Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pitching and Film Making

What is A Film? For a film : we require a story – it can be defined as any sequence of events with a beginning, middle, and an end makes up a story, but it would not be a very interesting story unless it had a dramatic twist of some sort so the end could not be anticipated. If it is sad, then the story is a tragedy. If it is happy then the story is a comedy. A 'dramatic twist' is a point where the storyline takes an unexpected turn, and the reader is not sure what is going to happen next.
The workshop aimed on giving a professional flavor to the students on the Pre production of Film Making ? Our session was conducted by eminent animation mentors who gave in their experience on Film Making. This workshop was divided into two sessions – Story and Concept and Pitching. It was held on 4th and 10th April 2009 respectively, in the conference Room of Academy of Fine Arts .

To begin with, it was Mr. Biplab Chandra first showcased some 2D short films. He explained as to what is a story. As explained earlier the story should have a beginning, middle and an end. He explained the concept with the examples and also with a simple diagrammatic structure.

Storyline 1
I was about to make a cup of tea when I realised I had run out of milk. Still being in my dressing gown, I could not go out to buy any, so I went to my neighbour in the next apartment and knocked on the door. He came and gave me some milk. I returned and had a cup of tea.

This is a story, but not a very interesting one. It has a beginning with the objective of my wanting a cup of tea. It has a slight dramatic turn in the middle when I discover I have no milk and have to take action to resolve it. It ends when I get the milk, and then make my tea.

Storyline 2
I was about to make a cup of tea when I realised I had run out of milk. Still being in my dressing gown, I could not go out to buy any, so I went to my neighbour in the next apartment and knocked on the door. I could hear violent noises in the apartment, but no one came. I knocked again. A total stranger opened the door. He asked me abruptly what I wanted, I asked if my neighbour was in, and that I had run out of milk .The stranger said my friend had gone away and that he was looking after the flat, and that he didn't have any milk. He then slammed the door.
This story creates another line of thought. It has the same beginning of my wanting a cup of tea. It has the same twist where I have to go to my neighbor to get some milk, but there is a new dramatic turn when the stranger comes to the door and acts in an unfriendly way. The story cannot end there. It would not be satisfying to say "I then went to another neighbor and got some milk" because the reader is more interested in who the stranger was.

The story line can be developed visually:

This diagram simply tells you that the situation needs to be resolved, and that action has to be taken to resolve it. But there is a 'Decision' stage in between the Situation and the Action.

The 'Decision' stage is very important, as there may be various options that are available, and they come before the decision to take action. The diagram can now be expanded.

So, the story starts out with the objective my wanting to get some milk, but then the objective changes to my wanting to find out what happened to my neighbour. A good story has many dramatic twists and turns, and often has 'counterpoint' stories going on at the same time.
The storyline could end with borrowing milk from my neighbour, but as there seems to be something odd going on, the storyline changes and becomes:

The 'end action' of the first sequence becomes the starting situation of the second sequence.

Similarly Mr Biplab Chandra also explained the classic story structure which begins with the plot. What do we mean by Plot? Simply, plot is WHAT HAPPENS in a short story, novel, play or film. No more, no less. It isn't description or dialogue, and it certainly isn't theme. In the best stories, plot grows organically out of character, rather than being imposed from above. Mr. Biplab pointed out how writers could develop the plot – as pointed out by Anne Lamott ('Bird by Bird,' 'Operating Instructions') created a mnemonic device to help writers remember how to write plots that work:

Action, Background, Conflict, Development and End. Mr Dhurobojyoti Chatterjee also contributed in this workshop. His area dealt with the interesting characters that are required to enhance the story. The characters in the story play a very significant role. The characters should also be created in such a manner one look at them can actually describe their inner self.

He showed us a lot of examples from movies like Lion King, Madagascar and many more.
The workshop was highly interactive and we could see the interest within the students. Certain scenes from good animation films were showcased to explain the concept of a good story and plot.

The second session of the workshop was based on Pitching. Pitching is a very important part before we begin with the production. It involves telling of the story in a convincing tone within a specified time period. Its as if one is selling the story to the client. Once the narration is over the narrator cannot argue defend his or herself while taking suggestions from the client.
This was a new experience for the students and definitely our aim was to give the students a professional flavor of the animation industry.

The pitching session was judged by our eminent panel of judges which included an eminent comic strip artist Mr Sarabjit , Mr Sumit Ghosh along with the 2D and 3D mentors and also the fellow students.
The session turned out to be extremely exciting and vibrant when the students pitched their story and also took suggestions from the Judges.
Eventually we completed with the Pre production part of Film Making. It was an important step towards giving a professional flavor of an Animation Film Making.
The workshop concluded with the prize distribution of Arenite and Academic Performer for the Month of February and March. 09. Student: Arunava Roy Chowdhury and Subhamoy Mukherjee were awarded as the Arenite of the month for February and March respectively. Rajib Pal and Soumendranth Patra was awarded as academic performer for the month of February and March respectively


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Arena Animations,
Its more than just our Institute, its platform to know and polish the enless potentials of creativity each one possess.
The latest ,
is the extensive calsses which are being given on " Pitching and Film Making " where i am getting the detailed inside of ...plot, storyboarding,

drwing frames, backgrounds, expresions, Animations and much more.
Its a fascinating experience where you can show your imotions through the expressions of the figures you

I really want to thank Mr. A.D. Singh, and all the members of Arena Animations Chowrongee who have made it possible.
Thank you Arena.

Akash Mukherjee