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Old February 25th, 2004, 10:53 AM   #1
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Screenplay and film theories discussion forum

Any ideas in creating a forum that covers the various aspects of screenplay writing, and film theories? Hey, it could be something like the Kuleshov workshop back in the early 1920's.
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Old February 25th, 2004, 10:55 AM   #2
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What is a Kuleshov workshop?
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Old February 25th, 2004, 10:55 AM   #3
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Alain, you've already seen the forums at Wordplay?

And, yeah, what is a Kuleshov workshop?
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Old February 25th, 2004, 11:01 AM   #4
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Wow, that was pretty fast!. I was wondering if I should go back and delete my post (since I'm kind of new) :)...The Kuleshov workshop was carried out by a group of Russian filmmakers, led by Lev Kuleshov. His students included Sergei Eisenstein, Vertov and others. They basically analyzed all films available to them and developed the theories that govern films now days.

I'll take a look at the wordplay link..
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Old February 25th, 2004, 11:11 AM   #5
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Kuleshov's Workshop, also known as the Kuleshov Collective, was a group study of film theory and "filmmaking without film" back in the 1920's era of Soviet silent masterpieces. Lev Kuleshov is perhaps best known for a montage trick called the Kuleshov effect in which the same expressionless face of an actor is juxtaposed with different scenes to produce different emotional responses. Shot of a tragic scene, followed by expressionless face: audience reads tragedy into that face. Shot of a comedic scene, followed by same expressionless face: audience reads comedy into that face. In my film school days, I was fortunate enough to have been exposed to Kuleshov's "By the Law," a brutal Jack London thriller; and one of his shorts, "Chess Fever."

See also http://www.rusfilm.pitt.edu/2003/fil...ram-notes.html and http://movies.yahoo.com/shop?d=hc&id...f=biog&intl=us.

I don't see a need to compete with what Wordplay is doing; unless there's an overwhelming response from our members to start our own writing forums. Hope this helps,
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Old February 25th, 2004, 11:24 AM   #6
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About a month ago I decided to freshen up on those good old Soviet films "again" and one of my choices was Chess Fever. What I like most about these movies is the intentional use of the Montage theories, which I think gave these films the stylized look that reassemble MTV looking videos. "Man with the movie camera" (Vertov) "Earth" and "Arsenal" by Alexander Dovzhenko are a good example on how beautiful and poetic films can be.

Wordplay seems to be the right place for screenplay writing. I'll definitely take a deeper look.
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Old February 25th, 2004, 11:31 AM   #7
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Alain, you have just named two of my all-time favorite Russian masterpieces. Recently I had the satisfaction of adding Dziga Vertov's "Man With The Movie Camera" and Alexandr Dovzhenko's "Earth" to my DVD collection, partially fulfilling a life-long personal goal of owning copies of my favorite film school texts. As it turns out, my Kino Video Special Edition copy of "Earth" also includes Pudovkin's "The End of St. Petersburg" and Kuleshov's "Chess Fever." Now if I can just find "By the Law," I can die happy. Cheers,
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Old February 25th, 2004, 01:45 PM   #8
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I agree with you Chris. Some of these films have created a big impact on my life and my love for films. When I was first introduced to Sergei Eisenstein I couldn't believe how stylized his work was. Then you start learning the theories behind his work giving these films a whole new perspective. On the other hand you can appreciate each one of their individuality and techniques. For example Alexander Dovzhenko's Arsenal is poetic and more concerned with human internal and external issues. Dziga Vertov applies his documentary vision on his work with Man With The Movie Camera. By the way, I have seen two version of this film, one I rented from the NYC Public library. This one was re-mastered with the original musical score and I have to say it's the best one out there. The music itself is very catchy. The other version I obtained was from Netflix, same footage but different score (for some reason the score does not work as well as the first version I saw)
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Old February 25th, 2004, 02:13 PM   #9
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Just as a note, I also saw a version of "October" from Netflix and for some reason, who ever put that DVD version together decided to add special sound effects, such as people screaming during crowd scenes; footsteps, whenever a soldier walked, and very annoying bullet sounds when a gun was fired.
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Old June 5th, 2004, 06:48 AM   #10
 
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Well, I don't know much about Russian film, but I would find it interesting to discuss the theories as to where Hollywood went wrong with their storytelling. Somewhere around the mid-80's I'd say the whole "sequel" thing started giving way to franchise, which of course is about money. But interestingly, those really bad sequels they started putting out, and still put out today, would make much more money if the stories were very good. (Examples, Star Wars: Episode I had no excuse with it's massive hungry world-wide audience to not be the highest grossing picture ever made, and Matrix 2 and 3 could have pulled in much much more if they had been as good as the first one).

Also, there's a recent rash of remakes, or 20-year old tv serials translated to feature films that in general are nothing more but gimmicks?

Is this because the trend of Hollywood is to make sure-fire moneymakers? Well, yes and no.

Holding that theory, they should stay with simple solidly told stories, and the real blockbusters should be solidly told stories with special fx thrown in (good story + special fx gets best of all worlds). But this is not what generally happens.

FX and gimmicks are there, but stories usually are not. So . . . .

I'm beginning to consider it's not as much the desire for money that delivers the typical end product, but the fact that we as a whole are becomming a much lazier society. Repitiion of history suggests that with democracy and freedom comes eventual apathy, and the result is public revolt and chaos.

Sometimes I think that the generations slowly coming into hollywood by way of default simply are too spoiled to come up with anything new. Most of the Hollywood indoor keys are passed down through the generations via family inheritance. They never had to work for anything, never considered truely studying the craft of storytelling via shakespeare or even the great filmmakers that preceeded them, simply because they didn't have to study or refine their own skills to make a living at it.

I quote what I consider to be a much higher achievement in scriptwriting than most people give credit for . . . Brad Pitt in Fight Club . . . "We've had no great war, no great depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression, is our lives."

Now these lazy children who were raised on TV and who consider themselves so important need to come up with something new to prove to themselves their relatively empty lives are worth something, but they can't. They've been so self-absorbed their entire lives that they can't break out of the mold or think outside the box. And they think that surely their generation with The Brady Bunch and Scooby Doo and Charlie's Angels is surely the greatest generation that's ever existed anyway. So they fall back on the only thing they know . . . continuous, inmature repetition of what made them feel secure when they were children, which was The Brady Bunch and Scooby Doo and Charlie's Angels.

Luckily some young gun every once in a while puts out something fresh . . . but then just like with the old tv serials . . . everyone copies it . . . which, I think kind of helps my theory along.

Think about that one original movie every once in a while that lays the track for the next 5 or so years. This happens most often with the action genre I think: In the early and mid 80's you had First Blood and Rambo come out, which was the first REAL mega-muscle-bound (we're talking greek god musclebound) one-shot and the whole city dies action hero. Every action flick for 5 years was kind of like that (like Arnold Schwarzeneggar). Late 80's out comes Die Hard, excellent flick. Every movie for 5-7 years was a copy. (Passenger 57, Under Seige, etc. . . . all one guy trapped by terrorists in an enclosed space). Then Jurrassic Park. For a while everything was Dinosaur-type monster done with CG (Godzilla, etc.). Then The Matrix (suddenly everyone and their dog was flying around doing wire-foo (Charlie's Angels, etc.)

What I'm waiting for in a summer movie is never the most advertised one . . . you know exactly what you're getting with that. It's the one that when you see a preview, there's something about it that for some reason rings "original". This one movie comes out ever 5 years. We're due for the next big thing pretty soon, and I predict it's coming either 2005 or 2006 . . . and it won't be anything you've ever heard of until the day your friend says, "DUDE! YOU'VE GOT TO GO SEE THIS AWESOME MOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVIIIIEEEEEE!!!"

Just IMHO
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Old June 5th, 2004, 06:49 AM   #11
 
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Maybe next time I'll go off about how I think Lucas and Spielberg are both the best and worst things that ever happened to hollywood.
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Old August 19th, 2004, 03:09 AM   #12
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First: I've moved this thread to the general forum.
Second: I've split of the Matrix discussion into a new thread
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