Exploring Movie Construction & Production: What’s so exciting about movies?
John Reich, Genesee Community College
Pub Date: 2017
ISBN 13: 978-1-9423414-6-8
Publisher: Open SUNY
Conditions of Use
This book in specifically targeted in its objective and thus it is not a particularly comprehensive treatment for the subject. It does not contain an read more
This book in specifically targeted in its objective and thus it is not a particularly comprehensive treatment for the subject. It does not contain an index or glossary, but each chapter does conclude with a number of helpful resources.
The content of the book is pretty accurate and the book does a good job in addressing its stated objectives.
The book uses classic film examples and timeless principles of film construction and production. For these reasons, the book is one that will have a good shelf life and can be updated easily.
I found the writing quality to be a weaker element of the project. The author repeatedly uses the device of citing dictionary definitions of terms, something as the lead to a chapter, and sometimes many times within the same chapter. Sone of the transitions are clunky. Some of the early discussion is anecdotal in nature based on the comments from the author's own school. I really like the premise of this book, but I do think it would be stronger if reworked for style and if more scholarly citations were added.
Consistency is good. The book utilizes a defined structure and tone and stays with this throughout
The book is successful in its modularity. It could be generally assigned as stand-alone units by chapter, although there are some references backwards and scaffolding.
I think the structure and flow of the book are both good the style and content issues already cited above not withstanding
I read this book in iBooks and everything worked great. The coding of the text and links seems very good. Text boxes were set aside in shading as they should be and images looked good.
The grammar is pretty good but the style could be raised a notch.
The book is centered on three classic films that are widely available from the earlier days of cinema. The films are relatively homogenous, but the principles explored in the text are quite universal.
I think this book operates from an effective premise and is a valuable resource. The author uses three classic films available for free on YouTube and a hypothetical project to take the reader through the stages of film construction and production. Leading the chapters with questions is effective. I like the formulas that illustrate the various stages of the process. The discussion of character is very good and thought-provoking. The chapters on the technical elements of production are pretty comprehensive and will give introductory students a good basis for understanding how movies are made. The "Further Viewing" recommendations at the end of each chapter present a range of very good suggestions. The concluding section bring the whole book together nicely. The book contains a few assignments at the end that can help students apply what they've learned. While this work lacks some of the depth and scholarly citations of other works on this topic, it does provide a great deal of useful information and a valuable structure for students and instructors in an open access format.
Table of Contents
Part I: Construction
- 1. What Is the Theme? Why Do We Need It?
- 2. What Is Genre and How Is It Determined?
- 3. What Are the Mechanics of Story and Plot?
- 4. How Are the Characters Portrayed?
Part II: Production Prologue
- 5. What Is Directing?
- 6. What Is Cinematography?
- 7. What Is Editing?
- 8. What Is Sound?
Conclusion: What’s So Exciting about Movies? – Novice Answers
About the Book
Exploring Movie Construction & Production contains eight chapters of the major areas of film construction and production. The discussion covers theme, genre, narrative structure, character portrayal, story, plot, directing style, cinematography, and editing. Important terminology is defined and types of analysis are discussed and demonstrated. An extended example of how a movie description reflects the setting, narrative structure, or directing style is used throughout the book to illustrate building blocks of each theme. This approach to film instruction and analysis has proved beneficial to increasing students’ learning, while enhancing the creativity and critical thinking of the student.
About the Contributors
John Reich received a B.A. in theatre from Buffalo State College in 1976 and an M.A. in speech with a theatre and journalism concentration from Kent State University in 1979. He has been teaching Film, Speech and Interpersonal Communication at Genesee Community College since 1998. He published an article entitled “I’ll Take Education for $100”, in Innovation Abstracts in 2011, which discusses a method of teaching film in the classroom. This article was the precursor that led to formulating the idea and concept for this textbook. He also published an article, “How to Transform Fear and Hostility into Enthusiasm” in Teaching for Success in 2009 that discusses how to help students get over their nervousness when taking a Public Speaking course.