This workshop, attended at the Filmschool of Amsterdam was a couple of months ago, luckily I’ve written down the notes for it. During the negotiations with our former moviemaker I had also a couple of workshops on the preproduction and postproduction of a movie.This workshop was particularly for montaging principles that you could use and why and when you should use them, also with a little help from some links I found.
During this workshop we talked about two types of cuts in a movie, sensible cuts and non-sensible cuts. But before we get into these there should be a small explanation or digression of movie theory. Let’s talk a little bit on how a movie can be dissected.
Three Acts Paradigm
Almost every movie can be divided into three main parts, derived from the theory that was created all the way back to the Greek philosopher Aristotle and is called the Three Acts Paradigm. This says that every story has in the basics three parts:
- During this act all the major characters get introduced, the setting of the movie will be shown and the confrontation or problem of the main character will be introduced. This act could also be called the introduction because it introduces all the main elements of the movie.
- The confrontation is by far the longest act. This is where the story gets unfolded. Here the stakes escalate. The last part of this act is mostly a situation where “all hope seems lost”. Just before going to the next act, which is the resolution act.
- Mostly this is the shortest part. The part where the final confrontation with the villain is being played. The last fight of Bane and Batman in Dark Knight Rises for example.
The two types of Cuts
- Sensible cuts
- Non-sensible cuts
Montage is all about cuts. But why even cut? Well there are practical and dramatical reasons to do this.
There are a couple of practical reasons to cut. Cutting, montage or editing is what makes a movie come to live. The two practical reasons to cut are to:
- Turn to another scene
- Keeping moving persons and object in the view
You want to make your audience feel a certain thing. Here you can also play with the montage of your movie. How you montage it is closely linked on what of an impression people get from it. A very quick edit you often see in action scenes and improves the feeling of excitement of the watcher. Here are the main two reasons that I got from the workshop that could help to dramatise your movie/plot.
- Letting the audience show the imagery from another perspective (literally as figuratively)
- Relation aspect plays a part
- Shots have impact of each other, This is otherwise seen as the Kuleshov effect.
The Kuleshov effect is a very interesting effect documented by Lev Kuleshov, a filmmaker in the early 20th century. This has everything to do with the editing of a movie. When a neutral face is been displayed and the next shot is food, we perceive the person as being hungry. When the next shot is a woman, we think the person is in love or when the next shot is a graveyard we tend to think that the person is sad. So we link the way of editing or the way the montage was done subconsciously to an emotional attribute we give the person on the screen.
Some of the principles of this workshop I knew already, but it was a good refreshing of my memory. I try to implement this in the movie we are going to make, so this might be a very handy refreshment to have. To see the movie I’ve made for the crowdfunding campaign click here.