Looking Deeper Into “Good Will Hunting”

Fun Facts from WIKIPEDIA

  1. The movie staring Matt Damon, Robin Williams  and Ben Affleck was actually written by Damon and Affleck.
  2. It was originally suppose to be a Thriller 
  3. It was filmed in location, Greater Boston area
  4. “The therapy scene took everyone by surprise. According to Damon’s commentary in the DVD version of the film, this caused Johnny (the cameraman) to laugh so hard that the camera’s POV can actually be seen moving up and down slightly as it shows Damon breaking character by also laughing so hard. “
 Genre:
 Although the film was originally suppose to be a thriller, the focus being the FBI pursuit of Will as a g-man. The writer drop that to focus on Will and the therapists relationship. The movie is now a drama. “Dramas are serious, plot-driven presentations, portraying realistic characters, settings, life situations, and stories involving intense character development and interaction” (http://www.filmsite.org/genres.html) . An in fact this movie focuses on the development and growth of Will through this therapist
Other Clips showing that the two men are in fact equal. Notice that the two switch sides of the screen… indicating again that one is not more/less positive than the other. Now , see how in all three clips the POV is at eye level with the characters… as an audience, we are equal to the characters. We are seeing things as they unfold, like we are there. It helps create the genre of “drama” because the movie seems more “life-like”.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zW4VA9a9VM&feature=plcp

Reading A Clip from “Good Will Hunting” Park Scene

 

Take One: No Audio

  • Opening the two men are sitting on a park bench. Old man is on the right, younger on left (we are looking at their back)
  • They are in the foreground and in the center of the screen suggest a one perspective camera shot
  • cut to older man
  • cut to younger man at right angle
  • back to older at eye level
  • background activity is blurred
  • slow move zoom out incorporating the younger, first you see his hair, nose, then profile … maybe a pan zoom out?
  • older is still main focus
  • shot is reversed… cut to younger man full face while the older man profile (older man is talking)
  • shot is reversed back again.. profile of younger
  • reversed again.. older profile (see the young swallowing a lot)
  • reversed> ending on the younger’s profile
  • older man stands up
  • camera moves to encompass younger’s face
  • cut to back of bench same as opening shot, but there is only on person (the younger on the bench)

Take Two: No Visual

  •  overly crowded with background noise , cars , birds, wind
  • younger man talk fast being insulted, old man talks slow challenging
  • Older man is talking about experiences, art …. what is life? deep , contemplation
  • purposeful breathes that make this monologues powerful
  • here the man get up and walk away on the line “your move chief” – a challenge to the younger man to stop hiding behind books and being to show himself

Take Three: Complete Clip

  •  as the monologue becomes more intense about love and death, the profile of the younger is showed while the older continues to list life experience.
  • Switch to full younger man/profile older is when the older man directly insults the younger “I see a cocky, scared, shitless kid”
  • The younger is no longer able to answer question, while before he had a snappy comeback / defense response… all he can do is look down and swallow
  • shot is reversed
  • Shot reversed – “Talk about you, who you are, I’m in”
  • Shot reversed – analysis
  • eyes look tears, swallows a lot more
  • music of sad contemplation as we see him on the bench alone.

Analysis of Clip

According to Ebert at the beginning of the clip when we see the two men sitting on the bench, the older is on the right and the younger is on the left. This might suggest the older as being correct, protagonist ; while the younger might be view as negative. However, I don’t believe that is the case, because when we get into the scene, the men are never shown sitting from the front which would indicate the reverse. Instead, I think the editor was trying to show that these men are a team, that one is not more negative than the other. In fact, we looked at both characters straight on and only their faces, suggest we are part of their conversation .. not just on lookers from afar. We are suppose to be able to sympathize with both characters, because they are held on equal grounds and neither one is played as positive/negative.

There was a lot of cutting back and forth between faces, however it was clear that the younger boy was cut to only when being directly challenged . This indicated that impact on the older’s man words on the younger man. When the older man was speaking the real aspects of life, aspects you can tell he has experiences due to the rhythm of his speech and the amount of meaningful pauses, the focus is on him. In both men, we feel a sense of pain.  it is particularly important to note the change in the younger man from the beginning of the clip to the end. Ending the scene exactly the way it started was telling of the older man’s warning that he is here to help, but the younger man is alone until he seeks the help.

Movie Editing Thoughts

How to Read Movie

I appreciate that Ebert emphasis that it one doesn’t have to be well versed in movie speak to be able to analyze screen shots. I believe movie reading is much like design elements, you use them every day, you understand them, but you have never put a name to those ideas. Here are just some of the highlights from the blog:

Right = Positive v. Left = Negative

  • movement right is therefore positive. Possibly moving forward

Top is dominant over the bottom

Foreground is stronger than background

Symetry = rest, peace v. Diagonals = moving, unbalance

POV above a character’s eyeline reduces hime, below the eyeline enhances him

Check out some videos about editing:

1. Kubrick’s One Perspective

  • looking head on with main focus/character in the middle of the shots

2. Examples of Editing Techniques

  • slow motion/ montage > feeling of importance, power of music
  • wipe transition > (I didn’t like this much- felt like a power point), does emphasis change in location
  • still/thaw frame > used as a begining (might be good if narration occurs)
  • form cut > slow motion takes you to a different place
  • flash cut > fast back and forth between characters
  • Fast motion/time compression > 24 hours in 30 seconds
  • tempo/rhythm >titling or movement of camera
  • freeze frame > similar to still/thaw frame except used as an ending

3. Twenty Cinematic Techniques

  • long take, doggicam
  • long take, tracking shot > following subject
  • long take, steady cam
  • extreme establishing shot
  • establishing shot
  • pan
  • low angle shot
  • crane up
  • dutch angle
  • frantic zoom
  • Point Of View
  • special effects
  • Slow Motion
  • Panoramic Travelling
  • Horizontal Panning
  • High Angle, Tilt, Slow Motion
  • Match cut
  • Spin
  • Limitless Zoom
  • Camera Spilt

4. Camera Angles and Techniques

  •  the zolly > disorienting visual experience  zooming in on with the camera and using a dolly to move in, subject feels removed from background
  • camera placement > creates dynamic, creates depth. EX: climbing a while by really adjusting camera angle

5. Hitchcock loves bikinis

 

  •  pure cinematics
  • cutting back and forth, showing showing character reaction to what he sees, you learn about the who the character is
  • editing the object of his thought can alter how you view the character
  • Hitchcock uses the example of man smiling, cut to baby, cut back v. man smiling, cut to woman in bikinis, cut back = man as a family man v. man as a creep

Design Elements/ Designblitz

Color

When I think of design elements color or the lack thereof is the first thing that comes to mind. Color is probably the most crucial element in fostering human emotion, by creating a mood. The color wheel is your best friend:

-Primary colors: Red, Yellow, Blue

-Secondary colors: Orange (R+Y), Green (Y+B), and Purple (R+B)

-Terceira colors: Red-Orange, Yellow-Orange, Yellow-Green, Blue-Green, Blue-Purple, Red-Purple

-Warm Colors: Red, Red-Orange, Orange, Yellow-Orange, Yellow, Yellow-Green

-Cool Colors: Green, Green-blue, blue, blue-purple, purple, red-purple

*Red, Green, and Grey can be warm or cool depending on saturation

  • Adding white creates tints (x-axis), adding black creates shades (y-axis)
  • Hue is what color, Saturation is how intense the color is, the value is how light/dark a color is
  • Color Schemes
    • Monochromatic – everything is the same hue, but different tints/shades
    • Analogous- colors that are next to each other in the color wheel
    • Complimentary – colors directly opposite the color wheel

Color doesn’t always mean childish, primitive, or wild color can actually display sophistication and elegant better than black and white.

Designblitz:

This is the color scheme carried out throughout my room and bathroom. I learned that it is analogous color scheme with brown & white as my neutrals.  They are also warm colors.. mmmm cozy!

color

Typography

Is simply the arrangement of type. However, typography can affect the mood or tone of one’s message. Remember when you were learning to write and you were given that big paper with two lines and a dotted line in the middle? You were given that paper to help guide your type… type has five line that help guide the text (you already know the Cap Height/Cap line aka the top, x height/midline aka the dotted line, and the baseline aka the stop line) from learning letter writing.  But, remember when you wrote “y” or “g” and the tail of that extend down off the baseline. Although there wasn’t an actual line there on your paper, that line is called descender height/beardline. Furthermore, you probably never distinguished this but the Cap line and the Ascender height/topline are very different. Cap height is for capital letters, while ascender height is for those tall letters like “k” “t” or “h”. You probably never had a distinguishing line because these lines almost sit on top of each other.

When you “double space” your paper you are increasing the space between your lines. This is called leading.

Maybe you have played around with word or paint and you put a space in-between you letter in order to make the letters more distinct? This is called kerning.

Alignment: normal right (default/most common), left, center, justified (it spaces out to fill the margins)

Two common typeface classification  are “Serif” and “Sans-Serif”. “Serif – these typefaces are the more traditional ones. They are distinguished by a short line or finishing stroke on the end of character” http://psd.tutsplus.com/articles/techniques/a-20-minute-intro-to-typography-basics/) . Sans- Serif means “without serifs” or without the strokes at the end of the character.

Top 5 fonts not to use:

  1. Arial – old, comfortable, blah sans-serif
  2. Times New Roman- boring, has Serif, old and overused (but if your teacher requires it, t   hen just grin-and-bear-it) If you want to be classic, choose Verdana.
  3. Papyrus
  4. Comic Sans
  5. Curlz- way too over the top

Metaphors/symbols

                Often used to explain something unfamiliar in terms of the familiar (it is like). I really like this example from http://www.slideshare.net/dansaffer/the-role-of-metaphor-in-interaction-design

 

Affection is Warmth

-My love for her still smolders

-They gave me a warm welcome

-He’s a warm person

-It took a while to warm up to the topic

Think about all the metaphors/symbol you see on a daily bases – aka sign in particular road signs

Designblitz:

Look how confusing these road signs are! The symbols are extremely similar, yet suggest two very different things.

confusing signs

This is a UMW t-shirt for “d.o,t challenge” or “do one thing challenge” from last year. It suggests that I pledged to do one act of kindness a day.

metaphor

Minimalism and use of space

This is the idea that less is really more. In the design world we see people push and push to add more, but sometimes not adding more makes the message so much clear. Other times, the message is so obvious, but we have to think about it. Let’s face it …it’s more fun that way. Here is the low-down on minimalism

–          Have very few elements incorporated in them

–          Designer has to pickier and purposeful

–          Don’t be afraid of white space.. it is necessary and helps the viewer focus on the important elements

 

Form/function/message

Questions: How well the design convey it meaning, potential use, or real world object?

Affordance- how the actual design gives instruction or hint on how to use the object

User-centered design – primary focus is on functionality not aesthetics

When design keep in mind the key focus or function, then run the design past a friend or few… did you find a pitfall,  think about all the ways someone could logically misuse the design. FIX it!! Make it idiot proof!

Designblitz:

Seriously, who designed this building? There are four sets of stairs…but only one goes down to the basement to the laundry.

Bad Design

This metal lap gets so hot! Not a very smart design… why would you make a swivel neck to the lap if you can’t touch it!

function

Balance

Two forms:

  1. Symmetrical- evenly distributed weight of a composition around the central vertical or horizontal axis
  2. Asymmetrical-weight is not evenly distributed around a central axis.  Object balan one another with their respective visual weight- dominant effect.

Designblitz:

At the beginning of the year, I put up wall stickers. Who knew I had balance them symmetrically? I just felt that it looked good- both color, size and number are balanced.

wall art

Rhythm

When you think of rhythm, think of intervals. It can create a sense of movement or pattern.

  • Regular: A regular rhythm occurs when the intervals between the elements, and often the elements themselves, are similar in size or length.
  • Flowing: A flowing rhythm gives a sense of movement, and is often more organic in nature.
  • Progressive: A progressive rhythm shows a sequence of forms through a progression of steps.

http://www.digital-web.com/articles/principles_of_design/

Designblitz:

This is my chair! Look at how the intervals are evenly spaced creating a pattern. This is called regular rhythm.

chair

 Proportion

Is the scale of the element in relation to another element. It can create weight, depth, symmetry, etc.

Designblitz:

The apple is proportionally huge compared to the pumpkin and pinecone, yet they balance each other out.

porpotion

 

Dominance

Where is the emphasis in the design? It helps establish perspective. There are three stages of dominance.

  • Dominant: The object given the most visual weight, the element of primary emphasis that advances to the foreground in the composition.
  • Sub-dominant: The element of secondary emphasis, the elements in the middle ground of the composition.
  • Subordinate: The object given the least visual weight, the element of tertiary emphasis that recedes to the background of the composition.

Think about foreground, middle ground, bad ground.

Unity

Might be the most important element of design! It means that all the pieces come together to form something- concept, function, etc. Having unity gives the view a sense of wholeness and correctness. Without unity one gets a sense of variety, confusion, “something is missing”, which could be the purpose of the design.

Becoming A Better Photographer

Week 5 has been all about becoming a better photographer. Honestly, I have on of the largest limitations….I don’t have a camera! Luckily, in this day in age even the most low tech cellphone has a built in camera. I’ve been using the tiny, poor resolution camera on my phone. However, its been working. I learned that yes I can’t zoom and I can’t fight a lot into a frame..but I can still get the job done.

The tips I most appreciated from “How To Be A Better Photographer” was to get picker.  When I did the photblitz, I found myself struggling to complete the tasks within twenty minutes. I wanted to be picker, I wanted to take the same photograph from four different angles, but time did not permit. I ended up being a shutter bug and having to parcel through my photographs in order to match them up with a task. I’m hoping by fall break to have my real camera back, which will give me some room to play around more.

http://storify.com/cogdog/how-to-be-a-better-photographer

There is an awesome picture in this photograph slideshow which shows a man sleeping on the beach, a women walking her dog, and sailboats. I liked this photo in particular because of how it showed depth by placing a foreground in front of a background. There are maybe four layers to this photograph- the man in the foreground  women in the middle, and sailboats in the background at various distances. The depth lets me know that there are multiple stories going on in this one picture. The best part about that is, different people will focus on different events.

Contrasting is something that I believe can be seen in my Return to the Crime Scene photographs.The contrast between the black-and-white photograph with current day frame makes you curious about what that means…to me I get a sense of mystery and history. Imagine if that picture was colored….the effect would be “mmm okay”,  but now with the contrast you say “interesting, what does that mean”. Contrasting colors, ideas, or even things can have a different effect on viewer responses… the response generates questions, thoughts, and wonder.

Last thing that I personally recommend to any photographer is pay attention to shadows! Shadows are often seen as ruining a picture, but I think 99% of the time – it makes it. I love shadows. Firstly, you can manipulate a shadow by waiting for the light to change or by moving the object  that is casting the shadow. Secondly, sometimes you take a photograph and don’t realize that really the focal point is your shadow or your subjects shadow, now you have created depth. You can created  curiosity.  Often, if a shadow is not planned there is a good chance of you getting someone’s shadow doing some weird pose.  I like to think of shadows as Peter Pan’s shadow – alive and playful. The trick is noticing them and taking their photograph before they notice you and stop playing. You can see some of my shadow work in my photo-blitz slide show.

 

What is digital storytelling?

When I think of storytelling, I automatically envision sitting around the campfire talking about some amazing adventure or some life changing moment. In reality, I tell stories everyday all day when asked the simple question “What are you doing today?”   or “How do you feel?” . These trigger question normally incite a long monologue with some, hopefully, intriguing twists and turns.

“Digital” Storytelling seems to be telling a tale (fact or fiction/boring or not) with some sort of media. The media can be pictures, audio, blogging anything that seems digital. In its most basic form I believe texting or tweeting seem to be digital storytelling. The most notably different aspect of digital storytelling from normal storytelling in the substitution of emotion or tone with emoticons or colors. To me the best part about hearing a story is that expression, the mood, the way you can visualize it. In digital storytelling one would use awesome technology to express the mood, etc.