A common adage often heard in filmmaking and visual storytelling is "show, don't tell." Showing not telling is a cinematic device whereby plot points are revealed to the audience visually, rather than through dialog. Revealing things visually to the audience allows the audience to gain insight by putting pieces together, and is a great tool for directors and filmmakers.
- Yet another filmmaking adage…that we commonly hear is to show don't tell.…This goes back to the origins of cinema.…Theater is the medium for great conversations and dialogue.…Cinema is the medium of moving pictures.…That doesn't mean that movies should have clunky…or shallow dialogue, but it does usually mean…that your audience will expect your story to be told…visually and not just purely through dialogue.…Like in Jurassic Park when the T Rex escapes…and they're out looking for it.…We see the ripples in the water in the glass.…We put the pieces together and realize…that those ripples represent the proximity…of the dinosaur and it's pretty scary.…
Or think about the Wizard of Oz…when Toto pulls back the curtain…and we realize with our heroes…that the wizard is a phony.…Seeing the little dog doing stuff…in this really intense scene initially…feels out of place.…But then, when we get what's actually happening…it opens our eyes.…So much so that still today we refer…to seeing something in a new light…as pulling back the curtain.…
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 Appropriate for all
Creating a Short Film: 04 Working with Actorswith Chad Perkins1h 49m Appropriate for all
Creating a Short Film: 01 Producingwith Chad Perkins1h 6m Appropriate for all
Creating a Short Film: 02 Writingwith Chad Perkins3h 17m Appropriate for all
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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