Method of Working (Part 22)

Scene Analysis:

The Grand Budapest Hotel – directed by Wes Anderson

Shot 1: Medium Close Up of character 1 (male). Still shot. The male character is positioned centre of frame, perfectly aligned with the symmetry of the room. There are sharp lines and objects that allow this shot to be visually appealing when everything is positioned the way it is due to the location. The character is in the middle of strong lines on the walls, paintings on the walls, and the lights positioned either side of his head. The Lobby boy is in the background to the left of frame, over the shoulder of the male character, so that he is not too far away. This suggests that he is important to this man as he is always with him. The male character is never alone in a shot.

Shot 2: Medium Close Up of character 2 (female). Still shot. Anderson has again situated the character perfectly in the centre of frame taking into account the symmetry of her surroundings. She is positioned in the middle of an open door, and either side of her are paintings and tables. Having this all aligned allows for the audience to concentrate on the character and not on their surroundings as such, because is is visually appealing.

Shot 3: Medium shot of both character 1 and character 2. Still shot. The female is to the left of frame, the male to the right, and the door is positioned perfectly between the two. Again, this scene has a greater impact because the lines and symmetry are so strong. The characters are now shown sitting at a table, facing towards each other, showing to the audience that they are in the same room; because in shot 1 and shot 2 it was unclear.

In the first two shots the characters are looking straight towards the camera and when shot 3 shows both of the characters in the same shot it suggests to the audience that the camera was meant to represent the eyes of the other character observing their response.

Shot 4: Same as shot 2

Shot 5: Same as shot 1

Shot 6: Same as shot 2

Shot 7: Same as shot 1

Shot 8: Same as shot 3. Showing the two characters together again to finish the scene shows that they are still sitting together and it is important  for the audience to know that their storyline hasn’t ended. The two are not separated just yet.

From shot 4 to shot 7, there are quick cuts between the two characters, representing their in depth conversation. Having the single shots of the characters when its their turn to respond to the other, creates a greater impact on the scene, really concentrating on their body language and facial expressions. These are simple shots that create a strong dynamic for the scene, and gives it that important impact it needs towards the overall storyline.

My Goal

The feedback that I received from my presentation was to watch more films and analyse scenes, so that I can gather a greater understanding of framing and the coverage of a scene; and also to go back to the car park where I created my ‘Weekend Scene’, and re-shoot this. The feedback also included trying more than one script in the same location, keeping as many variables constant as possible.

From here I have put together an outline towards my goal for the rest of the semester. Starting from the weekend of the 25th of April I will begin to analyse more scenes within films, and form a sufficient amount of research, that will be evident in the scenes that I wish to create. Throughout the week I will be planning my scene that I wish to shoot on the weekends. The weekend of the 2nd of May I will be re-shooting the car park scene, and reflecting upon this as a part of my research into my method of working, demonstrating what I have learnt thus far.

Every week after this I will hopefully be digging deeper into the coverage of a scene through framing – which was a goal outlined in my presentation – and creating a scene every weekend and reflecting upon it. The reflection part is what will interest my the most, seeing how far I have come, all by learning from practice. This excites me, and from here I can execute the basics to a standard that I personally am happy with, and start looking at other ways outside of the box.

The weekdays will be the time to plan for the productions, and to understand what I will be doing, how I will be doing it, and why it will be done that way. I will also be editing my shoots in the early stages of the week. All of this will be posted here on my blog, so that I can document my journey.

Epiphany (week 7)

This week’s class focused on the class proposal that will be presented at the end of Week 7. We had individual feedback and were guided in the right direction and were given tips on how we can go about the rest of the semester, adding to our Method of Working. We were sitting at tables and everyone was interacting, talking about their investigations and helping one another with any queries that came up. From talking amongst each other I discovered what I can do as another investigation, and that is direct a scene from both a script and prose that another student will write. Natalie is a screenwriter and her investigation is about comparing how she goes directing her own work in relation to how she directs someone else’s, and then how someone else directs her work; this person being me. This will be an investigation that will benefit my method of working as I am interpreting someone else’s work, and deconstructing it the way I think best suits. I will be using my investigations that I have done so far to help with this process, and to further my knowledge on my personal style and knowledge in the area of coverage and framing.

Method of Working (part 21)

From further investigations and a push into the right direction, I want to create several pieces that will help form the basis of my method of working. At this stage I will be going back and recreating the ‘Weekend Scene’ which was located within a car park, however this time take into consideration the elements that I didn’t do well or didn’t do at all last time. This way it will show me the improvement I have made, whether it has been more successful, and has it continued on from my method of working. This way I can take into consideration the comments I have received from the original scene, and develop a method of working that suits me, and allows me to create a piece that has a greater impact through framing, than the first one did. There was too much unwanted space, that distracts from the harsh lines in the car park that could have worked in my favour. With the tracking of the shots, there were also times when I tracked too far and made the location detract from the focus of the shot.

Method of Working (part 20)

At the end of this semester I plan on creating multiple scenes that bring everything that I have learnt together. I want them to be an investigation into my own methodology of working, not just one final piece. I want to be able to still learn from this and continue to explore how I wish to work. This further investigation will focus on coverage and framing, highlighting the points I have explored on this journey. I haven’t worked out a specific scene as yet, or how many I will do in total, however I wish to work with a script and a prose. Not only do I want to illustrate what I have learnt and how far I have come, I want to be confident in stepping outside of the box. Sometimes the perfect coverage wont be staring straight at me. I want to experiment with the camera until I identify what Paul said about the perfect shot. He said that you will stand back and say, that is perfect. And then I press record.

Method of Working (part 19)

What I will be doing for my project:

After deconstructing the stair scene and creating my single project ‘Weekend Scene’, I am coming to realise how I work. The reason I have researched everything before I know what my individual style will be – or the path I will take to find that style – is because I need to know all of the information before I begin. Through learning by practice I can say that the style that intrigues me the most is that of the camera, by seeing the different shots, and how they can be filmed through the framing and coverage.What interests me is how different coverage on single shots throughout a scene can determine the whole dynamic of the storyline. How the camera shows the characters and the action, and the way that this is done changes the expectations the audience has on a scene. You don’t just film something because it looks nice, you film it because it is the best way to cover that individual shot, and will compliment the scene dynamic.

Method of Working (part 18)

Planning on paper vs. Planning with camera 

Planning is one of the key elements towards creating a successful scene. The pre-production stage has to be completed before any filming takes place. Throughout this semester we have had a range of exercises that contained little planning to ones that had a significant amount of planning. From experiencing both ends of the scale, I am someone who works better when I know everything that will be happening, and what everyone will be doing. When I directed my scenes I preferred planning on paper, writing everything down; and then planning with the camera. This allows everyone involved with the production to know what they are doing, when they are doing it, and how they are doing it. This, to me, is an important stage, and for the rest of the semester I will be executing this.

Method of Working (part 17)

‘Film Directing Fundamentals: See your Film before Shooting’ by Nicholas T. Proferes

When film becomes a series of connected shots, every shot becomes a complete sequence. A shot is to be simple with one subject, one verb, and one object. There is a scientific component to the task of filmmaking and it is called ‘dramaturgy’. The ‘armature’ (determines the parameters of the final work) of dramaturgy “is the spine- the driving force or concept that pervades every element of the story, thereby holding the story together. Where the director has not determined on a spine for his production, it will tend to be formless”. This reading goes on to talk about staging and how it has eight main functions those being:

  1. Accomplishes the functional and obligatory physical deeds of a scene.
  2. Staging makes physical what is internal.
  3. Staging can indicate the nature of a relationship.
  4. Staging can orient the viewer.
  5. Staging can resolve spatial separation.
  6. Staging can direct the viewer’s attention.
  7. Staging can punctuate actions.
  8. Staging is used in “picturization”; it helps to create a frame for the camera.

Film is used to tell stories through the camera. The director is the ultimate storyteller, but their voice will be that of the camera. There are six elements of a camera that the director can control. Those are:

  1. Angle
  2. Image Size
  3. Motion
  4. Depth of Field
  5. Focus
  6. Speed.

Style is primarily dependent on the needs of the story being told, wedded to the director’s vision of the world or his or her personal relationship to it. Most films do not have a distinctive style, and the directors known for a certain style in their early work often change as they evolve.” This is exactly what we are trying to achieve is this course. We are trying to find our own methodology of working, and personal style. Because we are forever learning and investigating, our style with always be changing. We will be growing as directors and it is the process that we take that defines us, not what we have at the end.

Method of Working (part 16)

Weekend Exercise


The opening shot to this scene is a close up of the character’s feet, leaving the audience in suspense, as we don’t know who it is, and why they are walking backwards and forwards. The shot following this pulled back out to Medium Long Shot, showing the top half of the character whose feet the audience saw. The male character continues to walk backwards and forwards, and the camera tracks this movement. At the end of this shot there is a ‘J’ cut, when the audio of character 2 asks a question within the footage of the previous shot. This is on cue when character 1 faces where the voice is coming from. This shot is followed by a Medium shot of character 1 responding to the question. There are short cuts between the shots of this brief conversation, almost leading the audience to think they are nervous, and in suspense. The next shot is a cut to the camera positioned almost where the character is looking, that way we can see what is behind the character and to see his facial expressions. It is a Medium still shot, focusing on the character’s response to a question that he is being asked. In this shot and the previous one the character is purposely positioned to the left of frame, which represents the external composition. There is a voice coming from the right of frame offscreen, so there has to be room left for him to look into, and to illustrate to the audience that someone else is in the space with him. All of the shots so far have been medium and close up shots, so the end shot is taken back to a wide shot. The male character is now positioned to the right of frame, which suggests to the audience that something is going to happen with the space to the left of frame. The character then responds to the question and starts walking to the left of frame, towards the action, and this is how the scene ends.


This scene is a part of learning by practice, and focuses on the framing and coverage that I have been investigating in my methodology of working. I only had one person to act for me, and at first I was worried because all of the scripts had two or more people in them. I ended up working around this problem by having it through a first-person perspective, and having the voice of the camera operator (me) in the background. This might work with this scenario as the scene holds the element of suspense, and not seeing who the second character is, adds to it.

The scene doesn’t cross the line, so it has spatial continuity, meaning the audience wont get disoriented, however there are moments in the cuts where character 1’s face is looking towards the action instead of at character 2. This problem arose from not noticing where the actor’s head would finish and start respectively, resulting in the jumpy cuts from editing. The camera was always on the left side of the line between the two characters, the reason being the space looked smaller with the walls behind the character, and it meant the audience didn’t know where the action was coming from, and what character 1 was looking at. The actor was cheated out of the wall, and moved to the left in some of the shots, due to a sign being on the wall to the right of frame that I didn’t want in the composition.

For this scene, I wanted to specifically focus on framing and coverage, through external composition, the term I have been investigating. It is one style that I have come across while researching coverage and I have only seen diagrams, so this scene meant that I had the chance to create a scene that was my interpretation of the term. This was the main point that I wanted to highlight, and see how the scene would be executed with this style in mind. Having said this all of the shots were covered through compositional relationships, whilst staying true to the 180 degree rule.

Editing this scene was more difficult, not because I didn’t plan well, but because in production I missed the finer points of making the character finish in the same position as the next shot would start. This meant that the shots had a lack of continuity and meant that the cuts didn’t flow when the conversation was happening between the two characters. In a way I am glad that I found this out that way, because like directing last time I had to much space and unwanted objects in the background, this time I made sure I looked at those points. Part of learning by practice means that I will make mistakes, but I believe that this pushes me to finding my methodology of working.

Method of Working (Part 15)


To understand coverage, framing, spatial continuity and decoupage, I first have to understand the 180 degree rule. From studying cinema in my first year at university, I have a general concept about what it means, but I wanted to investigate it further. The 180 degree rule is a basic guideline to onscreen spatial relationships between characters or objects within a scene. It is an imaginary line that connects the characters, where the first character will always be frame right and the second character will always be frame left. If the camera crosses the line it is known as jumping the line, and if you shoot from all sides, it is known as shooting in the round. An example for this is if a vehicle leaves the right of frame in one shot, then it should enter from the left of frame in the following shot. If it leaves and enters from the same side of the frame, the audience will become disorientated. Director Yasajro Ozu works with sight lines and crossing the axis; he reverses the camera angles, and breaks the conversations which created a cinematic tension throughout the scenes.

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