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Posts Tagged ‘movie moment’

Not all films have wide release. There are some truly special, unique treasures found at film festivals that you may never have the chance to see again. You’ve shared the moment with a relatively few number of people in various screening rooms around the world. A shared, temporal experience… and some of those films will have long lasting, penetrating memories.

I wish I could see The Boy Who Walked Backwards again. In such a short duration, the film effectively and memorably addresses the hurt that people can’t visually see when missing someone who has died, and the unplanned leadership position that can be thrust onto anyone at any time due to life events. A tough subject approached with such charm and compassion that I still remember images in my mind today, many years later… for how the boy learns to face his loss is something we need to do in life over and over again for the many losses and changes in our own lives.

If you ever get the chance, watch the film and you’ll understand too.

In the meantime, have a great festival season!

Cheers & memorable movies to you,
Deb

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We treasure on-screen characters like they are real persons, often assuming them to be alternative personalities of the performers who play them. Yet…

All the elements of filmmaking come together to create memorable on-screen characters from the writer’s invention and the initial casting choice through the magic created on set to the choice of shots in editing, including which shots are juxtaposed on either side, and the soundscape.

Memorable scenes can exist outside of both key story points and of memorable characters, and yet it is the characters themselves that bring us back, wanting to see more. With those characters we make a connection.

In honour of the last Harry Potter movie this weekend, here’s a look at 7 memorable characters of the first Harry Potter movie (“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”):

1. Harry Potter – Of course. A surprisingly average wizard with a few extraordinary talents and an admirably uncorrupted heart; oh, to have his resilience amid such darkness!

 2. Dumbledore – Classic master of magic with great kindness and who inspires deep trust; of all the scenes, we anticipate the Dumbledore/Harry scenes the most.

3. Ron Weasley – Earnest and real; he’s the only one who can ask to see Harry’s scar and the question doesn’t make Harry (or us) uncomfortable.

4. Hermione Granger – She makes an interesting choice that defines her future in Gryffindor as opposed to Ravenclaw, for her bravery exceeds her vast, enviable intelligence, and this brings us closer to her.

5. Fred & George Weasley – Hard to picture them as separate characters (and they like it that way); they embody the laughter that is essential in life and especially amid darkness; how the imp in all of us would love to get away with what they get away with!

6. Severus Snape – His presence fills the room; vastly intelligent, temperamental, and it appears a depth of character yet well hidden but sneaks out now and then; a worthy adversary to Harry, and one anticipates their verbal sparring

7. Rubeus Hagrid – More than the “gentle giant”, he has such staunch loyalty that helps him to earn a spot amid the brave folk of Gryffindor, and when it comes to creatures, a totally refreshing opinion of what is beautiful.

Again, this is my person list, and your list may differ. Still, it obviously takes an ensemble of characters to create the story moments. Scenes exist in that “space” between characters as they interact (or in the interaction between character and setting).

How many memorable characters are in your script? How can you make your characters more memorable through the various elements of filmmaking from prep to post?

Cheers & happy invention to you,
Deb

P.S. For more Harry Potter “lists”, the Hollywood Reporter a number of “25 Surprising Facts”:

* About Wizard’s Wands & Props

* About Costume & Animal Facts

* About Set Minatures & Franchise Offspring

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It is said that with 7 memorable scenes in a movie – I mean really memorable, magical scenes – then the movie has great potential to do well.

In honour of the last Harry Potter movie coming out, I thought to examine this idea using the first Harry Potter movie. If any movie were filled with memorable, magical scenes, then I believe this one would be it. The trick in this case is to identify the scenes of the movie, not the scenes of the book…. because reading the book is a very different experience from watching the movie.

So, here, for “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”…

  1. The Harry Potter theme music over mist in the darkness and the first magic of Dumbledore & McGonagall
  2. Olivander facilitates the “twin” wand choosing Harry
  3. Through the wall and arriving on platform 9 3/4 to see the Hogwarts Express
  4. Harry, Ron and Hermione meet on the train over candy, spells and a dirty nose
  5. Snape explains the subtlety, fame & glory of potions… and labels Harry a celebrity
  6. In the great hall at the end, Neville earns the winning 10 points
  7. Hagrid gives Harry the photo album of wizard photos of Harry & his parents

Aha! Are these memorable moments different from yours? Hard to keep it to only seven?

Identifying the most memorable & magical scenes in your script will help to identify where and when to spend the production’s budget to maximize “getting the magic on the screen”. I’m not talking about “getting the story on the screen” – which is also a requirement of the focus of the budget – but finding the moments where the viewer’s thoughts are going to linger after leaving the theatre.

This list also shows us that allocating the production budget wisely may mean to allocate funds to special effects (the obvious) but also to time spent in rehearsal and on set to find the magic in the quiet moments or in dialogue between characters.

Since filmmaking is a collaborative art, explore (with the creative team) where the memorable moments may lie in your script.

Cheers & happy hunting,
Deb

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Stepping barefoot in the grass… you know what I mean?

As Rapunzel leaves the tower for the first time in her life, there’s a lovely moment when she stops her elated downward slide… just inches before touching ground. She extends one tentative foot to gently touch the grass with her toes before stepping down, completing the entry into her new world.

I can feel the grass along with her, can you? I imagine anyone who’s experienced walking barefoot across the lawn on a summer’s day must know that distinctive feeling: the soft grass flattening under each step; the few blades that manage to slip between the toes; the solid but uneven ground beneath.

In that moment Rapunzel turns a lifetime of wishing and wondering into reality. She enters a new world on her own terms and her senses are heightened. She notices and feels everything. How true that as significant changes happen in our lives – whether we make the change  happen or it happens to use – our senses are indeed heightened. It is in moments like these we can feel the grass between our toes, see the details around us that other days we take for granted. A feeling of really being alive! And yet by just noticing those details (like the sensation stepping barefoot in the grass), we can reawaken that feeling of aliveness. Oh yes!

Look around you… what fabulous detail can you notice today?

Cheers & a good shoot to you,
Deb

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PM101 in TODo you know about Deb’s appearance in Toronto and the “Toronto Area PM101 Facebook Challenge (for a free book)“? To learn more, click here: http://on.fb.me/hEdmNg

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Remembrance Day made me think of this shot (again): during a montage there’s an amazing shot in a military graveyard:

Frame of Harold & Maude picnicking amid a few gravestones – the gravestones making a pattern around them… then zoom out… and zoom out… and zoom out… and zoom out… to an extreme wide shot of the same picnic – now minute in the frame and the gravestones now make a new pattern around them.

Wow! What an expensive zoom lens that must have been! Boy did they know where to spend the production money to maximize the budgeting “getting to the screen.”

And it was so much more than “just a nice shot.” It added another unique layer of meaning to the story. You need to see the reveal from cosy (?) picnic to Harold & Maude being dwarfed by the sheer number of gravestones around them… and living the picnic there in perfect harmony with their surroundings. How do they each feel about death? Can we feel them finding life as they look at and for death? A powerful shot indeed. I’m chilled at how this shot reaches me. The true magic of this storytelling medium.

Cheers & a good shoot to you!
Deb

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Not all memorable movie moments are dialogue-based, and some are outright unexpected.

During the chase scene in the holy city, one of the henchmen was busy keeping track of the fast moving hero (who was leaping from building to building), when the henchman pretty much knocked himself out running into a low doorway.

I love this movie moment. If you have experienced such a moment – a hit or near miss on a low doorway – while exploring ancient cities and ruins then you’ll laugh along with me. It’s the laughter of “That’s so true; I’ve been there!” This lovely bit of detail amid wall-to-wall action connects fiction to reality… our reality. It further extends our suspension of disbelief and instantly brings us into the movie itself.

Just goes to show… you can have memorable movie moments at unexpected places. And we love it.

What unexpected memorable movie moment comes to mind for you?

Cheers,
Deb

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