May 27, 2018

Here's an Analogy for Filmmaking That Will Be Music to Your Ears

"A film is—or should be—more like music than like fiction." -Stanley Kubrick

Certain things come naturally to certain people. Maybe for you, it's math, painting, sports, or carpentry. For me, it's music. There's something about it that just clicks in my brain and makes sense, which is completely opposite of my experience with filmmaking. Making movies does not make sense to me, not naturally, anyway. I have to fight and work so hard to understand such basic principles that sometimes it almost seems like I'm just not cut out for it.

But then I heard an analogy that totally put everything in perspective for me. Simon Cade of DSLRguide recently uploaded a video that illustrates the parallels between music and film, which, if you're 1.) confused about filmmaking, and 2.) a natural-born musician and use music to understand pretty much everything about the world already, then you'll want to check this video out.

This isn't the first time filmmaking has been compared to music composition. Director Todd Haynes (Carol, I'm Not There, Far from Heaven) once said that, "Music and film are parallel experiences. They are linear. They are narrative." However, Cade takes it a step further by fleshing out the similarities between the two crafts in order to provide a clear comparison that can be followed from start to finish.

As a drummer and editor, I appreciate the "percussion = editing" bit, because a drum beat is just like a heartbeat, pumping the lifeblood into a song as its rhythm reflects activity and stress, and you can literally say the same thing about good editing. However, as a guitarist and screenwriter, I appreciate the "melody = script" bit, because writing a good melody is just like writing a good screenplay: complicating it often kills it but simplifying it allows it to grow on its own.

Thinking of films as songs, if you're musically inclined, might open up new areas of understanding for you in cinema. The idea for a melody is brought to life by the chords, with a bassline to add depth and percussion to set the pace. That's filmmaking.      

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Insightful!

May 28, 2018 at 8:32AM

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