been defined by loss through this whole saga, starting with the loss of her home planet. She’s just taken hit after hit, and she’s borne it, and she focuses on moving forward and the task at hand.” In The Last Jedi, Leia is mourning the death of her husband Han Solo, who was murdered at the hands of their son, Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren. The suffering the character has gone through is something that Johnson spoke to Carrie about when he started writing Episode 8.

We’ve previously been told that despite Fisher’s death, her role will not be retroactively changed in this film. But according to Johnson, “watching the film, there’s going to be a very emotional reaction to what she does in this movie.” We’ve also heard that Leia’s impact will be felt for years to come, even though she may never appear on screen in a Star Wars movie again.

Leia’s character in The Last Jedi has a special relationship with X-wing pilot Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac. Poe is “in some ways a surrogate son for Leia,” Isaac tells EW. “But also I think she sees in him the potential for a truly great leader of the Resistance and beyond.” It seems as if Leia is encouraging Poe to take up more of a leadership role in the Resistance:

“Poe’s arc is one of evolving from a heroic soldier to a seasoned leader, to see beyond the single-mindedness of winning the battle to the larger picture of the future of the galaxy,” Isaac says. “I think Leia knows she won’t be around forever and she, with tough love, wants to push Poe to be more than the badass pilot, to temper his heroic impulses with wisdom and clarity.”

Don’t expect the Resistance to fill that void of the Republic, who were destroyed by the Starkiller Base in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Johnson says the Resistance is “a small band that’s now cut off, on its own, and hunted when the Republic is shattered.” The fact that the republic is no more means that the Resistance is “isolated, and they’re very, very vulnerable.” And while the First Order took a huge hit at the end of Episode 7, they are still a massive organization primed to take over the galaxy.

And don’t expect a slow build, either. Johnson mentions that the heat is “immediately turned up on the Resistance,” with everyone being “put in a pressure cooker right away, and relationships crack and strain under that pressure.” I wonder if that includes any friction between Leia and Poe?

Laura Dern The Last Jedi

Meanwhile, Laura Dern’s character, Vice Admiral Holdo, is a commander in the Resistance who likely has a history with Leia Organa. Johnson says part of the fun of this movie is figuring out what Holdo’s relationship is with the other characters in the film. Is she an adversary or a friend? The behind the scenes video that was released at D23 Expo shows Leia and Hondo having what appears to be a very friendly meeting, but maybe there is some underlying deception going on within this small but growing resistance? We do know at some point in the film she picks up a blaster and gets in the middle of some intense action.

The Last Jedi should mark the final time we’ll see Fisher on screen as General Leia; Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy revealed that Episode 9 co-writer/director Colin Trevorrow started over with that script following her death and she won’t be a part of that sequel, so we’ll cherish seeing her one last time in a galaxy far, far away later this year.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in theaters on December 15, 2017.

The post ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’: The Bond Between General Leia and Poe Dameron Explained appeared first on /Film.


Watch: The 180-Degree Rule Explained in Less than 2 Minutes

This is one of the first and most important fundamentals you learn in film school. Why not learn it from this 2-minute video, tuition free?

If your professor isn’t too tired/frazzled/hungover to just toss a syllabus on your desk and call it good, your first day of film school is most likely going to include a lesson on the 180-degree rule. This filmmaking fundamental is key in keeping the spacial continuity of your film clear and concise, which will in turn keep your audience from being confused about what’s happening on-screen. In this short video from Fandor, you get to learn all the basics of the 180-degree rule, how to follow it, and how to break it for dramatic effect.

The thing about the 180-degree rule is that it’s pretty simple in theory: draw an imaginary line down the center of the action and then only shoot from one side. Bam! Easy! However, in practice it’s a little more difficult than that, because it’s easy for things to get confusing once all of the cameras, tripods, lights, actors, and crew members are buzzing around on set.

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‘Batman and Bill’ Trailer: The Truth About the Creation of Batman Explained in a New Documentary

Batman and Bill Trailer

Everyone thinks Bob Kane is the sole creator of Batman. What the new documentary Batman and Bill presupposes is, maybe he’s not.

Even though Bob Kane is frequently and historically associated with the creation of Batman, the more educated comic book fans now know that many of the signature elements of Batman’s long comic book history were created by another man named Bill Finger. But why is his name not nearly as synonymous with the creation of The Dark Knight? A new documentary explores why Finger was omitted from Batman’s history and only just recently started getting the credit that he’s due.

Watch the Batman and Bill trailer below.

As the trailer explains, though Bob Kane had the initial idea to create a superhero who was quite the opposite of DC Comics’ Big Blue Boy Scout known as Superman, all of the signature traits of Batman’s comic book adventures came from Bill Finger. Not only did Finger create Batman’s trademark design and draw his stories, he was responsible for creating some key pieces of The Caped Crusader’s mythology. Robin, The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler, Scarecrow, Commissioner Gordon, Gotham City and much more were all added into Batman’s universe by Bill Finger.

Thankfully, since 2015, Bill Finger has started receiving prominent credit for his pivotal contributions to the creation of Batman, even appearing in the credits for Gotham and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and presumably anything associated with Batman from here on out.

But how does a man who is so integral to the creation of one of the most revered superheroes of all time get shoved to the side and almost forgotten by comic book history? That’s the story that Batman and Bill is setting out to tell, inspired by author Marc Tyler Nobleman‘s endeavor to make sure Bill Finger got credit for his work, which he chronicled in the book Bill The Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman.

In addition to Nobleman, plenty of comic book historians, artists, Batman experts (like comic writer and filmmaker Kevin Smith) and more appear in the documentary to talk about this tragic tale of ignorance in the creation of Batman that went on for far too long.

Everyone thinks that Bob Kane created Batman, but that’s not the whole truth. One author makes it his crusade to seek justice for Bill Finger, a struggling writer who was the key figure in creating the iconic superhero, from concept to costume to the very character we all know and love. Bruce Wayne may be Batman’s secret identity, but his creator was always a true mystery.

Batman and Bill will be available to watch on Hulu on May 6.

The post ‘Batman and Bill’ Trailer: The Truth About the Creation of Batman Explained in a New Documentary appeared first on /Film.


Video: 15 Beats of a Classic Story Structure Explained

How do Hollywood screenwriters structure a screenplay?

There’s no such thing as “the right way” to write a script, but there are certainly well-trodden paths that countless professional screenwriters take to craft certain story structures. And though these structures might seem overused or formulaic, they do provide a great framework for new writers to cut their teeth on. In this video from The Film Look, we get to take a look at Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth, or The Hero’s Journey, which is one of the most common story templates, to not only learn what it is and how it works, but to also see how it unfolds in other films as well.

Maybe the best way to start talking about this is by explaining exactly what a “beat” is. Well, a beat is the smallest unit of measurement in a screenplay represented by an event, major decision, or important piece of new information. A beat sheet, or as they call it in the video, a “beat list,” is a breakdown of every important moment that occurs in your screenplay in the order in which they occur.

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Watch: Ingenious Camera Movement, Explained in One Superb Video Essay

This detailed video essay analyzes brilliant instances of camera movement.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a camera movement is worth three thousand. In fact, so much information and emotion can be communicated through camera movement that many top directors prefer to let their cameras, rather than their characters, speak the film’s most important lines.

As all great directors and cinematographers know, the camera has agency. It can whisper, yell, stalk, cope, abandon, and decide to hide information or to reveal it. It can even wander through scenes, becoming a character unto itself.

A new video essay by CineFix breaks down dozens of brilliant uses of camera movement in contemporary and classic cinema, revealing their motivations and intended effects. From Star Trek to Soy Cuba to Reservoir Dogs, CineFix shows that, when the invisible artifice of the moving camera is suddenly unveiled, important information can be embedded within the movement.

Below, we break down Cinefix’s five examples of camera movement types.

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