So, a horizontally long aspect ratio is cinematic. The longer and skinnier the more cinematic (compare, for example, SD’s 4:3 to the HD standard 16:9 to Cinemascope). I guess the idea here was to create a movie-going experience that would be hard to replicate in the home? (I think I’ve heard that before).
At the same time, it’s clear that when it comes to photography, especially landscape photography, the holy grail of aspect ratios is much more square. This is obviously an imitation of medium/large format film, but when it’s just a matter of someone shooting on a 5D and cropping, is that not dishonest? It seems almost to be an example of a skeuomorph.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this or maybe links to articles that have analyzed this phenomenon?
I saw the wonderful Tiny Furniture yesterday. It was quite good, like everyone says it is. Highly recommend.
It got me thinking about convention in story. Tiny Furniture isn’t really terribly unusual in a lot of ways. While not a mumblecore film, it reminds me a lot of some of the story-centric precepts of the genre. It’s a realistic story (in this case semi-autobiographical or perhaps thinly fictionalized) about a real person without a serious story arc (though it does have a beginning/middle/end).
The success of the understated indie film is by no means a new phenomenon, though some people seem to have never noticed it. In particular I began thinking a lot about an old screenwriting professor, Paul Castro.
A few years ago I took a class with him. I won’t go into details, but this dude (whose sole credit is the trite August Rush, which he’d give out copies of in class) was very focused on turning every one of us into a mainstream-Hollywood-film writer.
It wasn’t even the kind of thing where the idea is you need to learn the rules before you can break them. It was more like, you need to learn the rules because these are the rules. This is what people like, and what people want. “Reel life,” he would say, “not real life.”
I’m a skeptical and critical person, and took his advice with a grain of salt, but a certain point it did affect me. It certainly affected the work I did in his class. Our final project was to write the first 10 pages of a screenplay, with additional plot points outlined. And I’ll be damned it my screenplay didn’t include a totally inane villain character who the protagonist defeats at the end in a gun battle. I don’t even like action. Why was I writing action?
I think Castro is par for the course at UCLA, at least for the undergrad program, and is of course par for the course as far as the film industry goes. And I’m not going to try to make it out like Castro ruined my creative spirit. I saw Ballast soon after and thanked Lance Hammer in person for restoring that.
I guess my point is be wary of who you listen to. My rule of thumb is generally don’t listen to anyone whose work you don’t like, but this is by no means bulletproof. When you have an idea about something you’d find compelling, when something keeps entering into your head, even something vague, run with it. Run with subjectivity. Flesh it out, and damn the haters. Leave the judgment to after you’ve done your first draft. And make it real if you want it to be real.
“There’s stuff everywhere; he’s walking across paintings and drawings that are worth thousands and thousands of dollars. He just didn’t care. It was like, “Come in here, and whatever you see that you like, you can take with you. If you get in any kind of trouble and you need any kind of financial help, you’re more than welcome to come in here. Just consider this to be a bank.”—
“Although Wilder generally required his actors to adhere exactly to the script, he allowed Jack Lemmon to improvise in two scenes: in one scene he squirted a bottle of nose drops across the room and in another he sang while making a meal of spaghetti.”—Billy Wilder, redefining generosity. Allowing Jack Lemmon to improvise for about 10 seconds in a 2 hr movie.