Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Style, Tone, and Mood

Last week we looked at various film genres. I'm already very familiar with fiction genres, having been a writer for many years. Anyway, I really liked the approach in the class. We explored the conventions of various genres by looking at parodies of them. How better to understand what is common for westerns, science fiction, film noir, or action films than to see their traits exaggerated? It's like how you can really see the unique features of a person's face when an artist draws them in caricature.

This module, we're on to style, tone, and mood. Now, one important thing writers learn is that you don't have to describe everything in excruciating detail. Describe what is most important, with a few telling details, and then let the reader fill in the rest. So, each reader will get the same story, but it will look different in each mind.

That goes for screenplays as well, but it's the film maker interpreting the look and style of the script, translating it to screen. That's why the classic film, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" is so different from Tim Burton's version of the same book, "Charlie and the CHocolate Factory." It's even why the cg animated "Clone Wars" television series, the hand animated "Clone Wars" series, and "Revenge of the Sith" could have such different looks, but still work within the same Star Wars universe. They kept the tone and mood more or less the same, while the artistic styles were quite different.

Looks like I'll be working on the style, tone, and mood of my project soon. Dark, gritty, and real. That's what I'm thinking right now. I am a fan of "Star Wars," "Battlestar Galactica," and "Serenity," all science fiction employing what George Lucas calls the "used future."

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