Stanley Kubrick was an American film director who was born on the 26th July in 1928. He was also a screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and editer. His films were groundbreaking in terms of cinematography. In 1968 Kubrick released 2001: A Space Odyssey which Steven Spielberg called ‘his generations big bang’ because it had innovative visual effects and scientific realism. Kubrick also made The Shining which was one of the first feature films that used the steadicam to give stable fuild tracking shots. One of the most famous examples of this would be the shot following the little boy on the tricycle. Stanley Kubricks Traits: Stretching Genres In 2001, Dr. Strangelove, The Shining, Clockwork Orange, and Paths of Glory, Kubrick strethces the genres.

  • 2001 was a sci-fi film which was a serious film from 1965-1968. There werent many fictional sci-fi films when this was made and the majority of Sci-fi films being made were considered to be B-movie material. George Lucas said that it was nearly impossible to make a sci-fi film without using aspects from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • Dr Strangelove was a comedy satire thriller about nuclear war which was a serious concern considering america were testing bombs at the time.
  • Clockwork Orange was a dystopian look at the future with elements of comedy, drama, sci-fi and satire.
  • The Shining is a horror movie with aspects of satire. Most horrors are shot in dark spaces where The Shining was very well lit.
  • Paths of Glory is an anti war film which highlights the physical and mental effects that war has on soldiers. It portrays the officers as being incompetent and shows the struggle in hierachy.

Moving Camera In Kubricks films he uses lots of shots where the camera moves and follows the action.

  • In ‘Paths of Glory’ he uses tracking shots when moving through the trenches.
  • In ‘The Shining’ the shots around Overlook Hotel were shot using a steadicam.
  • In ‘Clockwork Orange’ he uses tracking shots to follow Alex.
  • In ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ the stargate sequence was filmed using slit-scan photography. The Slit-scan technique is where you process a moveable slide which has a slit cut into it is put between the camera and the subject being photographed.

Symmetry There are many symmetrical shots used by Kubrick in all his films, for example: 2001 Space Odyssey Screen shot 2014-11-27 at 12.20.33 Full Metal Jacket Screen shot 2014-11-27 at 12.21.18 The Shining Screen shot 2014-11-27 at 12.20.20 Barry Lyndon (1975) Screen shot 2014-11-27 at 12.23.03

Unconventional Narrative & Dialogue In 2001, Full Metal jacket and Eyes Wide Shut there is no clear ending to the film. In Full Metal Jacket just after the vietnamese soldier was shot you see the soldiers walking through burning wreckage and singing the mickey mouse song. In 2001 the final shot was of a huge space baby leaving the audience not really knowing what was going on. As well as the unclear endings, Kubrick rarely uses the shot reverse shot and uses wider angles. Conventional dialogue is shot with shot reverse shots, and close-ups. The unclear endings enables the audience to imagine what would happen next, as it would leave them questioning the ending. It also makes the film stick in your head longer since you are always thinking about it which could lead to you talking about it to your friends passing on word of mouth about the film which could ultimately bring more viewers.

Other Traits

  • Kubrick includes 17th and 18th century paintings in Paths of Glory, Lolita, 2001, Clockwork Orange and Barry Lyndon
  • In Kubricks films there are no happy families which is a common thing in most Holywood films.
  • The main characters are all male and they seem like they dont really have much awareness of their actions. Examples : Humbert Humbert in Lolita, General Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove, Alex from Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon from Barry Lyndon, Jack from The Shining as well as Bill from Eyes Wide Shut.
  • Most of the time Kubrick sets out to get a score made for his films however he ends up using pre-recorded or non-score soundtracks by Ligeti and Penderecki.

Another Auteur – Quentin Tarantino Another Auteur that I would like to write about is Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino uses the theme of racism including the use of the ‘N-word’, his techniques in cinematography such as crash zooms, tracking shots and long takes in his films. However the technique that Quentin is well known for is the use of violence adding to narrative. Shot Types: Firstly I am going to talk about the use of ‘Crash Zooms’ – An example of a crash zoom would be the introduction of Calvin Candie in Django Unchained (2012). Its simple a fast zoom in towards a point of interest. Crash Zoom’s are used to bring a situation, character or part of the screen to the audience’s attention. He uses the crash zoom very well in his film ‘Kill Bill: Vol 2’ where The Bride is being trained by Master Pai Mei. In the first 4 seconds of this clip we see 2 crash zooms used to emphasise Master Pai Mei’s skill. Through out this clip crash zooms are used to show facial expressions, the fact Pai Mei is always there watching the bride and judging her. Tarantino used the crash zoom in Kill Bill a lot because of when the film was set – back in the late 60’s. Back then the crash zoom’s were a popular technique and this is a contributing factor to what makes Tarantino so different to other filmmakers.  Since he is a huge film fan and he tends to take techniques and influences from his favourite films and directors as well as using soundtracks from other films in his own films. Tarantino uses long takes/tracking shots in his films, below are a few examples: 0-44s 4-59s 33-1:49s + 2:32-3:37 ‘Trunk shot/Reverse Trunk Shot ( Reservoir Dogs) – Corpse Shot/Reverse Corpse Shot (Kill Bill: Vol 2)’ This type of shot is to add intimidation, a good example would be in Reservoir Dogs where  the boot of a car is opened to reveal 3 men staring down into the boot. This gives the perspective from the boot of the car. The audience are looking up at three men, and the three men are looking down upon the audience. However my in my opinion the best example of this shot would be from Kill Bill: Vol 2 where Tarantino give the Brides perspective of being buried alive which helps add fear and intimidation as it helps the audience have a certain empathy for the bride. Violence: Pulp Fiction,  Kill Bill: Vol 2, and Reservoir Dogs are probably the best examples of where Tarantino uses violence to add narrative. Starting off with Reservoir Dogs, specifically the torture scene where we see a lot of violence. This is to show the fact that Mr. Blonde is mentally unstable, its not just there for the sake of it. Mr. Blonde ignores the pleas from the officer as he covers the officer in petrol. Moving on to an example of violence in another movie specifically the scene in Pulp Fiction where Samuel Jackson and John Travolta go to retrieve a briefcase from an apartment that has three people in it ends with all three of those people being killed. The first two deaths being on purpose and the last as an accident on the way back from retrieving the briefcase. Kill Bill is a film based around violence. Volume 2 is after the bride survives being shot down on the day of her wedding to which she is put into a coma. Once woken form a coma she hunts down the people that did this to her, so violence is definitely a key theme in this one. Appearances: Tarantino also appears in some of his films. According to IMDB he played Mr Brown in Reservoir Dogs, a mining employee in Django Unchained, he played two separate roles in Inglorious Bastards, Warren in Death Proof as well as Jimmie Dimick in Pulp Fiction. However there are other roles in which he has played. Bibliography Symmetry screen shots from http://vimeo.com/48425421 Giulio Angioni, Fare dire sentire: l’identico e il diverso nelle culture (2011), p. 37 and Un film del cuore, in Il dito alzato (2012), pp. 121–136 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/movies/how-quentin-tarantino-concocted-a-genre-of-his-own.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1 http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000233/?ref_=nv_sr_1#actor

Auteur theory is the theory that filmmakers have a recognisable style that reflects their personal creative vision which is repeated in their films.

Auteur theory originated in the 1954 due to Francois Truffaut when directors started using the camera ‘like a writer uses a pen’. Francois became a successful film director, writer as well as actor in the French New Wave (Nouvelle Vague).
Truffaut believed that an auteurs film would always be better than than the best movies of a non auteur because it would ‘lack originality and rely on literaray and classics or scripts’ which rendered the director a scene setter.

in 1962 Andrew Sarris, a US writer, wrote about Auteur Theory in an essay called ‘Notes on the Auteur Theory’ and stated that ‘a director must accomplish technical competence in his technique, personal style in terms of how the movie looks and feels and interior meaning.

Themes, Lighting, Camerawork, Staging, Editing and Mise-en-scene are aspects that are considered to make an Auteur.

Mise-en-scene includes: Set Design, lighting, space, composition, costume, make-up and hair style, acting, filmstock and aspect ratio’s.

http://www.newwavefilm.com/french-new-wave-encyclopedia/francois-truffaut.shtml

Passive spectatorship – In this theory it is considered that all viewers have the same reaction to a film. An example would be ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ (2012) – is a film where people will empathise the people in the concentration camp and Bruno who is the son of a comandent at the concentration camp. The film is from the point of view of a young boy who most audiences would find sympathetic. This reaction will be vastly similar to people across the world who know about concerntraion camps in WW2.

Active spectatorship – In this theory it is considered that viewers’ own histories and experiences affect their interpretation. For example in the film ‘Spiderman’, when Spiderman’s uncle gets shot the emotions between me and someone who’s uncle was shot would be vastly different. They would feel upset and would be affected worse by the tragedy in the film as they can relate to the character’s emotions because they too have experienced the same emotions. When we watch anything we involve our own personal experience into what we are viewing.

A viewer’s interpretation is effected by their media literacy. E.G. A seasoned horror movie viewer will have a different experience of ‘Evil Dead’ to someone who has never seen a gory movie before.

Psychological – Sigmund Freud came up with the theories of – Ego , super ego, id (inate desire), which are three parts of the human personality, and he believed in oedipus complex, electra complex, and wish fullfilment. Freuds theories have affected filmmakers especially in the early 20th centruary. One impact freud had was the inclusion of dream sequences. For example in the film Donnie Darko.

Pleasure -the main reason people watch films is for the pleasure it gives them. These may include: experience emotions, socialising, window to a different world, relatable characters and stories, escapism, previously enjoyed characters (Seth Rogan / Adam Sandler) People enjoy watching films for many reasons. It allows us to relate to different characters in similar situations and enables us to experience certain emotions. For example people watch horros to feel scared etc… and people enjoyed the film ‘Kick-Ass’ – many people could relate to wanting to be a superhero therefore you could feel empathy and excitement for the characters in the film. Film also allows us to socialise with friends and family as well as the fanbase of a film.

Nowadays people are able to interact with their favourite films and genres.

People have been swedeing – which is remaking a film with almost no budget. The idea of this originally came from ‘Be Kind Rewind’ (2008 – Directed by Michael Gondry)

There are participatory events such as ‘Singalong Rocky Horror & Mamma Mia’.

Secret Cinema’s ‘Back to the Future’ events where the film is shown in an environment that recreates the world of the film

You can get involved in kickstarter campaigns which is online crowd funding – Veronica Mars was made via a kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter is a website where people appeal for people to donate money so that they can create a film of their desire. If you donate you would usually be included in the credits as an associate producer, recieve fanbased merchendise and advanced news on the production, all depending on how much you donate and the people in charge of the production.

There are Facebook campaigns to reinstate characters or bring back cancelled TV series, which acts like a petition.

Definition: A subculture composed of fans characterised by a feeling of empathy and camraderie with others who share a common interest.

Different Movie Fan Groups: Ghosbusters, Back to The Future, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Any superhero film, Rocky Horror Picture show, Fifty Shades of Grey, James Bond, Frozen.

Different ways to celebrate: Dressing up, Comicon, Themes for Parties, Reenactments, Merchendise, Fan Fiction, movie adaptions, written sequels (fan made films), theatre , clubs / conventions,  weddings, birthdays, Secret cinema’s. (Pre/Post viewing activites such as discussions about characters and changes between book/film.)

Online Movie Fan Communities: Forums, Facebook Pages, Twitter.

Why?

  • Comicon: You are able to find out new announcements which are made. Collect comicon only items. Meet the stars of films. Shopping. Meeting other people from your fanbase. Fanbase Panels, creating your own costume and dressing up. freebies.
  • There are also active fan organizations that participate in philanthropy and create a positive social impact. For example, the Harry Potter Alliance is a civic organization with a strong online component which runs campaigns around human rights issues, often in partnership with other advocacy and nonprofit groups. http://ypp.dmlcentral.net/sites/default/files/publications/Decreasing_World_Suck_6.25.13_0.pdf
  • Entertainment – (what makes it enjoyable?)
  • Expertise

In factual programming there are many problems/issues that you have to consider in the production of the programme.

  • Accuracy
  • Balance
  • Impartiality
  • Objectivity / Subjectivity
  • Opinion
  • Bias
  • Representation
  • Access / Privacy
  • Contract with the viewer

Accuracy

A lot of people believe what they see and hear on television so it is important to ensure that the information is correct since the average viewer wont go and research what they have just seen. If the factual programme is broadcast by a big name such as Sky most people will believe it because most people think that since sky has broadcast the information it must be true. I watched a documentary by Ross Kemp about drugs in Juarez recently and I believed everything they said. They were there in Juarez, I could see what it was like, and so I believed that it must be true. Why would they bother showing something false?

‘You should be sure that all the information that you chose to portray is 100% correct before using the information in a factual programme. When using old material you should be sure that the information is still correct since it may have become out-dated and inaccurate. If you do chose to use old material it should be dated and labelled to avoid showing false information.’[1]

‘There was an incident where the BBC had to make an apology due to a factual film called ‘The Yes Men’ where someone posed as a chemical industry spokesman who said that Union Carbide accepted responsibility for India’s Bhopal disaster’[2]

You should be cautious of releasing information that has been proved false with information such as medical advise since viewers are likely to follow the advise given. If the information is false this could cause the viewer harm. This means that when available the use of context and content information should be considered. If a programme is being repeated you should check that there hasn’t been a death of a contributor or life changing events haven’t happened since the original broadcast of the programme. Depending on if anything like this has happened you may need to remove or edit some of the material before repeating the programme. You shouldn’t manipulate archive material to show the audience they are seeing something that is false.[3]

Constantly being accurate with facts makes you a more reliable source and you gain a positive reputation for doing so. News stations tend to exaggerate story’s to get higher ratings and views from more interesting story’s so having an eye witnesses is good as it will give you a story from another perspective which should be the correct perspective considering they were actually there. When making a factual programme you should research as much information about the subject as you can. During interviews you should note the context of which they are saying something in so the viewer cannot misinterpret it. Becoming a reliable source means that viewers will continue watching your programme and will be more likely to watch future programmes you release.

Having an accurate approach in the life and times of bufi would mean that we had to be sure that what Bufi is saying is correct. This would mean researching certain topics. For example when he speaks about moving to the UK because wanted to look for a job we would research the unemployment rate for his age group to make sure their was something backing up what he had said. We did this using https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/ and selecting the UK and Spain.

Balance

Keeping a factual programme balanced is very important because if you inly give one side of the story it becomes not necessarily false but the viewer cannot form a proper opinion because they have only been given half of the information. There are always two sides to a story so it is important to show both sides. For example should hunting be banned completely, this story would have two sides to it. If you were to do a factual programme on this issue you should get a representative from both groups to explain their view on the issue. Doing this will make the programme more believable because its not your own biased opinion, its has been approached objectively. You have to show the relevant facts too, you can’t just throw in any old fact and say that its balanced, the fact has to relate to the issue and back the point it is making. Being a neutral party helps when making factual programmes as the way you show and chose facts don’t get clouded by your judgement. As the programme comes to an end you can be biased once all of the facts have been given to the viewer since they would still be able to form an opinion that hasn’t been swayed to one side on purpose. For example if you were going to do a programme on weather Marijuana should be legal, you would have to show the positive effects and uses of it as well as the bad parts of it. Then you can go on to give your own opinion on the subject.

A good example of an unbalanced documentary would be Morgan Spurlocks “Supersize me”. There is very little information coming from the fast food chains side of the story as the vast majority of the documentary is slamming fast food restaurants with help from doctors that back Spurlocks argument.

Being balanced doesn’t really affect us since the documentary is solely Bufi’s opinion and he doesn’t say anything that would outrage someone on a topic or a business. However if Bufi did so then we would have to not use the footage or try to get the opposing story which would be interesting.

Impartiality

Impartiality is the principle that decisions should be based on objective criteria. This means that both sides to the story have to be equally looked at. When giving an impartial judgement you have to research the relevant subjects relating to the topic and display them in a way that they will be interpreted in the correct way, i.e not editing it to look biased. There have been incidents where people have not been impartial and have ended up with court cases. Ross Kemp on Gangs is a documentary, which is good at being impartial. They give the gangs views as well as police departments that are tackling the problem with gangs.

In the life and times of bufi the subject was a friend of a friend therefor I wouldnt want to portray anything bad about him as its bad for his image but staying impartial was important in making the documentary more interesting and reliable.

Subjectivity and Objectivity

Being subjective means that you are giving your own opinion and judgements. Being subjective often leads to bias so it is usually avoided when making a factual programme. Presenters use subjectivity on the likes of FOX news in America as it makes the viewer believe them. When giving your opinion on a factual programme you must say that its your opinion and isn’t an opinion that you have researched, doing so should mean the viewer doesn’t think that you are being biased and makes your factual programme believable.

Objectivity is when you get more than one opinion or point of view. If I were to say that Godzilla was a good film that would be me being subjective, but if I were to get a film critic, interview fans and people that say they didnt like the film then that would be a more objective approach as it isn’t just your opinion.

The documentary on Bufi is a very subjective documentary since it was about him and who he is, and his own experiences. If we were to take a more objective approach I would have found more people in the same situation as Bufi and done the same thing with them.

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/page/guidelines-re-use-accuracy/

[2] http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2004/12/03/17083231.php

[3] http://www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/page/guidelines-re-use-accuracy/

Errol Morris:

Quote

  • ‘Documentary can, should and does do more than just bear detached witness or produce evidence for our perusal’
  • Documentary at its most socially potent can compile argue, scrutinize and appeal for reform in a way that untouched footage cannot. Moreover it has in certain circumstances definitely effected change, as was the case with…Errol Morris nourish The Thin Blue Line(1988), which helped overturn Randall Adam’s death sentence for a murder he did not commit.’

From : Saunders, Dave (2010) ‘ Documentary, Routledge film Guidebooks’, UK, Routledge , page 17

Quote

  • ‘I believe cinema-verite set back documentary filmmaking twenty or thirty years. It sees documentary as a sub-species of journalism…There’s no reason why documentaries can’t be as personal as fiction filmmaking and bear the imprint of those who made them. Truth isn’t guaranteed by style or expression. It isn’t guaranteed by anything’.

From: Arthur,Paul (1993) ‘jargons of Authenticity: Three American Moments’. In Michael Renov )ed.) Theorising Documentary. New York: Routledge, 108 – 34

Errol Morris is a filmmaker who used key ‘rules’ in all of his documentarys. He used cinematic reconstructions and made the subject look straight down the camera but he doesn’t personally appear in his films

In this post I will cover the codes and conventions of factual programmes and explain the various types of factual programme.

Firstly a factual programme is a genre of television programme which is non-fiction. factual programmes will be about events that have actually happened and real people. They are commonly known as ‘documentary’s’.

Documentary’s include facts which are supposed to make you agree with or disagree with but in some cases the film-makers views and opinion are often shown this would mean that it is subjective as its their view on the story. Whereas objectively you would get a much broader representation as you would have more than one persons point of view.

Factual Programmes have many different variations such as:

  • News – BBC
  • Documentary – David Attenborough’s – ‘Life in cold blood’
  • Discussion shows – The Big Question
  • Interest shows – Bear Grylls
  • Cooking shows – Jamie at Home
  • DIY – Holmes makes it right
  • Sports – Sky Sports News
  • Reality – The only way is Essex
  • Educational – Planet Earth
  • Quiz/Game – QI

There are many more examples of factual programmes since there are sub genres for example ‘mockumentary’, and ‘docu-drama’. There are always new variations of factual programme being created as film-makers get more creative.

I will use documentary’s made by Bart Layton, Werner Herzog, Morgan Spurlock and Michael Moore to help outline the codes and conventions that are used. Some codes and conventions are : Editing styles such as montages, disjointed edits and editing sequences to give a deeper meaning, interesting topics, narrators, presenting facts for educational purposes, exposing what will come up later on, keeping the view in the dark about what will happen later on (suspense), reconstructions using narrative methods, interviews, hand held camera work, expert analysis, music, framing, archive footages and photo’s.

Interesting Topics Every documentary needs an interesting topic which will entertain the viewer so they wont get bored watching it. There are a few ways in which you can grip the viewer into watching it to the end. You can reveal at the start what will be covered during the show then expand on it later in the show and you can also expose a twist which entices the viewer into watching to the end to see ‘how it panes out’. For example in The Imposter which is directed by Bart Layton a boy goes missing and is supposedly found in Spain. The boy is then shipped back to the parents and then later on we find out that it wasn’t their son and that it was an imposter.

Subjectivity and Bias In Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine, which was Oscar winner for best documentary in 2003, you see a lot of Michael Moore’s own opinion portrayed through out. According to http://www.phdn.org/negation/gravediggers/gom-2003-michael_moore.html Michael Moore used ‘lies, misquotes and false facts without reason’, and apparently misrepresenting the NRA. Michael selected certain archive footage to support his point of view and left out information that argued against them.

Use of narrative techniques In bowling for columbine Michael Moore uses voice overs and montages which are techniques used in fictional and non-fictional films. The voice over makes the viewer believe what is being said as it is seen as unquestionable, this is used to enforce the plot. There is a montage showing iconic images to the ‘What a wonderful world’ song by Louis Armstrong in bowling for columbine, which juxtaposes the images shown. There is also disjointed editing which enables more information to be given whilst allowing the viewers a brief break.

Interviews Interviews are usually witnesses or experts. Interviews make the story more believable since there is witness or an expert explaining and giving more details in what happened. Interviewing experts usually means that more facts are used and things become easier to understand as well as giving another persons view. Morgan Spurlock uses interviews in his feature length documentary Super Size Me. He interviews various specialists who monitor his health, he interviews dietary specialists and doctors who are constantly telling him to stop eating like he is during the film.

Presentation of facts information is shown in graphs/charts and various other methods of displaying information. This is to give a visual representation of figures and a bit of variety to what you are watching.

Sound and Lighting In Wernon Herzogs docudrama Grizzly Man they have lighting and sound that is of poorer quality. This was to prove that the story was showing real events that actually happened and that it was not staged.

Hand Held Camera This is used during Grizzly Man as some of the footage was recorded by ‘grizzly man’ himself. As someone watching the film you know that an event that is considered more interesting is about to happen or else the footage wouldnt have been used.

To conclude codes and conventions makes documentary’s easier to watch and more entertaining as well as easier to believe.

References

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=AQA2donz_XgC&pg=PA106&lpg=PA106&dq=factual+television&source=web&ots=M4yw-UTFNA&sig=xV4unujS2ALoml-fNcN-hq-YVAI&hl=en