2. Lights, camera, action: A brief but badass history of film


By now, you’re probably feeling like you’ve got this screenwriting thing all locked down, so you’ll be ready for your next assignment. Grab a drink, make sure you’ve eaten, stick on your favorite tunes, and get ready for another A on your homework.

We’re going to start easy again today with a little light watching.

  • Watch a Charlie Chaplin silent movie – then watch another with recorded sound.
  • Get out your notebook and list the differences between the two movies.
  • Pull up Film Daily and watch Détour by Michel Gondry, shot entirely on iPhone.
  • Observe and listen to the way the short film uses sounds to tell the story. Perceive the clever and charming effects both visually and auditorily.

After watching Détour, answer the following:

  • Would the story be as powerful without the sound effects?
  • What emotions are conveyed through sound, rather than images?
  • How does the little red bike character emotionally grab the viewer?
  • How do the sound effects add to the overall viewer experience?
  • How does Gondry promote the idea of travel through this short?
  • How is comedy expressed through sound?
  • How does the film balance sound and visuals to create a compelling narrative?

Extra credit 1

If you want to get ahead by watching these other short films from a variety of genres:

Luna: a compelling drama

Tick Tock: a mind-bending story prompting multiple viewings

Lights Out: 3 minutes of sheer terror

The Black Hole: a simple and hilarious sci-fi comedy

Make notes about what makes these films stand out so much. What are the key plot points? How do they use sound to tell their stories?

Extra credit 2

Decide if you want to pen your movie under your own name or if you’d prefer to use a nom de plume. If it’s the latter, start getting creative with the name you’d like to be known as. Need inspiration? Try this fake name generator tool:



Tick Tock

Lights Out

The Black Hole

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.