Thursday, April 23, 2009

Htichcock film techniques

tracked down someone's summary of Hitchcock's techniques.

Film Techniques of Hitchcock

STEP 1: Change everything in your screenplay so that it is done for the audience.
Nothing is more important than how each scene is going to affect the viewer.

STEP 2: Frame for Emotion
Emotion (in the form of fear, laughter, surprise, sadness, anger, boredom, etc.) is the ultimate goal of each scene. The first consideration of where to place the camera should involve knowing what emotion you want the audience to experience at that particular time. Emotion comes directly from the actor's eyes. You can control the intensity of that emotion by placing the camera close or far away from those eyes. A close-up will fill the screen with emotion, and pulling away to a wide angle shot will dissipate that emotion. A sudden cut from wide to close-up will give the audience a sudden surprise.Hitchcock used this theory of proximity to plan out each scene. These varations are a way of controlling when the audience feels intensity, or relaxation.

STEP 3: Camera should act like a human looking
This goes back to Hitchcock's beginnings in silent film. Without sound, filmmakers had to create ways to tell the story visually in a succession of images and ideas.

STEP 4: Dialogue Means Nothing
The focus of the scene should never be on what the characters are actually saying. {more on what they are NOT saying} Have something else going on. Resort to dialogue only when it’s impossible to do otherwise.

STEP 5: Point of View Editing
Putting an idea into the mind of the character without explaining it in dialogue is done by using a point-of-view shot sequence. This is subjective cinema.

STEP 6: Montage Gives You Control

STEP 7: Keep the Story Simple!
Each scene should include only those essential ingredients that make things gripping for the audience. As Hitchcock says, “what is drama, after all, but life with the dull bits cut out…”

STEP 8: Characters Must Break Cliché
Make all of your characters the exact opposite of what the audience expects in a movie. They should have unexpected personalities, making decisions on a whim rather than what previous buildup would suggest. These sort of ironic characters make them more realistic to the audience, and much more ripe for something to happen to them.

STEP 9: Use Humor to Add Tension

STEP 10: Two Things Happening at Once
The 2nd thing is just to get in the way and build tension on the main business. The end result is - the audience pays more attention to what's happening.

STEP 11: Suspense is Information

STEP 12: Surprise and Twist
Once you've built your audience into gripping suspense it must never end the way they expect.

STEP 13: Warning: May Cause MacGuffin
When scenes are built around dramatic tension, it doesn’t really matter what the story is about.

How to use Hitchcock's humor

1. Exploit trivial character traits
“I’ve always found that, in a moment of crisis a person invariably does something trivial," said Hitchcock, "like making a cup of tea or lighting up a cigarette. A small detail of this sort adds considerably to the dramatic tension of the situation.” The more awkward and drawn out these details are, the better.

2. Create situations of irony
He built his stories around ironic situations. He liked to play practical jokes on the characters, putting them through the worst possible things that could go wrong.

3. Surround drama with a happy setting
Hitchcock believed that in order for drama to be strong it must be surrounded by a light and humorous environment.

4. Include a burlesque character

5. Balance laugh and tension
Hitchcock used a delicate combination of tension and relief in his suspense sequences. Often a laugh was inserted at a key point to release some tension. "...when you have comic relief, it's important that the hero as well as the audience be relieved," said Hitchcock. This assures that the audience maintains sympathy for the character.

Hitchcock as an Auteur
From his beginnings in silent films, Hitchcock believed that a story must be told in visuals. Dialogue must only be used when necessary. Many of his scenes begin by showing objects in the room, panning to each one in sequence. The story is revealed without dialogue. Even though he is known for odd camera shots, the majority of the time in his films is composed of normal camera techniques. He begins with this predictable style of edits so the audience won’t notice the camera, and then he waits for the right moment to add an odd visual technique to heighten that moment for the audience.

1 comment:

jriggity said...

Great INFO!