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Session 2 Production Project – Typeracer

Session 2 Production Project – Typeracer

Eurabia screenplay
“Eurabia screenplay” by Joe in DC is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0




Intention (SMART Goal)

To write a script that is both concise and detailed, and includes a properly written montage.


Leader(s) in the Field / Exemplary Work(s)

John Hughes

John Hughes primarily wrote comedies, creating some of the most well-known comedies and coming-of-age stories such as National Lampoon’s Vacation, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and The Breakfast Club. Though never fully recognized with awards, his contribution to and impact in the film world is still prevalent today. Some advice from him includes writing not only what you know, but what you care about. He also tells upcoming screenwriters to recognize that when they finish a screenplay, know that it’s just a blueprint – it will change as you go through the stages of production.

Script – The Social Network

The Social Network, recognized with 172 award wins and 186 nominations, was written by Aaron Sorkin, who won the Academy Award for his writing for this film. By looking at the first page of the film’s script, there’s a noticeable rhythm in the dialogue: one character, Mark Zuckerberg, always has longer lines than the person he’s talking to. Sorkin establishes character through this, showing that Zuckerberg has little to no regard for the other person in the conversation, and would rather hear himself talk than listen to someone else. His writing also includes a great deal of detail, clearly setting each scene and explaining what each character should look and feel like in every moment.

Training Source(s)

Screenwriting Tips from Hollywood Professionals
  • Advice from multiple screenwriters that have found success in their field
    • Includes the writers of A Quiet Place and BlacKkKlansmen
  • The process of writing should give you the most joy, not just having something written (0:15)
  • Quantity leads to quality; write as much as you can (0:23)
  • Embrace the feedback you get (0:28)
  • Focus on concepts and take time to develop a story before you dive in (0:32)
  • Read and research both good and bad screenplays – you can learn different things from each (1:03)
  • Enjoy the small victories (1:23)
  • Don’t be afraid to make it personal – tap into the things you’re passionate about and the story you want to share (1:44)
  • Divorce yourself from your own ego (1:54)
  • Write in your own voice and entertain yourself and the people you love (3:16)
  • Keep writing even when nothing good is coming to you; keep that momentum going (3:38)

Celtx – Helped with proper formatting when I was writing my script

  • No real concrete rules when writing a montage
  • Use it to communicate a big piece of the story in a short amount of time – but still, make sure the audience can experience the information and emotion you’re trying to communicate
  • Can either be a single-location montage or multiple-location
  • Formatting:
    • The header above text should at least read “MONTAGE”, but specifics can be added in
    • If necessary, clearly state the end of the montage with “END MONTAGE”
    • Simple descriptions of each shot placed consecutively

Project Timeline

  1. Decide on team roles
    • Research professionals in each of our roles (exemplary screenwriters)
    • Watch video essays on screenwriting
  2. Create timeline/to-do list for production
  3. Write a goal for screenwriting and add it to the tracking sheet
  4. Decide on final logline and brainstorm basic outline
  5. Collaborate to create a storyboard
  6. Write screenplay
    • Focus on keeping scenes concise
    • Ensure beginning, middle, and end
  7. Decide on a location(s), gather props and equipment
  8. Shoot all scenes and record audio
  9. Label and add clips (video and audio) to WeVideo
  10. Put clips in order, trim as needed, and add transitions
  11. Collaborate and communicate to make finishing touches
  12. Create blog post and slideshow
  13. Present to class and Advisory Committee
  14. Get feedback and discuss/reflect on what could have been done differently

Proposed Budget


The Film

Skills Commentary

The Slideshow


21st Century Skills

Ways of Thinking (Creativity, Innovation, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving)

When writing the final draft of the script, I applied my creativity to add visual interest to a few scenes. In particular, I made the decision to have the losing player’s screen light up red and the winning player’s screen light up green to communicate the outcome of the competition.

Ways of Working (Communication & Collaboration)

I wrote the screenplay based on a storyboard created by one of my team members and had to communicate with him on what some of his visions were. We collaborated on multiple instances, even changing small parts of the story to reflect

Tools for Working (Info & Media Literacy)

During this project, I used Celtx to write the screenplay, which helped find the proper formatting and structure of the script. We also used Trello to organize our timeline and keep track of our progress and used WeVideo to edit and create our final time.

Ways of Living in the World (Life & Career)

Through creating this film, I gained collaboration and teamwork skills that will be helpful to me in future group projects. I also learned various screenwriting skills that could not only be useful in the film industry but also writing essays, stories, and reports throughout my life.

Reactions to the Final Version

“I thought you did a great job writing for rhythm, and there were a lot of funny bits written into the screenplay that were really successful” – Reese

Self-Evaluation of Final Version

Our final film was simple, as we didn’t include scenes that were unnecessary to the story. It was also unexpected, as we used a plot twist at the end of the film to shock the audience. Additionally, our film was concrete and emotional, as we used sensory language to make our audience laugh. Overall, we were able to tell a story completely and creatively that was successful with our audience.

What I Learned and Problems I Solved

During this project, I learned technical skills, like how to write a montage, and I learned real-world skills, like how to successfully work within a team. In working with my team members, I found what kind of workflow and style of collaboration works best for me. I was also exposed to new modes of creativity and problem solving, and small technical skills in other roles just from watching other members of my teamwork. All of these skills will be helpful to me in the future and I will apply them to future projects to be successful.

Grammar and Spelling

Edublogs Spell Check, Grammarly


Windsor Pratt

Repeating Days Feedback

Repeating Days Feedback


  • My project is a one-minute film which encompasses a short synopsis of what my day is like in online school. To show my “covid truth”, I attempted to communicate the ways in which online school is extremely repetitive and how it drags the day along.


  • A frustrated student struggles to remain engaged as every day seems to repeat and blend together with the next.

Intent / Goals

  • FOR MYSELF: One technical goal I set for myself was to use an invisible cut and a smash cut at some point in the film. Overall, I wanted to make my edits clean, clear, and intentional. Creatively speaking, I set a goal to try something new by using the overlapping voices of my own teachers talking to create a sense of chaos, overwhelm, and repetition.
  • FOR THE PROJECT: I wanted the audience to feel uncomfortable while watching this, but I also wanted them to be able to relate to what I was portraying. Having an audience which primarily consists of other students, I felt it would make sense to create something that people could see as their own experience being portrayed by someone else.


  • To prepare myself for the role of editor, one of the people I researched was Walter Murch and his “Rule of Six”. Murch is an award winning film editor and is definitely more than qualified to be giving editing advice. From my research on his “Rule of Six”, I learned about which aspects of your film you should pay the most attention to while editing. Murch says that it is crucial to cut for emotion, advance the story with your cuts, cut with rhythm, lead with eye trace, recreate reality on screen, and make sure the physical space in a scene makes sense with spacial relationships in real life.
  • Another resource that I used to prepare myself was a YouTube video titled “13 Creative Film and Video Editing Techniques“, which was shared with me during a class presentation. The video comes from a verified account that posts tons of videos related to films and the film making process. From watching this short video, I learned a lot about different types of editing techniques including when to use them, how to use them, and why to use them. I found this resource extremely helpful, as it was easy to understand and provided visual examples for each type of edit to clearly show viewers what each particular edit may look like.
  • I would also like to include a major shout out to Brian Favorite, who provided me and my classmates with a presentation on Walter Murch and the 13 edits video I have mentioned above. His presentation was extremely helpful in learning about basic film editing and completing this project.


  • How did the overlapping voices make you feel?
  • Was my idea of the day repeating communicated well?

Peer Feedback

  • “The edits here, I think, worked really well because it’s showing that passing of time … and everything feels like it’s moving slowly. [But] it didn’t feel like there was a lot of tension … I would have added some kind of goal to it in the beginning that needs to be done by the end of the video to show some conflict” – Abby Dyck
  • “After every cut [in this film], we can say ‘and then’ … [but] what we want to do is be able to say ‘but’ or ‘however’ or ‘therefore’ … to ramp up the tension” – Mr. Le Duc
  • “I felt like she was swimming through oil. All the way through was slow and painful … and the cuts didn’t distract from that. I thought her attempt was really successful in the end because of those edits. [The voices] sort of conflicted with that swimming through oil thing because it felt like the audio had energy and the visuals were just languid … [but overall] I thought this was an attempt communicated very well” – Brian Favorite
  • “The fact that I felt the emotions that you were trying to convey I think shows a lot in your film making. I agree with Brian [in that] I thought the voices were kind of conflicting … but other than that, creating a film that shows the emotion you’re trying to convey is a great aspect of film making and I think you hit it right on the nail” – Emily Berbells
  • “The layered audio was a hook … I thought that was really creative. [Maybe have] it keep ramping up to a breaking point … or [have] clear juxtaposition between the languid visuals and overwhelming audio” – Mr. Le Duc
Evidence of Editing: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Evidence of Editing: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

What about editing language did you notice?

  • Murch’s Rules
    • Eye Trace – This clip is clearly mindful of where the audience’s eyes are when cutting from scene to scene, as I didn’t need to dart my eyes from one corner of the screen to another in order to see the focus of the shot.
    • Three Dimensional Space – Throughout the entirety of this clip, the actors always made sense in their space. For the most part, any character’s movement from one spot to another was clearly communicated, so as not to disorient the audience.
    • Emotion – In the end of this clip, there’s a very strong sense of awkwardness, as the villain attempts to make a sly jab at the main character, but completely fails in his delivery. Rather than moving on to the fight after making a comment, the villain then tries to explain his jab, making for a rather embarrassing scenario. This awkward mood is clearly expressed to viewers as the camera lingers on the villain for an uncomfortable amount of time and multiple cuts are made to other characters to show how lost they are.
  • Different Cuts/Editing Techniques
    • J Cut – In this clip, multiple J cuts were used in order to create intrigue for the next scene. One specific part of the clip included a J cut in which the focus of the screen is on the main character’s conversation, until it’s interrupted by someone else speaking. At first, we don’t see who the voice is coming from, but eventually, the camera makes a smooth movement to reveal the person speaking in the background of the shot.
    • Invisible Cut – There were two invisible cuts used in this clip that I noticed, in both of which the back of a character’s head was used to transition into/out of a montage. The transition into the montage used a wiping effect to move from the current moment into the past moment being described. When we moved from the past moment to the present, we once again transitioned through a wiping effect which took place behind the character’s head.
    • Montage – This clip included a montage showing a past timeline, which was transitioned into using an invisible cut (as mentioned above). The montage also switched mediums from the previous scene to tell the story in the form of an animated comic.
    • Cutting on Action – Since this clip included part of a fight scene, it’s no surprise that the technique of cutting on action was included. The cut successfully showed the sudden switch from conversation to our main character being launched into the sky by one of our villains.

What did you like about the film clip?

I really enjoyed this film clip, along with the rest of the movie, because it’s relatively outside of the box compared to other more traditional films. There’s a huge level of detail that goes into the film, with the visual effects being so unique and the actors being told not to blink, which adds to the comic book feel of the story (I learned this from the article linked here). In this particular clip, I really appreciated the effort that was put into making everything feel awkward and realistic, especially given the completely abstract story line. The subject matter in the conversations between characters was unrealistic to a conversation you’d have in real life, but the flow of the conversation was relatable, as it was awkward and casual.

What did you learn from this week’s exercise?

From this week’s exercise and lesson, I learned about Walter Murch’s six rules and their application in film, along with a few different cuts and editing techniques. Some of the cuts I learned about included jump cuts, smash cuts, cutaways, and invisible cuts. I’ve really been enjoying learning about these different kinds of cuts that are commonly used in films, as it allows me to have a different experience while watching movies. With this new information, I’m able to notice details in movies that I never would’ve seen before, which is super exciting.

What questions do you have from what you saw?

  • What is the difference between Walter Murch’s rule #5 and rule #6?
  • Is there a name for when you hear a voice in a film but never see where/who that voice is coming from?


  • “13 Creative Film and Video Editing Techniques.” YouTube, uploaded by Pond5, 14 Aug. 2017, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.
  • Maio, Alyssa. “The Rule of Six: How to Edit Effectively with Walter Murch’s Eye Trace.” Studio Binder, 1 Aug. 2019, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.
  • Gray, Tallulah. “10 Things You Should Know about Scott Pilgrim.” The Cultured Nerd, 11 July 2020, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.
Editing: J and L Cuts

Editing: J and L Cuts

My Workstation - Video editing
“My Workstation – Video editing” by Rego – is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

SFX Secrets: The J Cut & The L Cut

  • J Cut: the audio of a shot or a scene precedes the visual
  • L Cut: the audio from one shot carries over to the next shot
  • Each cut got its name from how it appears in an ending sequence
    • J cut makes a J shape when editing, while an L cut makes an L shape
  • Almost every film includes some degree of one of these cuts
  • Allows editor to break up a conversation and create a more natural flow with reaction shots
  • Scenes have a colder, machine-like feel without any J or L cuts
  • These cuts are commonly used in dream sequences or flashbacks
  • J cuts tend to express urgency when transitioning
    • Creates the feeling of cutting a scene short
  • L cut creates the feeling of dragging a scene out longer
  • J cut at the beginning of a film captivates us
    • Wondering what image will match with the sound we’re hearing
  • L cut at the end of a film creates the feeling that the film continues even after the credits roll
  • J cuts can emphasize the meaning of certain words/lines
  • L cuts sometimes used as character’s narration over a montage
    • Given images to support the words of the character

Example of a J Cut and an L Cut

After watching the video linked above and taking some notes, I decided that I should try out a J cut and an L cut on my own. I quickly got my phone and recorded some random dialogue that I could put together as an example for each type of cut. Each example that I made in iMovie was just a few seconds long, but clearly showed the cut in question. I chose not to include my two examples in this blog post, as their sole purpose was just for me to get used to J and L cuts, not to share out. However, I did write down some brief ideas for short films that include a J or L cut. I haven’t had enough time this week to actually film the scenes and edit them, but I’m hoping I’ll have the opportunity to execute the concepts I’ve come up with in the future.

60 Second Film: Goodbye

60 Second Film: Goodbye


This short film is centered around the impact my brother has on my life and focuses on what I’m missing without him at home. This project is something of an homage to my brother, who very recently moved back to California. He had been living at home for almost a year, following a family member’s death and the beginning of quarantine. He’s a really important figure in my everyday life, as he always brings joy and excitement to a dull day (which there have been plenty of since March). I’m hoping that people are able to gain an understanding of my relationship with my brother and possibly notice the storytelling techniques that I attempted to incorporate.

Feedback Questions

  • Was my central idea clearly communicated?
  • What emotions, if any, did you feel while watching?


“The central idea was very clear and I got very sad and lonely emotions” – Naomi

“The music was well chosen … good job highlighting the difference in tone and emotion” – Francis

“Great display of emotions. The variety and use of shots and lighting was really strong. Each shot was very well done and the music perfectly matched the mood of the film.” – Reese

Film Analysis: The Handmaid’s Tale

Film Analysis: The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid's Tale
“The Handmaid’s Tale” by vpickering is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


This week, I analyzed the first two episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale, which I thought was a really powerful depiction of Atwood’s novel. I chose to analyze these episodes because I read Margaret Atwood’s book about two years ago, and I thought it was absolutely incredible, so I wanted to see how they depicted the story on-screen. I ended up really enjoying the first two episodes, so I decided to watch a few more and continue the series.

Film Analysis

Film TitleThe Handmaid’s Tale
Year2017 –
DirectorReed Morano
CountryUnited States
GenreDystopian tragedy
If you could work on this film (change it), what would you change and why?If I could work on this series, I might try to ensure that there are little to no inconsistencies between the original novel and this on-screen adaptation. I felt like they did a pretty good job staying true to the story line of Atwood’s novel, but there could still be improvements.

As you view films, consider how the cuts, camera angles, shots, and movement work to create particular meanings. Think about how they establish space, privilege certain characters, suggest relationships, and emphasize themes. In addition to shot distances, angles, editing, and camera movement, note details of the narrative, setting, characters, lighting, props, costume, tone, and sound.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Who is the protagonist?Offred
2. Who is the antagonist?Republic of Gilead
3. What is the conflict?The women, specifically Handmaids like Offred, struggle to find power in an oppressive society that is meant to keep power in the hands of men.
4. What is the theme? (summarize in one or two words) Learn more…Power, gender
5. How is the story told (linear, with flashbacks, flash-forwards, at regular intervals) Learn more…The story is told mainly in a linear fashion, but also includes flashbacks of Offred’s life before she was forced to become a Handmaid.
6. What “happens” in the plot (Brief description)?The U.S. has become the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian and oppressive society that forces women into roles depending on their fertility, social standing, and devotion to the state. Offred is one of the few fertile women left, so she works as a Handmaid for a wealthy couple, being forced to have sex with her Commander once a month to produce a child for the Commander and his wife. The freedom of women is practically nonexistent in this society, as you either take on your role and follow orders or die trying to escape.
7. How does the film influence particular reactions on the part of viewers (sound, editing, characterization, camera movement, etc.)? Why does the film encourage such reactions?The use of close-ups in this series really emphasizes the emotions of the characters and allows viewers to further connect with what they’re watching. Since viewers feel more connected to the characters, our reactions are more genuine and extreme. Each episode is also narrated by our protagonist, which sort of aids viewers to have particular reactions at specific times. Since we know what is going through Offred’s mind, we are subliminally encouraged to have the same thoughts and reactions as her.
8. Is the setting realistic or stylized? What atmosphere does the setting suggest? Do particular objects or settings serve symbolic functions? Learn more…I think that the setting in this series is realistic to what the New England area might look like in this future society, but is also stylized to fit the story line. The setting depicts a very lifeless atmosphere, as there is little to no sense of color or art in this world. The Wall serves a symbolic function in this story, displaying the lifeless bodies of men who have been executed for various reasons (performing an abortion, rape, being gay). This setting serves as a harsh warning to the people living in the Republic of Gilead, threatening any rebels with execution.
9. How are the characters costumed and made-up? What does their clothing or makeup reveal about their social standing, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or age? How do costume and makeup convey character? Learn more…In the case of the women in this society, the costumes of each character signify their role and their social standing. For example, all of the Handmaids wear the same outfits, all of the Marthas wear the same outfits, and all of the Wives wear similar outfits that are all blue. These differentiations between the women’s outfits tell viewers what the role of each woman is and gives us a basic understanding of their character. The outfits of the men in this society also convey their role and social standing, but to a different extent. All of the men wear outfits that are black and grey, but there are subtle differences that signify what role they play in this society.
10. How does the lighting design shape our perception of character, space, or mood? Learn more…The series primarily uses natural light in all of the scenes, which is paired with dark backgrounds to provide greater depth and emphasize on the contrast between dark and light. In Offred’s room for example, there is only one window, which often casts a single beam of light on the dark room, creating a silhouette which illuminates our protagonist.
11. How do camera angles and camera movements shape our view of characters or spaces? What do you see cinematically? Learn more…The consistent use of close-ups in this series is extremely important to the story line, as it keeps viewers connected to the thoughts and emotions of each character. In the scenes that don’t use close-ups, the camera still focuses on the faces of each character, drawing the viewers attention to minds of the women in a world where they are only seen as bodies. The series also seems to use symmetry in a lot of its shots, emphasizing particular scenes and creating a satisfying shot for viewers.
12. What is the music’s purpose in the film? How does it direct our attention within the image? How does it shape our interpretation of the image? What stands out about the music? Learn more…The music used in this series primarily serves the purpose of emphasizing the emotion and intensity of each scene. In peaceful scenes, slow and melodic music is used. Vice versa, in intense scenes, we either hear rapid and loud music or complete silence. The series also includes some popular and well-known songs, which creates a bit of irony in the story, as the music once enjoyed by the people in the U.S. is now banned. In the scene where Ofwarren sings “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley to the child she has just birthed, we see that she hasn’t forgotten her life before Gilead. Though it is a brief moment, it makes viewers remember that their lives were just like ours before they became Handmaids.
13. How might industrial, social, and economic factors have influenced the film? Describe how this film influences or connects to a culture? Learn more…A lot of what we see in these first two episodes connects to what the United States is like today. In the flashbacks, we see Offred living her life as we do now; working for Uber, going out with friends, settling down and getting married, etc etc. As time goes on in her old life, things start to progress towards the totalitarian state that is the Republic of Gilead. It’s small things at first, like being yelled at by a stranger, or women protesting in the streets (sounds familiar, right?). But it eventually turns into the dystopian future created by Atwood, which still contains many similarities to the ideas and beliefs that people hold today. So, we have to recognize that this story, though definitely an extreme version, is based on the world we live in today and the cultures that exist in this country.
14. Give an example of what a film critic had to say about this film. Use credible sources and cite sources. Example: “The Shawshank Redemption Movie Review (1994) | Roger Ebert.” All
Content. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2015. Find good sources…
This review talks about the first season of the series, going over how relevant it is today and discussing the key ideas of the show. Poniewozik applauds the series, claiming that the scariest part of it all was seeing the flashbacks of Offred’s old life and realizing that is was so similar to our lives today.

“Review: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Creates a Chilling Man’s World | James Poniewozik, The New York Times” All Content. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 April 2017.
15. Select one scene no longer than 5 minutes that represents well the whole film and shows relevant cinematic elements. Explain why.This scene shows Offred’s reaction to finding out her old friend Moira has died, and then follows her and the other Handmaid’s as they violently beat a man who has been convicted of rape to death. (Episode 1 00:42:21 – 00:47:42)

I chose this scene because it showed the pure anger and resentment that Offred has for Gilead and the people that run it. She has lost someone that was so important to her because of the ruthlessness of this society, so she takes out her anger and pain on the rapist, violently beating him to death. The passion that all of the Handmaids exhibit in this scene shows their anger towards the Gilead itself, not the man as an individual.
16. In the selected scene: write a sentence for each of the elements below:
a. Screenwriting:In this scene, the only dialogue we hear is the announcement from Aunt Lydia, which commences the “particicution” of this man. However, I’m sure the script gave instructions on how to act out the emotions of Offred, which were extremely powerful.
b. Sound Design:As the Handmaids begin to beat this man to death, the sound goes in between silence and shouting, emphasizing the rage that these women hold and the pure passion behind their actions.
c. Camera Movements:For the majority of the scene, the camera is focused on Offred’s face and her movements. This emphasizes the pure pain and anger that she is experiencing in this moment.
d. Light Setup:The lighting in these scene is all natural light, as the setting of the scene is outdoors in an open field.
e. Soundtrack:The music used in the beginning of this scene starts out very slow and melodic, showing the pain that Offred is experiencing. However, as we see her facial expression begin to change towards anger, the music becomes more intense.
18. What’s the socio-cultural context of this film? Learn more…This series is based on the novel by Margaret Atwood and has a lot of major socio-cultural context in regards to the path that our world has been and is on. The closer we pay attention, the more the dystopian future created by Atwood doesn’t seem so far off from our country today. With the continued battle over the reproductive rights of women, we see a major connection to the way in which Handmaids are forced to use their bodies for others. The power structure in the Republic of Gilead is also similar to the one we live in, as men hold the institutional power over women. There are a ton of other concepts and ideas portrayed in this series that remind us or even match the world we live in today.

Mr. Le Duc’s Film Analysis Resources

Film – Week 14 – Intro to Analysis

Film – Week 14 – Intro to Analysis

“Judy Garland, Hedy Lamarr and Lana Turner” by classic film scans is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Analysis gave me great freedom of emotions and fantastic confidence. I felt I had served my time as a puppet.”

Hedy Lamarr – Read about 1930s actress Hedy Lamarr-inventor of cellphones, Wi-Fi and GPS


This week, I watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which I thought to be an absolutely incredible film that was really well done and deserves its title as a classic. I also found that since I knew I would have to do an analysis of the film, I payed closer attention to the details of each scene and each character, which made my film-watching experience more fulfilling.


Image from

Throughout this pandemic, I’ve definitely had a lot of time to myself that I’ve used to create a daily routine that works for me and is flexible to unexpected events. I’ve found that writing a daily checklist and mentally mapping out the course of the day is really helpful for me. I’ve felt surprisingly calm lately, even with everything that’s going on in the world. Of course, I do recognize that me being able to feel calm right now comes from the privilege that I have in my life. But nevertheless, I’ve formed a daily routine that works for me, and I’ve come to find that I really enjoy being by myself, which has certainly made it easier when I can’t see any friends or family like I used to.


  • Watch a film, of your choice, for the analysis part of this blog post
    • I watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest


  • What I Learned: This week, I learned about caring for your mental health and how important it is, especially during this time. I also learned, or more so realized, that watching a movie is far more fulfilling when you pay attention to the details and analyze what you’re seeing in your mind.
  • Problem Solving: One problem that I solved this week was in relation to making dinner for my family and myself. I was very suddenly notified that I would need to prepare dinner and I had to scramble to figure out what I would make. So, I figured out that I could use the heaping of leftover rice we had to make fried rice. I’d say the dinner was pretty successful and I received no complaints 🙂
Film Analysis: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Film Analysis: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Cuckoo's Nest
“Cuckoo’s Nest” by minnepixel is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Film Title: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Year: 1975
Director: Milos Forman
Country: U.S. (filmed in Oregon)
Genre: Drama
If you could work on this film (change it), what would you change and why?I think that I might’ve changed the portrayal of some of the character’s mental illnesses. Accurately depicting mental illness definitely wasn’t the core focus of the film, but it would’ve been a small change that might’ve made the movie a little better. Although, I honestly don’t feel like I would change anything about the film! 

Film information can be found at

As you view films, consider how the cuts, camera angles, shots, and movement work to create particular meanings. Think about how they establish space, privilege certain characters, suggest relationships, and emphasize themes. In addition to shot distances, angles, editing, and camera movement, note details of the narrative, setting, characters, lighting, props, costume, tone, and sound.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Who is the protagonist?Randle Patrick McMurphy
2. Who is the antagonist?Nurse Ratched
3. What is the conflict?The conflict is between Nurse Ratched and McMurphy, as their opposing beliefs and characteristics clash constantly as McMurphy brings rebellion to the mental institution. While Nurse Ratched rules with an iron fist and only accepts strict schedules, McMurphy is constantly trying to throw that off and disrupt the norm.
4. What is the theme or central, unifying concept? (summarize in one or two words)Individualism, power
5. How is the story told (linear, with flashbacks, flash-forwards, at regular intervals)Storytelling is linear, but not completely continuous (there are parts of the timeline where we jump from one place to another, not giving a scene to the time in between.)
6. What “happens” in the plot (Brief description)?An outspoken and rebellious patient, Randle Patrick McMurphy, who has been placed in a mental institution, attempts to escape and bring his fellow patients along with him. In his struggle to find freedom, he is met with a battle against the strict head nurse, Nurse Ratched. Their conflict involves a gang of other ward patients, bringing life and excitement to the institution.
7. How does the film influence particular reactions on the part of viewers (sound, editing, characterization, camera movement, etc.)? Why does the film encourage such reactions?Throughout the film, there’s a lot of chaos, which is reflected in the sound, editing, and camera movements. In moments where our story line and characters deal with chaos, viewers feel the same way, as the quick and constant changes in what the camera focuses on accelerates the intensity of the scene. Our characters yell in these scenes, speaking over each other constantly. In moments where the scenes are more calm, camera movements are more smooth, changing angles less than usual.
8. Is the setting realistic or stylized? What atmosphere does the setting suggest? Do particular objects or settings serve symbolic functions?I would say that the setting is realistic to what a genuine mental institution would look like (after some very brief research, it turns out that they filmed in an actual mental hospital in Oregon). The only object that I felt served a symbolic function was the water fountain in the tub room, which McMurphy told his fellow patients he would lift and use to break the window and escape. He was unable to lift it early on in the film, but in the end, we see Chief lifting it and escaping by himself. I felt that the water fountain represented freedom.
9. How are the characters costumed and made-up? What does their clothing or makeup reveal about their social standing, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or age? How do costume and makeup convey character?The costumes and makeup of the patients in the mental institution simply reflected on the fact that they were all in a mental institution. Most of the ward patients wore the same color and ward assigned outfit for the entirety of the film, but our protagonist, RP McMurphy, usually wore a different colored shirt underneath his uniform, symbolizing how he stands out in this institution. Each character’s outfit was slightly different in their own small way, for example, Mr. Harding often wore a robe and had his glasses around his neck, showing that he wants to portray himself as being of higher intelligence than his fellow patients. The only scene where we see our characters in something other than their usual uniform is when they all go fishing, which is where we get a little bit of an idea on the social standing of each patient.
10. How does the lighting design shape our perception of character, space, or mood?The lighting throughout the film was relatively consistent, as for the majority of the time, we remained inside the mental institution. The lighting was flat, accentuating the dull colors of the nurse and patient uniforms and the white walls. We see just how lifeless the environment is inside the ward through the use of this lighting.
11. How do camera angles and camera movements shape our view of characters or spaces? What do you see cinematically?As previously mentioned, chaotic scenes used far more changes in camera angles than more relaxed scenes, to reflect on the complete mayhem occurring. Though we see a lot of changes in camera angles, the actual camera movement in this film is pretty limited. However, camera movement played an important role in shaping our view of the antagonist, Nurse Ratched. In a very early scene, the camera slowly zooms in on Nurse Ratched’s face, ending with a close-up of her. This deviation from the normal lack of camera movements gives viewers insight into the power and true nature of our antagonist.
12. What is the music’s purpose in the film? How does it direct our attention within the image? How does it shape our interpretation of the image? What stands out about the music?The only music included in the film is classical music, with an exception of “Jingle Bells”, played on a small record player in the “nurse’s only” room. This music is used to calm some of our background patients, but creates an atmosphere where our main characters are forced to yell in order to hear each other. McMurphy tries to get Nurse Ratched to turn down the music, so the men don’t have to yell over it, but she refuses. She refuses partially because she hates the idea of change, but we also see here that she doesn’t care if there is chaos in the ward. She allows yelling to continue on a daily basis, even though she could be taking simple action to change that and create a more calm environment.
13. How might industrial, social, and economic factors have influenced the film? Describe how this film influences or connects to a culture?The budget for the film was 4.4 million dollars, quite a low number in comparison to most other major films. I feel like this was important to the making of the film, as a surplus of money wasn’t necessary to show the nature of the mental institution or the lives of our characters. In regards to cultural connections, the obvious answer would be that it links into mental illness. But the representation of the illnesses in this film are not well done, and are not meant to be. The connection that viewers should be focusing on has to do with freedom, individualism, and the critiquing of psychiatric practices. Our protagonist represents a sense of hope in this ward, even though this is diminished by our antagonist and the system that she stands for.
14. Give an example of what a film critic had to say about this film. Use credible sources and cite sources. Example: “The Shawshank Redemption Movie Review (1994) | Roger Ebert.” All Content. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 June 2015.This review points out the strengths and weaknesses of the film, giving it four out of four stars and putting it under the “Great Movies” category. Ebert talks about the film’s approach to certain topics and what the film symbolizes as a whole. He points out the misrepresentation of mental illness and the misogyny involved in the film, but does not use these minor details to diminish the integrity of this classic.

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Movie Review (1975) | Roger Ebert.” All Content. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 February 2003.
15. Select one scene no longer than 5 minutes that represents well the whole film and shows relevant cinematic elements. Write a one-sentence description of the scene and record the time of the scene. Example, from 1:05:00 to 1:10:00. Explain why you chose this scene.In this scene, Nurse Ratched refuses to put on the World Series game for the patients, even though McMurphy had gotten the majority vote to do so. Now, McMurphy sits in front of the TV, narrating the nonexistent game, successfully exciting the other ward patients and defying the orders of Nurse Ratched. (00:47:00 – 00:48:48)

I chose this scene because it represented not only the stark contrast between the film’s protagonist and antagonist, but it also showed how McMurphy brought life into the institution and cared about making his time in the ward as normal as possible.
16. In the selected scene: write a sentence for each of the elements below to justify why this scene best represents the film:
a. Screenwriting:The overlap between McMurphy’s announcement of the fabricated play-by-play and the orders of Nurse Ratched being announced over the loudspeaker emphasized the contrast between the nature of our protagonist and antagonist. We also see the individualism of each patient, as while all of them are celebrating, each person celebrated in their own little way.
b. Sound Design:The overlap between McMurphy and the other patient’s yelling in celebration and the orders of Nurse Ratched being announced over the loudspeaker showed the core difference between the staff and the patients. All of the patients are defying the orders of Nurse Ratched here, as they drown out her commands with their yelps of pure joy. Behind all of this commotion, the classical music goes on, playing on the record player.
c. Camera Movements/Angles:The camera switches between being centered on McMurphy, to showing Nurse Ratched, to showing the reflection of McMurphy in the blank television screen. Once the other ward patients walk out to the main room to stand and sit beside McMurphy, the camera focuses on the reactions of each individual before showing the entire group, jumping up and down in excitement. As McMurphy announces the play-by-play the camera switches to focus on Nurse Ratched, slowly zooming in on her face to show her anger and frustration with the disruption. As has happened before and will happen multiple times after this scene, McMurphy has defied the rule of our antagonist and thrown off the schedule.
d. Light Setup:As with the majority of the movie, the lighting is flat and accentuates the lifeless environment that is the ward. This lighting was consistent during this scene, as the setting didn’t change.
e. Soundtrack/Score:In this scene, we hear the classical music that the nurses play everyday, something that represents the strict ward schedule. As McMurphy begins to yell, we still hear the music quite clearly. But once the other patients join in, hooting and hollering, the music is drowned out.
18. What’s the socio-cultural context of this film?On the surface, this film seems to reflect on the mistreatment and cruelty that takes place in mental institutions and through certain psychiatric practices, but it has a much larger meaning than that. The film represents individualism and free will versus society, showing that conformity will not bring you joy or make you feel better. Rebellion against authority is frowned upon in many countries, especially in the U.S., which is clearly show in this film. The film also touches on the subject of gender and traditional gender roles. For example, our antagonist, Nurse Ratched is a cold, master manipulator who belongs in a position of power, but has been placed in a role that she does not fit into. A traditional role for a woman, especially during this time, would be to work as a caretaker, as our antagonist does. As we can all see, she is not fit to take on this role, but society forces her to, leading her to hold a great amount of power over these men. She lacks power in society as a woman, but is able to get the power she needs in this role. I felt as though this showed that both our protagonist and antagonist are subject to the same injustices perpetrated by society, making them more similar than they appear to be on the surface.

This worksheet was developed with ideas from many IB Film teachers, thus should remain in the Creative Commons

*This wasn’t included in the analysis questions, but I wanted to give a quick synopsis of my personal review of the film and talk about what stood out to me:

  • This film was really fun to watch, and I was interested the whole time. There wasn’t a single moment where I wanted to take my eyes off the screen. And though a lot of the characters weren’t truly developed through the story, I was still able to see each individual as just that; an individual.
  • The ending of this film made me extremely emotional, which I was not expecting in all honesty. The complete escalation and devastation following Billy’s suicide was awful to witness, but clearly expressed the characters of our protagonist and antagonist. We see here that McMurphy genuinely cares about the men in the ward, while Nurse Ratched, the one who is actually supposed to be helping and tending to these men, could care less what happens to them. She is dedicated to her role as an authoritarian leader over these men, but isn’t really dedicated to what should be the purpose of her job.
  • That last thing I want to add is that the contrast between McMurphy’s state in the beginning versus the end of the movie was astonishing. When we are introduced to our protagonist, we hear him say that “they’re telling me I’m crazy over here ’cause I don’t sit there like a goddamn vegetable.” Throughout the film, he proves this to be true; he’s outspoken, rebellious, and always refuses to abide by the rules of the system. He’s full of life in a lifeless environment, and that influences the other patients, most importantly, the Chief. We see the impact of McMurphy in the scene where Chief reveals that he is neither deaf nor mute. There’s a deep connection between the two men that will be crucial to the end of the story. Now, the reason I included that specific quote, is because our protagonist ended up being exactly what he never wanted to be; a lifeless vegetable or drooling zombie who doesn’t rebel or speak up for himself. Chief sees this, and makes the difficult but important decision to kill McMurphy, putting him out of his misery. As viewers experience this devastation and heartbreak for our protagonist, we see Chief take on the role of the hero, doing everything McMurphy said he would do.
Film – Week 13 – Changes

Film – Week 13 – Changes

“The most honest form of filmmaking is to make a film for yourself.”

― Peter Jackson,  Link


This week, I watched the second episode of the Story of Film and learned a lot about the introduction of realism to Hollywood. I also went on a very nice (but cold) walk and reflected on how I can best challenge my negative thoughts.


Screenshot from
Screenshot from


Screenshot from The Story of Film Trailer on NetworkReleasing YouTube channel
  1.  Episode 2 


Worksheet from

On my walk, I evaluated what I had just read about overcoming negative thoughts and I tried to put it to use in my own situation. I took the negative thought I was experiencing and isolated in my mind. By doing this, I was able to rationalize my negative thought and realize that I was making it worse in my head than it was in real life. I found this helpful temporarily, but that thought did end up coming back later on in the day. Since I was in my room at this point, I decided to do some journaling and write down some of my negative and positive thoughts that I had during the day. I found it really helpful to take them out of my mind and put them on paper, clearing the overwhelming clutter in my brain. By simply writing a few things down and reflecting on them a little bit, I felt much better. In the future, I want to use journaling more consistently so that I’m able to reduce my negative thoughts and improve my outlook on things.


  • What I Learned: This week, I learned a ton about the introduction of realism to Hollywood in the 1920s. I found it really interesting that something we now see as a very normal concept was previously seen as rebellious and experimental.
  • Problem Solving: In this class, I began to solve the problem of my negative thoughts. I was able to get them out of my head for a while and focus on the present, rather than dwell on the past or worry about the future. Though I know the overall problem will not vanish after this, I think that continuing to challenge my negative thoughts will definitely make the problem easier to deal with.
Story of Film – Episode 2 – The Hollywood Dream

Story of Film – Episode 2 – The Hollywood Dream

“Hollywood” by adriandanganan is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


The following material is from Wikipedia

1918-1928: The Triumph of American Film…

…And the First of its Rebels

  • Nanook of the North (1922) dir. Robert Flaherty
    • Longest nonfiction film so far in the Story of Film
    • Set in Alaska; beautiful but conventional shots
    • Focuses on one real Inuit man named Nanook (and his family)
    • Attempted to show the reality of Inuit life, though Flaherty fabricated many scenes
  • The House Is Black (1963) dir. Forough Farrokhzad
    • Iranian film
    • Used beautiful tracking shots
    • Looked at the lives of those living in a home for people with leprosy
  • Sans Soleil (1983) dir. Chris Marker
    • Filmed real places in Japan, then wrote a fictional commentary
    • Imagined words on top of nonfiction pictures
  • The Not Dead (2007) dir. Brian Hill
    • Interviewed man about his experience in war, then turned his words into poems
    • Making his memory “magical” by presenting them in poems
  • The Perfect Human (1967) (shown as part of The Five Obstructions) dir. Jørgen Leth
    • Short documentary
  • The Five Obstructions (2003) dir. Lars von Trier and Jørgen Leth
    • Made 40 years after The Perfect Human
    • Lars Von Trier had Leth remake the original five times, with a startling new change each time
  • Blind Husbands (1919) dir. Erich von Stroheim
    • Storheim took on the establishment
    • Filmed square-on, looming out of the dark, grinning and scarred
  • The Lost Squadron (1932) dir. George Archainbaud and Paul Sloane
    • Drive to realism was obsessive
  • Greed (1924) dir. Erich von Stroheim
    • Shows agony and smallness of woman as her husband drunkenly beats her
    • The color yellow, shown earlier as the color of money, floods the screen and the world of the story after the man kills his wife
    • 7 hour long movie – pushed actors to their limits
  • Stroheim in Vienna (1948)
    • Stroheim’s ultra-realism became a stigma, not allowed to direct many more films
    • Greed was made into a cut-version and Stroheim said the film was “dead”
  • Queen Kelly (1929) (shown as part of Sunset Boulevard) dir. Erich von Stroheim
    • Shows a fictional movie star watching one of her old movies
      • Clip comes from a real movie made by Stroheim, but never released
  • The Crowd (1928) dir. King Vidor
    • Attempted to portray 20s America with more realism than romantic cinema
    • Greatest pre-Wall Street crash, social problem picture of its time
    • Pushed realism and acting beyond Hollywood norm
      • No fancy clothes or set, just the actress and her growing despair
    • First film to extensively use New York as a location – used hidden cameras
    • Designed iconic sequence to show scale of office where husband worked
    • Seven endings made and previewed until finding the right one
    • Showed mass society and focused on the every-man
  • The Apartment (1960) dir. Billy Wilder
    • Repeated office scene from The Crowd
  • The Trial (1962) dir. Orson Welles
    • Same visual idea of huge office space and rows on rows of people
    • Forced perspective
  • Aelita: Queen of Mars (1924) dir. Yakov Protazanov
    • Soviet Union film
    • All angles and diagonals, with modernist costumes
    • Queen of Mars is shown life/realism on Earth
  • Posle Smerti (1915) dir. Yevgeni Bauer
    • Uses open door to create a slit onscreen
    • Main source light is in the shot (daring for the time)
      • Bravely natural
    • Daring composition of actress entering in the backward of the shot
      • Filmed in natural light
    • Various lighting and color changes
    • Laments, pessimistic, showed the realism of grief and loss
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer
    • Main actress filmed only in close-up with almost no makeup and cropped hair
    • No set or shadow, viewers only see the emotion in the face of the actress
    • Purged silent cinema of its spectacle and decoration
  • Ordet (1955) dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer
    • Radical simplification: Only accepting things directly related to the story
    • Cannot simplify reality without understanding it first
    • Woman comes to life in a white, undecorated room
  • The President (1919) dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer
    • Simplify and purify images (in a Protestant way)
  • Vampyr (1932) dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer
    • Shadows against a white wall
      • Shadows have a life of their own
    • Use of whiteness was extremely rebellious as Hollywood romantic cinema wasn’t supposed to be blank
  • Gertrud (1964) dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer
    • Woman is filmed as if through a white screen, as if in heaven
  • Dogville (2003) dir. Lars von Trier
    • Completely setless film
    • Opposite of romantic Hollywood cinema
  • Vivre sa vie (1962) (introduced in Episode 1) dir. Jean-Luc Godard
    • Main actress goes to the cinema to watch a film; that film is The Passion of Joan of Arc
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