The Lean Forward Moment: Create Compelling Stories for Film, TV, and the Web

Book description

In this groundbreaking book Norman Hollyn outlines his 'Lean Forward Moment Method' of storytelling that applies to all aspects of the film-making process and media production. Whether you are an editor, producer, director, cinematographer or visual effects pro, this book will provide the essential techniques you need to create engaging content that emotionally connects with your audience. The core storytelling techniques in this book, apply equally to all levels and types of film and media projects: feature films, television documentaries, fiction, web-based video games, commercials, event films and much more. As an Associate Professor at the School of Cinematic Arts at USC and having worked on movie projects with such Hollywood greats at Alan J Pakula, Sidney Lumet and Francis Ford Coppola, Norman Hollyn is uniquely qualified to provide you with the conceptual and practical tools to tell your story effectively. After the initial formative chapters, Norman examines the filmmaking process in its three main areas - preproduction, production and postproduction. Within each area he describes how the Lean Forward method can help with every step of the creative process (setup, scene description, the script, production design, direction, cinematography, editing, opticals and special effects, music and sound). He then brings together the concepts he discusses by providing real world examples from a drama, an action film, a documentary and a commercial.

"Norman Hollyn uses the ancient magic of alchemy to reveal the art of making a great film. Writing an outstanding primer on filmmaking, he provides an historical perspective from several iconic movies, revealing the innermost secrets of successful filmmakers. If you want to construct a film, you need this book!" - MARTIN COHEN, President of Post Production, Paramount Pictures.

"Norman Hollyn's The Lean Forward Moment speaks volumes about the art and craft of filmmaking. His elegant explanations of editorial choices and creative decisions tell the full story. It is a serious work and it will be a resource for every emerging filmmaker" - IAN CALDERON, Director of Digital Initiatives, Sundance Institute.

"Only a film editor, with a career of experience in the cockpit of the cutting room, could so clearly and completely explain how some storytelling efforts succeed and others fail. Fortunately, Norman Hollyn is such an editor, and he has given us the gift of explanation in the richly illustrated The Lean Forward Moment." - BILL KINDER, Editorial and Post Production Director.

Table of contents

  1. Copyright
    1. Dedication
  2. Endorsements for The Lean Forward Moment: Create Compelling Stories for Film, TV, and the Web
  3. Acknowledgments
  4. Introduction
    1. How This Book Is Organized
  5. One. How We Tell Stories
    1. Creating Change
    2. The Logline and Scene Analysis
    3. The Lean Forward Moment
  6. Two. Loglines for Our Films
    1. Alien
    2. The Battleship Potemkin
    3. Citizen Kane
    4. Contempt
    5. Coons
    6. Drawn by Pain
    7. Finding Nemo
    8. “For You” Music Video
    9. The Godfather
    10. I... Dreaming
    11. Into the Arms of Strangers
    12. Lost
    13. The Matrix
    14. Monsoon
    15. The Real World: Los Angeles
    16. Satacracy 88
    17. Saucony Sneakers Ad
    18. Shelter
    19. Terminator 2
  7. Three. Writing
    1. Do You Always Need a Script?
    2. The Script
      1. Creating an Impact with Your Words
      2. The Shape of the Words on the Page
    3. Writing the Scene in The Godfather
      1. Moving Toward the First Lean Forward Moment
      2. The Second Lean Forward Moment
      3. The Final Lean Forward Moment
      4. Recap
    4. “Scripting” the Documentary
      1. Using Narration To Shape a Script
      2. Using Interviews To Shape Story
    5. Writing in the Filmmaking Process
  8. Four. Production Design
    1. What Is a Production Designer?
    2. When Production Design Happens
    3. Color Palette
    4. Set Design
    5. Wardrobe, Hair and Makeup, and Props
    6. Production Design in The Godfather
    7. Style and Other Opportunities
    8. Production Design in the Filmmaking Process
  9. Five. Directing
    1. Pre-Production
      1. Analysis and Collaboration
      2. Locations and Sets
      3. Casting and Working With Actors
      4. Crew Selection and Collaboration
        1. Location Scouts
        2. Tech Scouts
      5. Shot Lists
      6. Production Meeting
    2. Production and Set Protocol
      1. Directing and Blocking Actors in The Godfather
      2. Creating Emotion Through “Cheating”
      3. Directing Actors
        1. Shaping Performance
        2. Controlling the Mood
      4. Lean Forward Moments and the Actor’s Beats
      5. Business and Props
    3. Communicating in Post-Production
    4. Directing in the Filmmaking Process
  10. Six. Cinematography
    1. Composition and Blocking
    2. Camera Angles
    3. Camera Movement
    4. Lighting and Focus
      1. Deep Focus in Citizen Kane
      2. Color and Light in The Godfather
    5. Lab Work and Completion
      1. Digital Intermediates
    6. Cinematography in the Filmmaking Process
  11. Seven. Editing
    1. Editing The Godfather
      1. Using the “Rule of Threes” to Determine Mood
      2. Shaping the Scene
      3. Moving Toward the First Lean Forward Moment
      4. The Second Lean Forward Moment
      5. Moving Toward the Third Lean Forward Moment
      6. Recap
    2. Setting Up Your Story and Style
    3. Editing Tools
      1. Pacing
      2. Editing Values
    4. Rules and Breaking Them
    5. Editing in the Filmmaking Process
  12. Eight. Opticals and Visual Effects
    1. Simple Visual Effects
      1. Opticals and the Logline in Citizen Kane
      2. Creating Emotion in Into the Arms of Strangers
      3. Simplifying Time and Story in 24
    2. More Complicated Opticals
    3. Using Effects in a Commercial
    4. Accenting Style
    5. Opticals in the Filmmaking Process
  13. Nine. Music
    1. How Music Spotting Creates Change
      1. Music in The Matrix
      2. Music in Drawn by Pain
    2. How Style and Tone Shape Change
      1. Leitmotif
    3. Using Music in The Godfather
    4. Music in the Filmmaking Process
  14. Ten. Sound
    1. Location Sound
    2. Using the Scene Analysis
    3. Post-production Sound
    4. Style in Sound
    5. Designing Sound in The Godfather
    6. Using Atmosphere to Shape a Scene
    7. The Effective Use of Silence
    8. Sound in the Filmmaking Process
  15. Eleven. Special Exceptions to the Rule?
    1. Action Films
    2. Horror Films
    3. Episodic Storytelling
      1. Television Series
      2. Web Series
      3. Episode and Commercial Breaks
    4. Reality Television
    5. Experimental Films
    6. Really Short Films
      1. Commercials
      2. Music Videos
    7. Nonbroadcast Video
    8. Distribution
  16. Twelve. Producing: Putting it All Together
    1. The Pitch
    2. Collaboration
    3. Graphics and Ideas
    4. Maintaining Your “Audience Eye”
      1. Dealing With Changes
      2. Previews
      3. Danger, Danger, Danger
    5. Producing in the Filmmaking Process
  17. Thirteen. The Dirty Little Secret
    1. Conversations With Collaborators
    2. Film School
    3. The Beauty of This System
  18. Additional Resources
    1. Books
    2. Films, Podcasts, and Online Audio/Video
    3. Valuable Web Sites and Magazines

Product information

  • Title: The Lean Forward Moment: Create Compelling Stories for Film, TV, and the Web
  • Author(s):
  • Release date: December 2008
  • Publisher(s): New Riders
  • ISBN: 9780321591005