Day 2: Teaching Scripted Comedy With Bully
Bully is a 90 second spec commercial for the King Kong ride at Universal Studios. Like the pool party scene, Bully includes storyboards and a lined script.
What makes this project great is that there is only one line of dialogue in it. For the first time students will need to craft a moment without the explicit support of the dialogue. Again, we start the class by reading the script out loud together and talking about the goal of each character. Next, I use the storyboards to teach planning.
This time when we watch the dailies (I only watch a few shots) we take note of details that the director intentionally wanted to include like a tilt down in the opening shot, or a moment at the end of one of the shots when we need to wait a bit before the character turns his head.
Kids need to see that professional filmmakers don’t just wing it when they show up on set. Filmmaking is a well choreographed process and details are important to note as an editor. Every camera move is planned. For students who start their filmmaking education without editing first (and without footage from EditStock) this will be a totally new concept. When kids are handed a camera on day one in a class setting they typically do zero planning. I strongly feel that the best way to teach filmmaking is to start by editing, or at the very least by watching the dailies of professionals.
This time I start the kids off editing with all the footage right away. However, I give them one caveat. On their firs pass they need to stick to the storyboards as much as possible. This is also where I introduce the idea of an editors cut, vs a director’s cut.
In an editor’s cut they must:
- Use every camera angle at least once.
- Use every line of dialog.
- Use all the camera moves that the director intended.
Since the students have storyboards they don’t need to try and build the scene completely from scratch. This is why I give them all the takes to pick from.
Finally, we talk about what makes the editor’s role so special. Yes, we have storyboards, and yes we cut a great rough cut. But should the final cut be exactly the way it was planned and intended? Can we improve it? Of course we can, thanks to editing!