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Class 03 | 11 Oct 2019

  1. Assignments
    1. Assignment: Translations
      1. Cut a film scene
      2. Diagram a film scene
    2. Assignment: daily videos
  2. Studio activities
    1. Failed Exercise: Word replacement
      1. Instructions


Assignment: Translations

This exercise will form the basis of the film you will make over the next 3 weeks. The deadline for this part (cutting a film, making a poster) is before next class.

Cut a film scene

Identify a scene in a film with a moment of ‘exchange’ – an exchange of information, an exchange of goods, etc. Your scene should be 20-60 seconds long. You can choose any film you like, but note that It will be useful later if you can find the script for the scene! Lots of scripts are online (look here).

Download the scene to your computer. Using DaVinci Resolve or Adobe Premiere, cut the scene into individual shots. There are really detailed instructions here.

Analyse each of the shots. Ask yourself:

  • What type of shot is it? Hand-held? Tripod? Close-up? Establishing? Panning? Here is a guide to film shots.
  • How are actors positioned relative to each other and the camera?
  • What is in-frame and what isn’t?

Detailed film cutting instructions

Diagram a film scene

Make an A1 poster of your film scene analysis. Think about how you can create a system for visually diagramming what is going on in the scene. You can include screenshots, illustrations, diagrams, anything you think is relevant. Your poster must include at least:

  • A time-based breakdown of all of the shots
  • The script (dialogue, directions for actors/camera movements/etc)
  • Short description of characters, motivations
  • A spatial diagram of the set depicting movement of characters, cameras, etc

You do not have to print your poster; I will send you an upload link later next week. Your poster must be made in a vector-based format (Illustrator, InDesign, etc) NOT PHOTOSHOP!

Assignment: daily videos

Don’t forget to also make your daily rules-based videos!

⏱️ Pro tip: bookmark the form on your phone and you can upload in seconds.

Upload daily videos here

Studio activities

This week in class we reviewed everyone’s Sensations film from last week, and also did the following exercise:

Failed Exercise: Word replacement

Note: this exercise completely failed in class! It’s included here so that you can see the steps and how they relate to the next exercise we’ll be doing.


Write the title of your favourite book onto a fresh sheet of paper.

Find the first line from that book. For example, if your book was Moby Dick, you’d write:

"Call me Ishmael."

Now write down what types of word are there. If you’re not familiar with word types, you can use a tool like Lexis Rex to analyse your sentence, or search with a dictionary like Mirriam Webster. There are also numerous cheat-sheets online.

Call = verb

me = pronoun

Ishmael = noun

So my structure is:

verb pronoun noun
Call me Ishmael

Now, try to write as many sentences with that structure as you can. The sentences don’t have to make sense, but they do have to use the same structure. Try not to use the same word twice.

Here’s a sample:

verb pronoun noun
count my chickens
crush your watch
insult their cat
punish her worker
switch our director
delete my account
appreciate his menu
progress her television
clean my bathroom
own your office
argue their tongue
paint my face
create their mushroom
cancel his movie

The exercise is supposed to work as a warm-up for creative writing. In class we were going to pass our sheets around so that you’d have to write a different sentence structure each time – but the exercise failed!

The role of this exercise is that you can think about:

  1. how imposing structure can help break a creative block
  2. how we can translate the structure of one thing into something else to create an entirely new thing

We’ll use this idea in the next exercise!

Note: This exercise is adapted from Tim Clare’s excellent writing advice podcast, Death of 1000 Cuts (specifically, Season 1’s Couch to 80k Writing Bootcamp, Week 6 Day 5). It worked much better on the podcast.

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