November 11, 2014

How Martin Scorsese Pulled the Wool over Our Eyes in 'Wolf of Wall Street'

The Wolf of Wall Street
Sometimes, storytelling is less about what you show and more about what you keep hidden.

Cinema is a lie; its very nature centers on the illusion of motion, depth, and time. But this goes beyond the phi phenomenon -- the techniques we use to unfurl narratives, both cinematically and narratively, can be seen as tricks, sleights of hand, prestidigitation, the ol' bait and switch, that we perform on our audiences. How much information do we give to our audience at the beginning of our films? How do we reveal information as time goes on? What kinds of effects will our choices have?

These questions and more are answered in this excellent video essay sent to us by Milad Tangshir, who explores the techniques used by Martin Scorsese on The Wolf of Wall Street

There are so many ways to tell a story. Not every film is going to require a bunch of misdirection, especially if it doesn't fit inside the packaging of certain genres, like thriller, horror, spy, cop, etc. However, the way you reveal characters, their character arc, and emotional states, absolutely require some finesse, and by distilling the themes found in this video essay, you can use its lessons on your own projects.     

Your Comment

16 Comments

Excelent essay! Completely made me change my mind about the film. Now I want to see it again

November 11, 2014 at 11:11PM

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Rebecca Pelagio
film student
261

Here's my sub-article in lieu of the dog shit content Nofilmschool's been posting.

"Why Nofilmschool Is No Longer a Film Blog Superpower"

1. They steal content from more reputable writers and re-post it as "click bait"
2. Judging by the brief and easily agreeable copy it's easy to tell that the newer writers barely understand what they're writing about nor do the writers even watch some of the tutorials/case studies they post anymore.
3. Ryan Koo, Robert Hardy and Joe Marine don't write enough. And when they do it's half-assed. They are this blog, and they are dropping the ball.
4. Quality over quantity has been lost and the reputation of the blog is suffering as a result. The basic idea of "think before you speak" could really benefit some of the writers here.
5. Stop with the shitty headlines. EXAMPLE: "GoPro Footage of Fireworks Might be the Best Thing Ever" (seriously, the footage was dog shit) or "It's a Bird! It's a Plane! No, It's a Drone Filming a 4K Porn Called 'Drone Boning" (so....creative???)

Nofilmschool's identity crisis is so sad. It's a blatant display of the internet's current landscape in contrast to the informational creative paradise it used to be. It's great that people can still make money as bloggers and all but, when you don't practice what you write it comes through to the audience. I mean, shouldn't the goal of a blog be to provide original content that's going to keep both the advertisers and the readers coming back for your blog's point of view, instead of recycled nonsense that's just going to waset your audience's time.

Here are some other filmblogs that some of you might enjoy as a replacement:
- http://motionographer.com/
- http://www.eoshd.com/
- http://www.4kshooters.net/
- http://filmmakeriq.com/
- http://www.lynda.com/
- http://philipbloom.net/
- http://www.hurlbutvisuals.com/blob

Nofilmschool has had some great editorial moments in the past couple of years but, as of recently it's easy to see that they are on a strong downward spiral. I feel as a loyal reader that I need to let Nofilmschool know that every time I refresh your page and see another article I cringe and wish I could grab a time machine back to when Nofilmschool wrote original content and had pride in what they did and who they chose to write for them.

November 11, 2014 at 11:20PM

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Gordon Robert
Blog Reader Posing as an Important Filmmaker
148

thanks for sharing... will be checking those out!

November 12, 2014 at 2:52AM

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Torben Greve
Cinematographer
748

NFS comes as is. There is nowhere written or suggested that all you will read here is original content. Much of the material will be circulated and it should be. In the era of overwhelming info coming from everywhere, people need curators to collect and filter that info. Neither NFS ever claimed to be your "one-stop-shop" for everything. You can and you should read those other sites you suggested if you find them interesting and useful.
Critique is needed for everyone, but suggesting that some writers are better than others, I believe you understand it's just your opinion and only that. As you can check from the boards, the filmmakers in here come from very diverse backgrounds and level experience so everyone should be adressed. What you find interesting, I might find it boring as hell, and vice versa.
As for using cheesy titles as a click-bait there are maybe a few good reasons for that:
1) They need to grab your attention through your over-saturated timeline so you can enter and check for yourself
2) As you can check from the "popular" tab, unfortunately it's the names-dropping and the gear-porn posts that gather the most attention, not the more advanced filmmaking posts
3) NFS comes free so they have to sell ads. In order to do so, they need everyone's clicks.
Finally if you feel you have to contribute something useful to the filmmaking community, you should write an article and post it to the boards. If it gathers attention and positive feedback, then maybe NFS will include more posts like yours. Because, frankly, your only contribution here untli now, besides that lengthy critique, was... literally 2 words.

November 12, 2014 at 5:33AM

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Stel Kouk
Filmmaker
3132

Are you really trying to call me out saying that I've only written two words on here before this? You've written 1051 comments. This leaves me with one question. How's it taste?

November 12, 2014 at 1:56PM

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Are you really trying to call me out by saying that I've only written two words on here before this? Let me break social media down for you. Good stories get more engagement and in my honest opinion most of the stories here haven't really been that engaging because I've typically already read them somewhere else. The fact that you've written 1,051 comments on NFS is not a mark of honor, in fact it only leaves me with one question. How's it taste (NFS's dick)?

November 12, 2014 at 2:13PM, Edited November 12, 2:13PM

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Gordon Robert
Blog Reader Posing as an Important Filmmaker
148

It's easy to write such comments when you don't show your face, Mr. Casey... ;)

November 12, 2014 at 4:17PM

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Benjamin Chan
Filmmaker / Video Productions
201

Ok, fixed. Thanks for feeding the "trolls".

November 12, 2014 at 7:02PM

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Gordon Robert
Blog Reader Posing as an Important Filmmaker
148

Just a suggestion, but why don't you write up some of your filmmaking experience and post it as a board on the website - it would help you and everyone else a lot more than just getting negative.

The community on NFS is a huge - and positive - part of the site, and we could all make much better use of it. If you're not getting what you need from the articles either look elsewhere or actually add to the conversation yourself in a useful way.

November 13, 2014 at 5:19AM

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Alex Richardson
Director
3265

You may be right, but I am still very glad for all of those great links, because I dont have the time to search them on the internet.

November 13, 2014 at 11:13AM

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I see that Gordon is getting skewered here, but I just signed up for this blog so I could second his thoughts.
I can't speak for the specifics, but a year ago, I hit this site everyday- but now it might be once a week. Why? I'm not as sure as Gordon is, but the redesign is a start. NFS is now just like every POS site that has made itself iphone-friendly but childish in its interface.
Some sites have managed to keep me with their content, but the redesign in conjunction with the content- the site just doesn't draw me in like it used to.
Like Gordon, who's public enemy #1, I think it is important to report when things don't feel right. I think he presented himself soundly and a civil conversation is warrented. If he didn't care, he wouldn't post.

November 13, 2014 at 12:29PM

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Doug
224

Doug - I don't think there's anything remotely wrong with people expressing their views on an article - but I'd say that referring to an article as 'dog shit content', and asking someone who disagrees 'How's it taste (NFS's dick)?' probably doesn't show Gordon in the best light.

For me, I'd like to see more interviews with low-budget filmmakers. If you think there's something amiss with the content, try and put your finger on it, and then we can all avoid childish pissing contests and name-calling.

November 14, 2014 at 4:09AM

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Alex Richardson
Director
3265

Totally agree with Gordon. Used to really enjoy getting the weekly newsletter and clicking through to some really engaging articles but frankly now I dread it. I know just another round of disappointment awaits.

November 13, 2014 at 3:51PM

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Alec Kinnear
Creative Director
539

Hey guys,

Your feedback is not falling on deaf ears. While I think we have posted some great content in recent months, there is an inherent tension at the heart of being a "by filmmakers, for filmmakers" website: namely, when you are counting on filmmakers to write your articles, eventually they go off and... make a film. And then they're no longer available to write articles (see: myself, Joe). The solution, of course, is to hire more writers. And we'll be doing that soon, along with a hundred other improvements that have been on my list for years. But we've spent a lot of time and resources on relaunching the site, which, a few complaints notwithstanding (show me a redesign that hasn't been met with some detractors!), has gone really well, and we're only getting started on it. The main thing I disagree with is that our redesign is some "POS" that is "iPhone friendly." We've taken a lot of criticism for relaunching WITHOUT a mobile-friendly break point (which, like everything else, is in the works)! So it is not, in fact, iPhone-friendly at all. Get it right!

Seriously though, we value our community highly -- thus the relaunch with a full community component -- and I appreciate your input.

November 15, 2014 at 12:17PM

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

This video made me appreciate all the things that I once critiqued about the film. Nice job, Milad.

November 12, 2014 at 1:44AM, Edited November 12, 1:44AM

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Raafi Rivero
Director
155

November 12, 2014 at 3:01PM

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I rarely stay 30 minutes in front of a single video. But i enjoyed this film so much that I couldn't stop watching and learning something more about it. And the most surprising thing is that this essay is made from my course's Cinema and Theatre professor in Turin, and i discovered it just at the very end... I'm speechless! :D

November 13, 2014 at 7:00AM

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Brilliant film analysis! I've gained SO much insight into this film as well as the filmmaking process!!!

December 21, 2014 at 11:07PM

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Crystal McGhee
Director/Writer/Producer/Actor
121