Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Silent Film Project: Research Assessment List

1. http://listverse.com/2010/01/27/top-15-greatest-silent-films/

2. http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/92535%7C0/Sherlock-Jr-.html

3. http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/11/pl_prototype_sherlockjr/

4. http://sensesofcinema.com/2002/great-directors/keaton/

Silent Film Project: Explanation

     Sherlock Jr. was made in 1924 and directed by Buster Keaton.  It is a 44 minute black and white silent film that, like many others in its time, is fast paced because the camera was hand cranked and the slower the camera man cranked it, the more frames per second the film would be. And the camera man could only hand-crank so fast. This is a picture of Buster Keaton:
   Sherlock Jr., like many of Buster Keaton's films, is filled with humor and spontaneity.  Often they are deadpan; He understood quite early in his life--when he was part of a vaudeville act with his parents--that he would get bigger laughs if he retained a serious expression.
      In Sherlock Jr., there is a sort of nervous man in a suit, tie, and homberg hat (who Buster Keaton actually played), which inspired the character, Jimmy, in my screenplay.  Many men in old silent films are dressed similarly.  Also it is fast paced, in black and white, fades in and out, has title cards, and has a comedic conflict-y tone to it.  I tried to incorporate all of this in my screenplay.

This is Sherlock Jr.

Silent Film Creative Piece: Screenplay

Title card: The Man and The Watch
Black and white. We are moving about 20 frames per second. JIMMY (35), in a suit, a tie, and a homburg hat walks in and there is a jing-a-ling-ling when he opens the door.
A man at the counter, GEORGE (41), also in a suit, a tie, and a homburg hat sees him and waves.
Title card: "Heya Jimmy!"
George moves his mouth in sync to the words we don't hear. 
Jimmy waves to George and meanders around the store, picking things up and putting them down, checking prices and grimacing. He picks up a silver watch. The price tag says 80 dollars.
A woman enters and starts perusing around. Jimmy glances nervously around him, at the woman, then at George.
George picks up todays newspaper from the counter and reads. The woman is leafing through a book, her attention averted from her surroundings. 
Jimmy glances at the silver watch on the shelf, then at his pocket, then back at George, then at the woman. The coast is clear.
Jimmy picks up the watch. We can see every detail: The indents perfectly stripped on the gleaming silver band, the gorgeously scripted numbers on the small circle of time. It is 3:23. Ticking, ticking.
He quickly shoves the watch in his suit pocket, then scans his eyes across the room for any hint of recognition to his crime. The women is still reading and George...
...has looked up from the paper! He's staring right at Jimmy.
Jimmy is startled, panicked, terrified, bright red. A wave of ruefulness rushes through him and he reaches in his pocket. He's going to surrender.
George smiles kindly at Jimmy. Jimmy relaxes his shoulders and a smile overtakes his anxious face. Everything is A-O.K.