Monday, 30 January 2017

Film Review - Rope

The 1948 film Rope was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It was based on a play of the same name written in 1929. The film follows two men who murder a friend of theirs and then proceed to host a party, all while the dead body is hidden in a trunk in the room. As the party progresses and the guests remain unaware of their friends death, Phillip is shown slowly falling to his guilt while Brandon remains unnervingly cheerful about his success until inevitably Rupert figures out their secret.

Figure 1 - Movie Poster

The film is shot without any cuts which adds to the feeling of it being a play. The limitations of the time meant that there was no way to film in one solid chunk, as such 'Hitchcock's camera was loaded with 10-minute reels, and had to duck behind an actor's back, or a piece of furniture, to "invisibly" cut from one piece of film to the next.' (Hutchinson, 2012). This meant the room often felt small to the viewer as they were shoehorned behind various objects and people.

It also adds suspense in that the viewer is often left unable to see characters or hear dialogue clearly, leaving them unable to gauge the characters they can't see. The use of the continuous shot allows for the passing of time to be shown which allowed the film to keep it's suspense. As Ebert said 'The play depended, for its effect, on the fact that it was one continuous series of actions. Once the characters have entered the room, there can’t be any jumps in time, or the suspense will be lost. The audience must know that the body is always right there in the trunk.' (Ebert, 1984).

The emphasis on the trunk is further enhanced by Hitchcock keeping the trunk in the front of a multitude of shots, as seen in figure 2. One shot that uses the trunk to it's advantage in this way is when the maid is clearing the dinner away as seen in figure 3. 'While the guests are discussing something of no great moment just off- screen, the camera, catlike, stares at the chest as the maid gets ready to put some books back into it, unaware, of course, that the chest is already fully occupied.' (Canby, 1984).

Figure 2, The Trunk

Figure 3, Maid putting the books away
The way the camera moves adds to the tension in the room as it makes the place feel smaller and everyone in it feel more cramped together. This in turn makes it feel as though 'They're trapped, and so is the audience. Perversely, this cinematic experiment replicates the theatrical experience: Rope feels "live", which means that at any minute one of the actors could do something unexpected, such as fluff their lines, or heaven forbid, open the trunk.' (Hutchinson, 2012). As such the viewer is constantly waiting to see not to see if they Phillip and Brandon will get found out but rather when they will.

Image List:

Figure 1, Movie Poster -

Figure 2, The Trunk -

Figure 3, Maid putting the books away -


Canby, V, 1984, 'Rope': A Stunt to Behold (Online) - (accessed on 30/01/2017)

Ebert, R, 1984, Rope (Online) - (accessed on 30/01/2017)

Hutchinson, P, 2012, My favourite Hitchock: Rope (Online) - (accessed on 30/01/2017)

Maya - Pan Shot

Maya Camera Panning from Alexis on Vimeo.

Maya - Substance Materials

Sunday, 22 January 2017

@phil - Story Ideas

1. The Scarecrow isn't very good at scaring away mice, he wants a music box to give as a gift to the farmer but has no money to buy one so he takes the mice he attracts to the pet shop to sell them so he can earn himself enough money to buy the music box and give it to the farmer.

2. Scarecrow owns a pet shop, a child with a music box enters the pet shop but then accidentally leaves the music box behind, scarecrow needs to bring it back to them.

3. Scarecrow is part of a pet shop display, comes alive at night and walks around petting the animals, finds a music box on the floor and not knowing what it is plays it, is really happy when he discovers what it does and wants to keep it. The next day a kid comes in looking for the music box but the scarecrow doesn't want to part with it, he ultimately chooses to leave it somewhere the owner will see in the morning so they can return it to the child.

I like these three, I'm just not sure which one is the best to go with, I think possibly the third one?

From Script To Screen - Like for Like Storyboard

Like for Like storyboard of a section of 'The Road to El Dorado'.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

From Script to Screen - Current Ideas

Scarecrow, Music Box, Pet Shop - Ideas

1- Scarecrow that was created by a farmer, is bored standing in the field all day so the farmer gives him a music box, the scarecrow is still lonely so the farmer decides to get a pet for him? (Would follow the farmer as he notices the scarecrow be lonely and goes to the pet shop)

2- Scarecrow is an ornament/toy in the pet shop? Comes to life when the music box is played? Little child winds up music box which makes the scarecrow come to life? (Not sure what he's come to life to do?)

3- Scarecrow owns pet shop? Scarecrow owns pet shop, looks after the pets in the shop, Music box is left on his counter? Plays it and the music seems familiar but he cant tell why? Remembers the farmer that made him?

4- Music box calms animals? Calms the scarecrow? Brings scarecrow to life? (Not sure where the pet shop comes into things here)

5- Music box attracts crows/birds/mice? (Pet shop again)

6- Wants a pet but scares the animals? Needs music box to calm them down? scarecrow would want to get a pet shop pet but because they're scared of him he would need the music box (not sure how this would work, how he would get the music box?)

I'm still trying to figure out which is the most workable idea, I'm not sure at the minute.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Character Design Workshop - Session 2

The first task was to take a favourite character and change the shapes used in them. I chose Loki and first tried to make him with more square shapes to give him a more heroic look. I then tried to increase the triangle shapes in his design to make him look more evil. I feel like I could have made him more angular in places like his jawline and the horns on his headpiece
adding more squarish shapes, Justin's advice is the blue
adding more triangular shapes
The second was to create characters based on the trope we were given. I was given cowboys and created these two characters from that.

cowboys and girls

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Maya - Crane Shot

Crane_Shot from Alexis on Vimeo.

Maya - Dolly Rig Shot

DOLLY_RIG_SHOT from Alexis on Vimeo.

Maya - Pitch Shot

Pitch_Shot from Alexis on Vimeo.

Maya - Camera Roll

Staircase_Roll_All from Alexis on Vimeo.

Character Design Workshop - Session 1

Upon being given an image of wreck-it-ralph the task was to either simplify or add realism to the character. I first tried to simplify the character by making him as if he was made more of block shapes with little detail. I feel like I could have simplified the character further as he is still fairly detailed.
 Next I tried adding realism. On my first attempt I found that I had shifted away from the way the characters face actually looked and so it was suggested to me that I keep the characters features the same size as in the original while adding more detail to the features. I feel this worked better overall.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Soundscapes - Images

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3
Image 1:
- A virus
- Jelly
- A gooey sort of substance

Image 2
- Electricity
- Mushrooms
- Growing
- Movement

Image 3:
- Plants
- Growth
- Sticky
- Water

From Script To Screen - Words

Character:   Scarecrow

Environment:   Pet Shop

Prop:   Music Box

Ideas I have include:
- A lonely scarecrow that wants a pet but can't enter the shop without scaring the animals
          - maybe needs to aquire the music box to calm them down
- Scarecrow has a music box that calms animals down, uses it to calm crows/birds
          - Takes them to a pet shop to keep them safe or stop them eating the crops