In the Secret Language of Film, students learned to break down a story line to the simplest, three-part plot, based on the film angle and minute changes inside the shot. They looked at innovations of the earliest filmmakers who had to develop techniques of film acting that are distinct from acting on a stage. These early filmmakers, such as Thomas Edison, learned how to manipulate camera angles, eye angles, and facial expressions to tell stories.
As homework, students will create their own three-part story, using the storyboard format.
The exercise will help the students as they examine the development of a “film grammar” and learn to make meaning out of film’s language. Like the early filmmakers, the students will be experimenting with subtle changes that can make huge changes in a story. The shot, or camera angle, itself doesn’t change. But inside that framework, the varieties of stories are endless. At the same time, they questioned how much of “film language” is learned or innate. Can’t wait to see the stories they develop!