I get a bunch of questions about film making on lostzombies.com
. Actually I don't get that many. In fact I get very few... But I do have some film making experience, so let's see if I can put it to good use. My goal with these posts is to answer questions and provide a set of useful, hack and slash, tools that will help you make better films. These will be simple, straight forward and practical lessons you can apply to your film making today.
I'm one of the founders of lostzombies.com
. I have a degree in film. I've written several feature length scripts and shot a handful of short films. I've spent a shit load of money making bad movies. I believe you can learn from my mistakes and make better movies.
I'm going to start with the basics and move on from there. For those that are familiar with some of these lessons I apologize, but I sincerely believe that if you can grasp these fundamentals you will have a solid knowledge of the film making process.
So today's lesson is about composition. Composition is basically the way you choose to frame your subject. I'm going give you guys a simple rule for composing your shots. It's called the rule of thirds. It looks like this.
The bottom line... Don't put your subject in the dead center of the frame. We can get into an indepth conversation about why this is unpleasing, but at the end of the day it doesn't matter. Just don't do it. Instead put your subject in any other square and you'll be golden.
Here's a great example.
This is a shot from 28 Days Later. Notice that the lead character is not centered. Rule of thirds. In fact, there's a lot more going on in this frame besides the rule of thirds, notice the guy behind our main character? Look at all that room on the left side of the frame and our buddy is there on the right, next to some dude. Is that dude a zombie? How does this frame make you feel?
Here's the same shot with the rules of thirds grid laid over the frame.
We can talk more about composition if you guys are up for it. We can talk about composition each day for the next year and hardly scratch the surface, but following the simple rule above, your compositions will always be solid.
Okay. I know there are some of you that are saying, "Bullshit Lost! What about this frame from The Shinning?!"
Stanley Kubrick was a genius. I am not. Seriously though, you can break this rule, but before you do, try following it. Once you have a clear understanding you can experiment with breaking rules. And if you are already making movies like Kubrick... WTF are you doing here?
If you have any questions or specific subjects you want me to tackle post them in the comments or send them to me.