I've finished another year of teaching film writing. Overall it has been a successful year with many talented and enthusiastic students. As a writing teacher I want to instill my students with a sense of drama and purpose. I want them to create memorable characters and challenge those characters to get what they want.

I am not involved in the filming and post stages of the students work but I think technique and execution is something that needs emphasis. Yes, a good script should make a good film but there is something to be said for a great execution that makes a film 'feel' like a film. I've spent many hours on the internet watching films and I've noticed a common problem beyond bad story telling. Technique.

With all the new technologies there is a common thread of discussion that argue about the technical specs and don't consider the technique. Discussions that talk about frame rates (24p vs 30p), jello effects, sensors and pixels. My experience has been that technique will overcome all of it.

You don't need to look much further than Danny Boyle's film "28 Days Later" to see that traditional filmmaking techniques are more important. It feels like a film. Not because it was shot at 25 frames per second but because the visual technique is deliberate and thought out.

My screenings confirmed this. Good technique. Deliberate and well thought out visuals rise far above the technology you capture the images on.


Nicolas Henri said...

Hey there Mark! You are oh so right about technique! All the kids wanna shoot RED these days but don't even know how to handle VHS properly :-)

By the way, I used to be a Humber student... some years back... the Swiss kid you taught After Effects...

You'll find me as "Nicolas Henri" on Facebook, Twitter, Google...

Oh yeah, I do photography now :-)

Keep in touch!

Aaron said...

I felt obligated to comment on this one, with the best of humour of course.

I agree about technique, but here's my giant however; the films with the best overall technique tended to borrow heavily from a specific source.

I don't really know if I've got a fully formed opinion on that, but I found one of the greatest challenges of putting together the final product was trying to establish the voice of my film through it's own visual identity...

Mark said...


Thanks for adding to the discussion.

The importance of the script is a given as is the unique voice of the filmmaker.

Technique and approach has to do with planning your visual and aural style and executing it well. That style and approach can be as broad as the sun. Many first year students (as well as professionals) do mimic what they love. This can be helpful to learn but it's something you need to eventually break out of. Steal from the best, don't borrow. If you steal it you can own it.

Part of my initial post was in response to reading all the arm chair experts talking about technical junk. This camera doesn't have 24p or this one has a 'jello' effect... My point is that these technical issues mean so much less than treating your film like a film. The technology is less important than the technique.

I liked your film. Do you have it online?