Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Sample script format

How to write a good short film script

Follow the link to read this Times article about script writing for short film

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Typography in Film & Video

As a video producer/ filmmaker you most likely use typography when deciding what font to use for your production. According to Wikipedia the definition of Typography is “the art and technique of arranging type, type design, and modifying type glyphs.”

Display typography is used when considering the font style and design of a film or video’s title(s) (whether dynamic or still). Graphic artists and/or filmmakers choose or create the font, arrange the type, such as spacing, and imbed filters and CGI effects (e.g. animated title sequence). (When the text is moving, it is specifically known as kinetic typography.)

Digital technology has made the art of typography available to almost anyone; and now, with software programs, such as Final Cut Studio’s Live Type, the countless different options are endless and with practice and patience, creating a professional video or film tittles easier than ever.

Compare the fonts above
What are their differences? What type of emotions or other aspects do they portray?

Typography expresses a mood and has a voice. Compare the look of the fancy, ornamental cursive font (Mutlu) versus the bold upper-case letters of ARIAL BLACK. Each font listed has its own attitude and personality; and therefore represents a different voice when used as a title.

How do you know what font to use?
There are no certain rules when choosing the font style for a film and video title; however, it is a good idea to first consider the project and genre of your production. Are you shooting a commercial or a film? If it’s a film, is it a horror or a comedy? Do you think it would be suitable to use the Dirty Classic font style (see above) or Arial Black for the main titles in a corporate video? In other words, keep the font style consistent with the project, genre and the mood(s) you’re wanting to portray. Use common sense.

Fonts have certain characteristics that may even help you to decide what type to choose. For instance, the weight of the font is the thickness of its letters. Thin hairline fonts look appropriate when used in wedding videos, but may not when used as a horror film’s main title.

How do you know what font to use?
Also, consider how difficult or easy the font is to read. If it’s a serif font, it’ll naturally take longer to read on screen versus a san-serif (one without serifs). Same goes for too many fancy embellishments, such as extravagant loops and curvy hairlines. If the font style will take awhile to read, allocate enough time for your audience to read the title(s). You may want to use additional frames, just make sure each are consistent in design. In addition, don’t overcrowd the frame with too many words. Keep it simple.

So, what mood are YOU trying to capture?

Use an aesthetic approach when deciding the right font style. As with moods, there are thousands of font styles to choose from! (see list below for free font download sites) First, write down all the fonts you’re interested in using or your specific production. Experiment with the ones you like and gradually narrow down the list down to one (or more, depending on if you want to use subtitles). Really think and feel about what and how the font style makes you feel. If you’re having a difficult time deciding, ask for someone else’s opinion.

After you’ve chosen the ‘right’ font style for your project, you may want to add colors, textures, filters, drop shadows, etc.; or may want to animate the title and add fades and dissolves, etc. Again, consider the mood of the project.

Also, keep your titles consistent, font styles along with filters or animated effects that are inconsistent will look amateurish.

Free Font Downloads

The following websites have a variety of different fonts and styles to choose from, everything from Old English, Ornaments, to Pop Culture icons and text.

1001 Free Fonts:

Urban fonts:

Simply the Best Fonts:

Search Free Fonts:


Read more:

Monday, 8 November 2010

AS Presentation assessment criteria

The following will tell you what you MUST include in your presentation assessments. Some of you may have completed some/most of this already and therefore only need to ADD what you do not have. You do not have to start all over again unless you have completely changed the synopsis of your title opening sequence. Apologies if I have missed anything out that you have completed this is the bare requirements.
• Forms and conventions – this must include the general forms & conventions of title opening sequences and ALSO genre specific forms & conventions of your chosen genre (this must be clear as starting point on your blogs), you can also state whether you are following those conventions or subverting them
• Hyperlinks to three title sequences you have analysed (any genre) and hyperlinks to a further three title sequences that you have analysed of the SAME genre as your title sequence. So this is six sequences in total that you have analysed and written about – 3 general, 3 genre specific, (this is a basic number requirement, you should/could analyse many more and they should all be added to your blog – links & your analysis) The framework for your analysis should include the following – mise-en-scene of the sequence, what sound was used – to what effect and when during the sequence it was played (include dialogue), what information about the film the sequence provides – characters, location, genre, time, mood etc, etc, what themes (if any) were developed and if they were then echoed throughout the film? What colour schemes were used, how was the action-title sequence put together all live action or title-action-title etc etc, what fonts were used? Where were the titles placed on the screen? Was any imagery or inter-textual references made?
• Your synopsis and any influences (other films etc that you have worked from)
• Links to sample sound files that you may use and how / why you would use them
• Sample screen page layouts to include an image with sample titles placed over it in the positions that you may use in your sequence
• A mood slide that should be made of images (any from the net), colour schemes, fonts, words and sound that portray the intended ‘mood’ of your sequence like a PowerPoint collage
• Who your target audience are – age, gender, location, interests, How you are going to attract them, Why you know they will be interested in your film – past films, fans of specific musical genres etc etc, where they will be able to see your film (if it was real)
• Classification and what that means in relation to what you can show
• Storyboard
• Script
• Production schedule/planning
• Links to your blogs
• Character profiles
• List of locations/ photos if you have them

AS Media Exemplar A Grade Title opening sequence

Image editing tutorial for A2 Posters & Review pages

'Wrong side of the bed'

Interesting use of split screen here to create this super-shory award winning film

Quay Borthers early short see this early short from the Quay Brothers



More language


Analysing texts

Analysing Texts

How to spot a genre by codes and conventions

Identification of Genre by Codes and Conventions



Key concepts

Key Concepts

Narrative (again!)




Film terms

Film Terms a Level


What is Genre

Tips for making a good short

An Exciting & Original Idea

Original ideas are not easy to come-by but a good way of avoiding clich├ęd ideas is to watch lots of other short films, look out for any trends and stay clear of them. Even if your idea isn’t completely original try to look at the subject matter from a different angle or using a different style/technique. If you're struggling for ideas, you could try to find inspiration in your experiences or those of the people that you meet or through the stories that you read in newspapers, magazines and online.

A Strong Script
A good script is key to narrative-based short films and in many ways it’s harder to write a short than a feature because you need to condense your story and develop your characters in a very short space of time. All too often films are let down by weak, overwritten or underdeveloped scripts. Before investing money, time and effort into shooting your film, it’s a good idea to test your script out on friends and strangers (as friends might fear offending you) and get as much feedback as you can. See our filmmaking guide: writing a script for more advice & our related links: writing for scriptwriting organisations, resources and communities. If you write and direct your own films, it’s a good idea to consider where your strengths lie. It’s great if you can do both but if you think you’re stronger at direction/animation then why not consider collaborating with a talented scriptwriter and see what results come of it?
Dog Years by R. Penfold and S. Hearn: A tight and funny script made this film one of the most successful shorts on Film Network.

Good Acting

Unless your friends are actors or demonstrate acting talent, it’s a good idea to avoid casting them in your film. Even one bad actor in a film can really let it down and destroy the viewer’s belief in the reality that your film is seeking to create. There are lots of great actors out there who are willing to work for reduced fees to learn their trade and make a name for themselves. You can find actors through advertising on the message boards of filmmaking communities (see the filmmaking communities section in our related links: filmmaking organisations & communities or via online casting sites such as The Spotlight. For more information on finding cast see our filmmaking guide: cast & crew or see the casting section of our related links: production
Domestic by Suzi Ewing: Rupert Procter is a talented and respected actor who has starred in many successful shorts.

High Production Values

Whilst digital filmmaking has had the positive impact of making the process more accessible and affordable, it’s important to ensure that you still apply the same production values that you would if you were shooting on film with a crew. Many low-budget shorts are let down by poor sound, lighting, camera work and editing and/or by directors who are trying to do it all by themselves without anyone else’s input. Filmmaking is predominantly a collaborative process and it’s much better to find crew who are specialising in these areas who can offer different skills. You can use the message boards of filmmaking communities (see the filmmaking communities section in our related links: filmmaking organisations & communities) to find crew to collaborate with. If you’re new to filmmaking, one of the best ways to learn the skills required is to assist on other people’s films. Also check the message boards for call outs for volunteers from filmmakers. However if you’d like more formal training you can find out about training or film schools in our filmmaking guide: training & development and find links to organisations and resources in our related links: training

Make It Short

As a general rule, the longer your short film is, the harder it is to keep the viewer’s attention. This is especially true of online viewing – for instance on Film Network the average time that a viewer spends watching a film is 4 minutes. Note – exceptions to this rule is documentary, which viewers will often watch for longer. Many festivals don’t accept short films that are over 30 minutes long; a long film will really have to impress the programmers for them to include it in their screening, as it means they will not be able to show so many films in their short film programme. One filmmaker told us about a film he made that was 26 minutes long. He applied for festivals all over the world and was rejected by them all. A year later he re-cut the film to 10 minutes and resubmitted it. His 10-minute cut was shown at numerous festivals worldwide and was broadcast on a digital channel. Very short films, especially romance and comedies, can be popular with distributors and buyers as they are easier to programme and can be sold to multi-platforms e.g. online, mobile, VOD etc.
The End by Tim Clayton and Rob Crowther: A humorous or strong storyline can be conveyed without needing lots of time as displayed in this 90 second short.

Strong Beginning

Most programmers/distributors will be inundated with submissions and so your film has to grab their attention from the very first shot. The harsh reality is that if your film doesn’t pique their interest within the first two minutes, in all likelihood they may not sit through it till the end. Don’t waste time on lengthy introductions and credits – spark their interest in the story as quickly as you can. Credits at the start can distract the viewer (especially if the direction, production and editing are all by the same person!) so leave them out unless you have it written in an agreement with one of your cast. Similarly if your film starts with a long establishing shot where nothing really happens, viewers may switch off before you get to show them your great plot and idea. If the pace of your film is naturally slow and ambling, make the shots as rich and enticing as possible to draw the viewer in. Note – a good editor can really transform a film. If you’re directing and editing your own film you might be too attached to certain shots to know which bits to chop out to make your film a stronger, more coherent piece. In big blockbusters, scenes that have cost thousands or even millions can be chopped if the studio/filmmaker feels that they are not integral to the final edit of the piece.

Avoid Repetition & Punchline Twists

Whilst sometimes a repetitive scene can be used for comedy/dramatic effect (Groundhog Day being a classic example of where this can work), if you are not careful it can end up being repetitive and predictable. Comedy is notoriously difficult to pull off in short films – if you’re looking to make humorous shorts then it’s a good idea to test your idea on an audience (why not post a short clip on a site like YouTube or MySpace and see what feedback you get?) or to cast your film carefully and get a funny actor. Be careful of one-line gag/punchline films. Some shorts can do this to great success (eg watch Le Cheval 2.1, below, which was a massive viral hit) but many often fall flat. If you’ve got a great punchline twist then consider making it short and snappy as viewers might be disappointed if they sit through 7 minutes for one joke at the end, especially if they’ve already seen it coming.
Le Cheval 2.1 by S. Scott-Hayward & A. Kirkland: This short became a massive viral hit.

Exciting New Techniques & Style

Even an average plot can be made intriguing by an exciting new technique or style - whether it be a new kind of animation, camera work or art direction. Try experimenting and developing your own style. Note – having said that, beware of style over substance.

Taken from

How to make a good short!

Media Studies short film-making guide

So what makes a good short good? .....
Your guess is as good as mine but while there are no definite rules to making a good short film there are some tips for making your journey as film makers a smooth one.

The best way to learn how to make a good short is by watching other peoples and learning from their mistakes and successes. (see links to shorts viewing)

For excellent advice and links to various resources for short film making visit an excellent arm of the BBC dedicated to promoting film making and new film-makers.

AS Functions of a opening sequence

The functions

The function of an opening title sequence to a film is to establish the visual style of the film and to introduce the viewer to all or some of the following:

The Elements

Typically, an opening sequence will contain:
Details of cast and crew.
The film's title.
An introduction to character or character type.
Indication of place.
Indication of historical period.
Information regarding mood and tone.
Introduction to signature theme tune.
Information about genre.
Questions that the viewer finds intriguing.
Patterns and types of editing that will be echoed in the remainder of the film.
Mise en scene and cinematography that will be echoed or elaborated upon later in the film

10 Great opening title sequences

10 great title sequences

1. Psycho (1960). One of the landmark Saul Bass designs: jumpy, fragmented titles married to Bernard Herrmann’s hysteric strings have you nervously gripping the arms of your chair long before Hitchcock’s slasher classic has spilled a drop of blood.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). An ancestor to Juno’s opening titles, this delicately haunting sequence by Stephen O. Frankfurt uses the paraphernalia of childhood — marbles, crayons, a whistle, jacks — to evoke the world of the film’s five-year-old narrator.

3. The James Bond films (1962-2006). It just wouldn’t be a Bond flick without Maurice Binder’s signature swirling gun barrel and curtain of blood, backed by Monty Norman’s rumbling theme. The only Bond films without it are Never Say Never Again and the 1967 spoof of Casino Royale — neither of them part of the official 007 franchise.

4. Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). Pablo Ferro’s sly opening for Stanley Kubrick’s jet-black nuclear satire is one of the most sublime in screen history; it features footage of B-52 bombers refueling/fornicating to the romantic strains of Try a Little Tenderness. Freudian symbolism has never been so funny.

5. The Pink Panther films (1964-2006). Perhaps the most famous of cartoon credits sequences. The cool cat of the title was created by the DePatie-Freleng studio for the first entry in this long-lasting series of slapstick comedies. The Pink One proved so popular that he ended up living a double life outside the franchise, as the star of his own animated series.

6. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). I’ll take my spaghetti western with cheese. Iginio Lardani’s garish low-budget titles, which look like grainy wanted posters splattered with blood, are as deliciously lurid as Ennio Morricone’s famous wailing score.
7. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975). Be careful whom you hire to do your opening title sequence. In the Pythons’ comedy classic, moose-obsessed Swedes hijack the foreign subtitles, then infiltrate the English credits; they are finally ousted and replaced by llama-obsessed Latin Americans.

8. Reservoir Dogs (1992). An opening sequence doesn’t have to be complex to be effective. Quentin Tarantino’s slo-mo intro to his seminal crime drama not only ID’s the ensemble cast, it also serves as a long, slow breather before the chaos of blood and profanity to follow.

9. Se7en (1995). Kyle Cooper’s chilling (and much imitated) sequence for David Fincher’s thriller takes Frankfurt’s To Kill a Mockingbird opening and gives it a sickening twist: the paraphernalia here is that of a methodical serial killer. Cooper adds flickering images on scratched film stock and an abrasive score by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor to suggest the disturbed mind of a maniac.

10. Down with Love (2003). Animation couple Maximilian Graenitz and Jane Poole put viewers in a retro mood with their exuberant, Saul Bass-style titles for this romantic comedy — a tongue-in-cheek homage to the Doris Day-Rock Hudson movies of the early 1960s.

AS useful links F.P

Useful Resources:
Opening Title Sequence Sites:
This is a fantastic site dedicated to showcasing the art of title sequences. Each image
captures the essence on the sequence and when clicked provides access to the streamed
sequence. Each title is accompanied by an short analytical commentary
‘Thank you for Smoking’ and ‘Juno’ title sequence site:

A2 Research and Planning

A2 Media Coursework – Research and Planning

Short film, poster and double page review spread

When researching similar products to the ones you’ll be producing:

• Short films, all genres and your genre
• Posters (advertising films)
• Film magazines review pages
• Film magazine double page spreads

You will need to:
a) conduct a textual analysis of the products’ images and text and layout
b) consider the contexts of consumption for each product, in other words the ways in which audiences consume the products (when, where and who with?).

To help you do this you should type up bullet point notes on the following questions:

1. How many possible consumption contexts do your researched products (and by extension your own products) have?

2. What does this mean in terms of the potential target consumer?

3. Are there specific conventions that you have identified in your researched products?

4. How will you use these conventions within the production of your own product?

5. Is the product you have chosen to create original within the marketplace or is it placed within a tradition of such products?

All of the notes that you produce regarding the context of your products will provide essential reference material when you come to writing up your critical evaluation.

When you have done this you need to move onto:
• Storyboard /animatic for film
• Drafting mock-ups of the poster, magazine page
• Take / find sample photos (remember always original images)
• Draft the wording for the poster and review

Templates for all production forms


1. draw storyboard frames- nice and bold, black pen if possible
2. take individual photos of each frame
3. upload the photos to the computer
4. import the photos into the edit programme
5. drop each image onto the timeline and cut to the required length
6. put music or other sound on the audio timeline
7. add titles or effects/transitions as required
8. export to quicktime and upload to youtube or vimeo
9. embed the video onto the blog or save it to a Cd

A2 Shorts

The OCR brief asks you to produce:

• Poster
• Film magazine review page

Existing media starting points
The UK Film council’s Digital Shorts project (
Shane Meadows’ collection of short films (

Productions tips from OCR

Short films are often a ‘laboratory for experimentation and innovation’ (Quy 2008:39) rather than just a shorter version of conventional film making
This means you should not be afraid to take risks with your concept and the filming techniques that you use
Short films are now a booming medium because of digital technology which means you can find audience through web streaming (you-tube etc)
Go to to see a project challenging the public to create super shorts
Short films go very well with converging technologies see the arts council funded for examples of computer generated short films
Here is Simon Quy (a teacher trainer specialised in media) summary of the importance of the medium
If the feature film has parallels with the novel, then the short film might be considered as the literary equivalent of the poem or short story. The best short films are crystalline creations of precise, prismatic intensity, offering the careful ‘refinement’ of the director’s idea, the distilled essences of his/her imagination