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Elements of Design

In: Film and Music

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Elements of Design
ENG 225
Shelly David
Instructor Jane Doe
October 8th, 2012

Elements of Design Film production is very interesting when it is broken down into the different categories. It takes a great deal of people working together to complete the production of any movie; the director, production designer, art director, and cinematographer are just a few. There are many technical terms that will be defined in this paper so that you can have a better understanding of what is being discussed. The mise en scène is the main point of this paper which is what is seen in a movie. I have chosen a clip from the movie Hitch. (movieclips.com, 2005, 4/8, Hitch) The elements necessary for a well-designed film are; the artist’s involved in the film’s production, lighting, setting, costuming, makeup, and hairstyle, these are all part of the mise en scène that is being covered. “Many people contribute to the creation of a film.” (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011) We (the people and critics), the screenwriters, the actors, the cinematographers, the editors, and directors all play a very important role in the creation of a movie. The two most important to be discussed are the director and the art director, sometimes called the production designer. “The director is the person with the ultimate responsibility for the overall film.” (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011) The art director or production designer is “the person who determines the staging requirements for a production and often designs the sets or supervises their building and dressing.” (dictionary.com, 2012) The director of the movie Hitch is Andy Tennant. As the director, with the ultimate responsibility, Tennant must make sure that the finished film reflects his personal vision. (Goodykoontz & Jacob, 2011) Tennant also directs the actors and the action while shooting. This means he is the one to yell “CUT!” when he does not like the way a scene is progressing. Tennant directed several television shows before he made his film directing debut with It Takes Two and subsequently Fools Rush In. (sonypictures.com, n.d.) Tennant’s films are conversant by his attitude towards romance. Tennant says; “Basically, love is a wonderful problem we never solve. It’s this great merry-go-round of emotions that I find endlessly fascinating.” (sonypictures.com, n.d.) He was the understandable choice as director for Hitch because of his he had displayed his romantic comedy chops in great hits such as Sweet Home Alabama and Ever After. The art director or production designer, as it is sometimes referred to is, of the movie Hitch was Jane Musky. Musky is responsible for keeping the sets, props, and costumes appropriate to the story and characters. It was her responsibility to keep each individual character in their outfits for each scene. This to me seems like a very important and difficult job. I would think that Musky has to be an extremely diverse person to be able to keep everyone in the proper attire throughout the production of the entire film. Besides the movie Hitch, Musky has also been production designer for Mona Lisa Smile, Maid in Manhattan, When Harry Met Sally, and Ghost, all amazing films. Next, the lighting is probably the most crucial element of design. Laszlo Kovacs said; “We are defined by light. Light is the most important tool we have to work with, not only as cinematographers, but as people.” (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011) The artist uses lighting quite interestingly in this clip. The camera angles are mostly all close-ups and although certain shots make it appear to be brighter in the restaurant, when the emotions are high and intense the lighting levels are dimmer. Like when Hitch just finds out that his potential client does not want to find love with his connection, he only wants her for sex, and that is not what Hitch is about. He is about finding a love connection between two people and bringing them together. You can still see the light in the background so that you know it is daytime outside but when the camera gets close-up shots there is less light, almost a shadow around their faces. I think the lighting impacts the overall story the filmmaker is trying to tell by using low-key lighting for the intense and emotional scenes. In doing so they make the movie that much more interesting and funny. Then, comes the setting of the movie; the when and where it was filmed plus the culture. This particular film is set in present day, New York. The culture is the more sophisticated atmosphere, where people have more money than they know what to do with it. Albert, a shy accountant seeks Hitch’s assistance with getting Allegra to fall in love with him. Allegra is a sophisticated wealthy woman of the times. Albert is one goofy guy, who cannot even stand for himself, much less talk to a girl he really likes. Many times throughout the movie he gets discouraged but Hitch always brings him back. Moving on to what costuming can tell us about a character and what elements it might reflect about the film. Costumes can let you know the when and where a scene takes place. (Nusim, 2008) For example, the movie clip I chose, everyone in this clip is in fancy attire. Like a black tie restaurant where people go for business meeting and lunch at the same time. The only time you really ever see any of their faces in the background is when Hitch, twists the guys arm and flips him over onto the table and gives him the what-for (so to speak). In this clip, Hitch is dressed in a dark suit with a dark grey shirt and dark tie, presenting him as a powerful man. The stiff, tailored suit costumes in this clip represent strength, power, and authority. (Nusim, 2008) Now we can discuss how hairstyle and make-up can help tell a story. Hairstyle and make-up can show the mood of the story, as well as, social status, and emotional or psychological changes. (Nusim, 2008) As the story progresses or changes, you can see the hairstyles and make-up change as well. For example, Sara is typically seen as a business professional always in a dress suit ready to work, but in one scene she is just waking up on the couch and her hair is a mess. She has what we call bed-head. She looks confused and is wondering where Hitch is at, when he walks through the door with coffee and turns his back Sara immediately tries to straighten her hair to look somewhat tamed. This tells us that she likes this man and wants to make a good impression on him; she wants to get to know him better. In my opinion the mise-en-scène comes together perfectly. All of the elements come together just right at the correct timing to make this movie excellent. I feel the design elements are congruent with the filmmaker’s vision for this scene, as well as, the overall finished product. This clip goes from Hitch looking so interested and excited to be taking on this new client and he appears to feel great that he can bring this man, that seems to be very much in love, together with the woman of his dreams; to Hitch being shocked and appalled by the potential clients’ statement of wanting to get in, have sex, and get out so that he can get her out of his head. I am not sure how many takes it took to shoot this scene but it appears to have gone very smoothly, the way each scene unfolds and the emotions runs higher and higher until they reach physical (potentially violent) levels. Exhilarating! As everyone can see now it does take a great deal of diverse people to make a film production run smoothly and efficiently. Each and every person (the director, producer, production designer, actors, cinematographers, and everyone else) plays a specific role in the production process. The mise-en-scène is what you see in the scene. For example, the setting, lighting, costuming, makeup and hairstyle are all part of the mise-en-scène. In the movie clip, Hitch, we learn so much about all of these elements regarding the mise-en-scène. We learn how the how the lighting can affect our emotional understanding of each individual character. The mood is set by the lighting as well. The setting shows us when and where the scene takes place, as well as, the culture. Costuming can tell us about a person, whether they are strong and professional like Hitch and Sara, shy and clumsy like Albert, or powerful and rich like Allegra. Hairstyle and makeup changes are made throughout the movie as the mood changes. A sleepy, confused person will have messy hair. A person just getting out of the river from jet-skiing will not have on makeup, but when she comes out of the bathroom from getting changed she may be in full makeup. The mood changed from relaxed and fun to professional and business like in one scene. So much is to be learned from film production and I intend to enjoy learning it.

References
Dictionary.com (2012) Retrieved from: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/art+director
Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2011). Film: From Watching to Seeing. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. http://content.ashford.edu
Nusim, R. (2008). Characters by Design. Retrieved from: http://www.oscars.org/education- outreach/teachersguide/costumesmakeup/pdf/costumes&makeup.pdf http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/hitch/site/ Hitch. (2005). (4/8) Movie Clip – Professional Help. HD. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=0JmETteiVzo…...

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