What is the most meaningful function of design in cinema?
Is it simply employed to re-create a historical era with exact period perfection? Is it only to help imagine a fantastic universe far, far away?
Can it be something greater?
When creatively employed, cinema’s primary design elements - title design, color orchestration, production design, costume design, optical design, make up design and sound design - can add a tremendous amount, an almost muscular dexterity, to the realization of both character demeanor and story delineation.
Film history has illustrated time and time again that the overall cinematic design of a motion picture has often proven to be a driving force all its own in the diverse cinemas of such filmmakers as Bernardo Bertolucci, David Cronenberg, Federico Fellini, Ang Lee, David Lynch, Terrence Malick, Roman Polanski, Martin Scorsese, Douglas Sirk, Josef von Sternberg and Luchino Visconti.
But if cinema constructs meaning primarily through visual and aural signification, why do so many contemporary filmmakers relegate the artistic and defining influences of pictorial and aural design to the sidelines in favor of capturing just dialogue and performance?
This seminar comes with a big warning: Not for “interior decorators!” It ain’t gonna to be (just) pretty! This is a seminar where simple beauty and hip absurdness are completely out of style. So look out Tim Burton! Take your ALICE IN WONDERLAND and your DARK SHADOWS and be gone!
We’ve got more innovative and bigger questions to tackle:
How can careful color orchestration further determine a character’s demeanor and actually move the temporal design of an entire film forward?
Why is the color green so important to Alfred Hitchcock's films and why is it used so specifically and sparingly in his films?
How can a film’s opening title design sequence be used to advance story and delineate character problem?
Why isn't sound design more regularly appreciated for its great artistic potential? Why is sound design regulated to such a "practical" and realistic place in the construction of contemporary cinema?
What is "metonymy" and why have cinema’s masters worked so hard to establish its use over the simple use of “visual metaphors” in cinema?
Why is contemporary filmmaking so obsessed over period exactness and realism? What ever happened to artistic, visual and aural interpretation?
On Wednesday, July 17th, we will take a close look at how great filmmakers creatively use the design elements of cinema (color orchestration, sound design, production design, costume design, title design, etc.) to define character and to enrich their story's meanings. Learning how to effectively and creatively employ the primary design elements (even on a tight production budget) can be all that is standing between you and establishing yourself in today’s crowded film arena.
So before you make that next film, before you complete that next script, take this inspiring, one-of-a-kind seminar in film aesthetics which will help you think more deeply about your images and inspire you to create an indelible cinema that will certainly help in the advancement of your film career.
Film and Visual Consultant Thomas Ethan Harris instructs. Film clips will be used to inspire an open dialogue with the audience. Filmmakers and film enthusiasts welcome!