One of my favorite projects was when we created our own stop motion films. My film is called “Brainstorm” and it was inspired when I couldn’t think of an idea for my stop motion film. It is entirely shot on my real life desk with over 300 still pictures. It follows my desk supplies trying to come up with some brainstorm ideas. The stars in the film include; my pens, a valiant pencil, and a hell of a trash can. Please enjoy.
Another project that we did was to watch a movie from the criterion website and to storyboard it. I chose to watch the movie “Dazed and Confused.” (1993) This was and early Richard Linklater film that he both wrote the screenplay for and directed. The film is set in America in 1976 on the last day of school, following several rising freshmen and rising seniors. Most of the film is based around teenagers just waiting for something to happen and the social interactions that come about as a result of their teenage boredom and angst. If you have not seen the film, I highly recommend that you watch it. The movie is strongly captivating, despite the lack of steady plot. The plot itself is very reflective of the emotions teenagers in the 1970’s can relate to. I storyboarded four shots from this film:
This is one of the opening scenes of the movie as we are still learning about the characters. Pink does not want to sign a pledge contract to not drink or do drugs in preparation for the upcoming football season. He does not even know if he even wants to play football anymore. The close up of his coach symbolizes the power and the pressure that looms over him with regards to playing football. In this scene Pink is shown in a long shot, showing that no matter what he does, his life is still dominated by his coach and social pressure. He even tries to walk away in the middle of this scene but is called back, showing his teen rebellious and non-conformist spirit. When this scene cuts between the coach and Pink, the camera zooms in on the coach during his shot. After a cut to Pink, we find that when we are back on the coach, the camera has become much closer in between the cut. The camera on Pink stays the same, further accurately representing the power dynamic and Pink’s relationship with his superior.
Mitch is an incoming freshman and after being beat up by some seniors (as a tradition), Pink invites him to hang out with them where he experiences his first high school party. Mitch is currently both drunk and high and walking through the party. The camera is a medium shot of his face and is handheld. The shakiness of the camera further implements the idea that Mitch is drunk and losing some control as the party roars behind him. The camera is only focused on Mitch, creating a disconnection from the party and focusing in on Mitch at this one moment of absolute drunkenness. The handheld camera combined with the absolute focus on Mitch provides the audience with a first hand experience into the world of being drunk for the first time.
This scene is the closest thing to a climax that this movie will get. Throughout the entire film, different groups of teenagers have been driving around until finally somebody organizes a kegger. The bored group of teens drinks and get wild and finally emotions boil over for Mike who initiates a fight with Clint (the “dominant male monkey mother fucker”). After landing the first solid punch, Mike is immediately tackled and beaten badly. The camera angle that we get is a medium shot that captures both Clint’s anger as well as his fist beating down repeatedly towards the camera, like he is beating up the audience. The camera is handheld and moves as we imagine Mike’s head would, as we are in his perspective. The jump cuts between Mike’s frantically moving head and the pans of the rowdy drunk teenage crowd, we get a sense of utter chaos. Everyone is yelling and screaming and nothing is still. Finally when the fight ends, we hear only music (Tuesday’s Gone – Lynyrn Skynyrd) and everyone’s voices fade out. There is an aerial shot of the teenagers dispersing and the sun beginning to come up. The night is over and we begin to move into the next day.
This scene marks the moment where Pink finally stands up to his coach and refuses to sign the contract. Throughout the entire movie, he has faced either his coaches or his friends telling him to sign the contract and this is the moment where he finally makes a clear stance for himself by crumpling up the contract and throwing it at his coach. This camera shot perfectly embodies the emotions in this scene. All we see of the coach in this shot is and over the shoulder shot. He has no power to stop Pink from what he is about to say and it is almost like he is not even in the scene. This is a drastic change from the first time we meet the coach where he as a zooming in close up. The rule of thirds is used very effectively here with the two polar opposites of the coach and Pink with Don in the back middle, symbolizing that Don is on both sides of the argument. He wants Pink to play next year, but he shares the same rebellious teenage spirit. We see Pink in a medium shot, but the angle is slightly leaning upward from the coaches shoulder, giving Pink an even stronger position of power. This radical shift from the beginning is very noticeable and the camera angles and shots perfectly capture this absolute change in the power dynamic.