In television and filmmaking, it's often said that the screen that is used to view the video is like a fourth wall. When the illusion of cinema is broken, such as when an actor looks directly into the camera lens, it is said this is breaking the fourth wall. Occasionally, this is done intentionally as characters connect with the audience. Generally breaking the 4th wall is something to avoid.
- [Voiceover] The screen that we use to watch movies…like on TV sets or in a theater,…is often referred to as the fourth wall.…As if the characters we're watching…are all kind of putting on a play…inside of this imaginary box.…So when characters make eye contact with the camera,…this is referred to as breaking the fourth wall…because it destroys the illusion that the real story…is happening before our eyes.…And we're reminded of cameras and actors and filmmakers…and fiction of it all.…It can be jarring to an audience, even if the actor…only looked at the camera for a split second.…
It's so intense that looking into the lens…is also referred to as spiking the camera.…Child actors are notorious for spiking the camera.…And there's even an instance of breaking the fourth wall…that we had to use in The Assurance.…I needed an establishing shot of the night scene…but the only ones we shot were from the original story…where the townspeople were all gathered around and stuff.…And I wanted a shot that made it seem that these…
Watch and learn how to shoot a script, using visual motifs, atmospherics, framing, and different types of shots to tell the film's story. Find out how to give direction to your crew and be a good leader, while staying on budget and on schedule. Plus, get tips to improve shots during retakes or in post, and to become a better director, storyteller, and communicator.
Note: Like the rest of the Creating a Short Film series, this course was shot during the production of The Assurance. It offers a unique window into the actual struggles and challenges filmmakers have to overcome to get films made. Find the rest of the courses in the series on Chad's author page.
- What a director does
- Interpreting the script
- Scouting locations
- Choosing the tone and theme of the film
- Using motifs
- Shaping the story through visuals
- Being a good leader on set
- Respecting budgets and schedules
- Planning shots
- Moving the camera: on a tripod or dolly or in handheld shots
- Using rolling takes
- Framing shots
- Adding atmospherics
- Directing in post-production
- Becoming a better director
Skill Level Intermediate
Creating a Short Film: 01 Producingwith Chad Perkins1h 6m Intermediate
Creating a Short Film: 02 Writingwith Chad Perkins3h 17m Intermediate
Creating a Short Film: 04 Working with Actorswith Chad Perkins1h 49m Intermediate
1. Preparing for Production
2. Themes and Tone
3. Shaping the Story
4. Running the Set
5. Planning Shots in a Scene
6. Getting the Shot
7. Improving the Shot
8. Directing in Post-Production
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