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Hulu Summer Film School Course Syllabus

August 5th, 2014 by Kelly Lin

Whether they’re transporting us into a world of fantasy or revealing a deeper truth of our present moment, great films have a way of touching our hearts and changing how we look at the world. Using elements such as sound, cinematography, and lighting, filmmakers are able to tell powerful stories and create moments that are unforgettable. This summer, we’ll be examining these elements of filmmaking through some of the films that employ them best.

Miss a lesson or looking to review one from the past? Well look no further! Here you can find links to all our articles from previous weeks of Hulu Summer Film School. We’ll also be updating this post regularly as the new lessons are released. Happy learning!

1) Introduction to Story Structure and Screenwriting by Hulu Staff

2) The Three Act Structure: The Repeating Phantasm of Story by Jonathan Katz

3) Famous Screenwriters: Not Always an Oxymoron by Christopher Rowe

4) Links and Additional Resources for the Aspiring Screenwriter by Kelly Lin

1) Introduction to Cinematography by Hulu Staff

2) A Feast for the Eyes: Dissecting the Cinematography in Jiro Dreams of Sushi by Kelly Lin

1) Introduction to Color Theory and Lighting Selections by Hulu Staff

2) Lighting Persona by Michael Koresky of the Criterion Collection

1) Introduction to Soundtrack, Score, and Sound Design by Hulu Staff

2) Setting the Score with Source by Jonathan Katz

1) Introduction to Costumes and Set Design by Hulu Staff 

2) Valley Girls and Alien Hunks: The Cool Costumes of Earth Girls are Easy by Rookie Magazine writer Marie Lodi 

1) Introduction to Animation by Hulu Staff 

2) The Secret of Animation: An Exploration of the Guiding Principles behind The Secret of Kells by Kelly Lin 

1) Introduction to Post-Production by Hulu Staff

2) Making the Cut by Jonathan Katz

And that’s a wrap! This project was put together by a bunch of passionate film buffs at Hulu and we really appreciate you tuning in each week to learn about film. We hope you’ve looked at movies a different way and learned something you didn’t know before!

The Hulu Summer Film School Team

Last comment: Oct 13th 2015 3 Comments

Links and Additional Resources for the Aspiring Screenwriter

July 23rd, 2014 by Kelly Lin

Editor’s Note: This post is in conjunction with a special summer program on Hulu called Hulu Summer Film School. This summer, Hulu is using some of your favorite films to explore how filmmakers use elements such as sound, cinematography, and lighting to tell powerful stories and create moments that are unforgettable. Learn more at hulu.com/film-school. 

Want to expand your knowledge of screenwriting but not sure where to start?

Here are a couple extra credit resources to get you on the ‘write’ path.

- Go into the Story’s Script Database – Free and legal copies of some of the most recent and popular screenplays. After perusing the screenplays, check the website’s blog for screenwriting lessons and interviews with famous screenwriters.

-BBC Writer’s Room Guide to Script Formatting – A script about how to format a script.

-Andrew Stanton’s TED Talk - The man behind Finding Nemo and Wall-E gives his take on the keys to a great story.

-Dan Harmon’s Guide to Story Structure- The creator of Community provides his own interpretation of the Three-Act Story Structure, the story circle. See how the structure plays out in Breaking Bad here.

-The ScriptNotes podcast from John August and Craig Mazin – A weekly podcast from the writers of titles such as Big Fish, The Hangover Part II, and Frankenweenie, covering topics such as story structure, character development, and the nuts and bolts of entering the industry. A must-listen for any aspiring screenwriters.

Happy writing!

Last comment: Dec 5th 2015 1 Comment

Famous Screenwriters: Not Always an Oxymoron

July 21st, 2014 by Christopher Rowe

Editor’s Note: This post is in conjunction with a special summer program on Hulu called Hulu Summer Film School. This summer, Hulu is using some of your favorite films to explore how filmmakers use elements such as sound, cinematography, and lighting to tell powerful stories and create moments that are unforgettable. Learn more at hulu.com/film-school.

Screenwriters never get any love. That’s the conventional wisdom when it comes to film. Even the most brilliant writers toil to bring an idea to screen, but their fate is the same: indifference and obscurity for the writer, praise and immortality for the director.

Television and theater are different. Here, writers are seen to have primary creative control and may go on to have successful, respectable careers. But adjectives like “successful” and “respectable” are far too healthy for screenwriters. If you’re not a writer/director, you can be fairly certain that your name won’t even register in the mind of 99% of your film-going audience.

Occasionally, though, a screenwriter flouts conventional wisdom and gains recognition and success for their winning personality, thoughts on cultural issues of international importance, and charming physique. Ok. A screenwriter has never gained recognition for any of those things. But if I said the following writers became famous for their screenplays, you never would have believed me, would you?

Charlie Kaufman is probably the closest thing we have to a modern screenwriting auteur – that is, someone whose authorial voice seems to overpower a work so as to leave an indelible creative fingerprint. Though he’s taken the plunge into writing/directing with 2008’s Synecdoche, New York, Kaufman first gained widespread notice for his screenplay for 1999’s Being John Malkovich. From there, cinephiles eagerly awaited projects with Kaufman attached as writer. Kaufman wrote for directors like Spike Jonze, George Clooney, and Michel Gondry, but the thread that seemed to most strongly link Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind wasn’t that it fit into a particular director’s filmography. It was that it came from the mind of Charlie Kaufman.

Other writers have succeeded in writing movies, too. Nora Ephron came from a journalism background. Ephron reportedly helped in shaping the script for the Watergate-thriller All the President’s Men (she was married to Bernstein). She gained critical and commercial attention for her scripts for movies like Silkwood and When Harry Met Sally before writing and directing movies like Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail. Listen to Nora talk about her experiences as a screenwriter on Charlie Rose here.

Shane Black is a writer-turned-filmmaker who gained attention when he sold his screenplay for Lethal Weapon in the 1980s, thus helping to launch one of the most successful action franchises. Black became a symbol of the confident, financially successful writer and made his directorial debut with 2005’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Though Dustin Lance Black (no known relation to Shane Black) had quite a bit of experience writing and directing, he gained notoriety and celebrity after winning the 2008 Oscar for best original screenplay for Milk. In 2011, Dustin Lance Black penned the Clint Eastwood directed J.Edgar, and his name was a selling point in the film’s marketing.

What does this mean? That screenwriters live in a time when they’ll be loved and admired? That it’s easy to write something that gets made into a movie? A good movie? That writers who face disillusionment and rejection will one day be vindicated – an object of adoration in the center of a circle made up of beloved family and friends? No. It just means making it as a screenwriter is hard, but if you’re lucky enough to pursue a dream in writing movies, there are some stars on the horizon to help you out.

Visit the Hulu Summer Film School page to watch films from some of our favorite screenwriters and get a crash course on the classics.

Last comment: Feb 17th 2018 1 Comment