Themes in filmmaking are ideas, concepts, opinions, and other such principles that show up in films. Movie themes are frequently ideas discussed by the characters, or are things that the characters struggle with. Themes in films can also be subtext and something seen in the narrative structure of the film.
- Now, let's look at themes.…Themes are ideas that are present in your film…but they might not be something talked about openly.…Themes can take regular stories and make them…much more powerful to an audience…because themes make stories universal.…"In the Heat of the Night"…we have these two police officers arguing,…which is something that we might not care that much about.…But when we learn that they're arguing…over the theme of race, then we get involved emotionally…because now it's not just some stupid squabble…between two dudes,…it's about fairness.…It's about equality and justice.…
In a nutshell, it's about something that affects humanity…as a whole.…In the film "Batman Begins," fear is a constant theme.…We see at the beginning of the film,…when the young Bruce Wayne falls down a well…and gets attacked by bats.…We hear about it during his training.…We see the role it played in his parents' murder.…Fear is one the reasons Bruce Wayne chooses Batman…as his alter ego.…One of the chief villains in the film, Scarecrow,…
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: 04 Working with Actorswith Chad Perkins1h 49m Intermediate
Creating a Short Film: 01 Producingwith Chad Perkins1h 6m Intermediate
Creating a Short Film: 02 Writingwith Chad Perkins3h 17m 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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