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Visual Dramaturgy in Feature Films

Tutor:Slawomir Idziak

Level: zaawansowany


Online Workshop for directors and cinematographers – Tutor Sławomir Idziak

We will discuss the problems and solutions concerning visual dramaturgy during the six online sessions, which is so rarely the subject school’s interest. The course will be based on the film Gattaca, directed by Andrew Niccol.
The film starred Uma Thurman, Etan Hawke, Jude Law was my entry in high budget Hollywood movies. Gattaca selection for this workshop is due to the fact that this movie, shot almost a quarter of a century ago, deals with current issues. Genetic engineering – once science fiction is now feasible.
In addition to its anecdotic value, we will try to use this movie as the base for the visual dramaturgy of feature films.The course aims not only a verbal analysis of the Gattaca but an attempt to stage and shoot individual scenes by the participants according to the premise we will try to invent during the first sessions. You will stage the scenes with the help of your friends or family because it is not the quality of acting that matters in these filming but the problems of visualization. If there are more participants, we will try to engage real actors who would help us to make the scenes emotionally credible.
This educational version of the movie shot by the smartphone cannot be a replica of Gattaca it. Participants suppose to “create” an original piece (scenes) based on a different message/premise and shot in a completely different style.The first sessions will be devoted to the analysis of the script. This phase will emphasize the need to create and elaborate the outline of the style and message/premise for the future movie. Then, with the participant’s help, we will analyze how the way of shooting the script (style and message) impacts the quality of the film.We will discuss different models of prepping and shooting and the necessity to involve in this phase all collaborators who will influence the final shape of the film (actors, set designer, cinematographer, composer).
We will accentuate how often the routine treatment of this period is the cause of later failure. In this phase, the participants have to articulate their vision of future work. Above all, they have to invent a new message/premise and style for the forthcoming movie. The general idea is to develop a new and modern vision of Gattaca, which was made many years ago.During the remaining sessions, we will shoot the most critical scenes in chronological order, showing how often we deviate from the established assumptions in the process of creative work. Sometimes this has a positive but very often a negative effect on the final shape of our work. We will analyze the methods to control the risk during shooting.
Creating a Previs without a professional camera and technique will allow young participants to explore their inclinations and weaknesses. They are likely to notice, in collaboration with others, how often an individual idea is wrong or weak and how often a creative partner adds much more value from something that is just a seed by enhancing collaborator ideas. We will point out how control of one’s ego and openness to the views of others must not conflict with one’s sensibilities.
See you online,
Sławomir Idziak


Prof. Sławomir Idziak – President of the Board of the FSO Foundation. Graduate of the National Theatre and Film School in Łódź, renowned director of photography, film director, scriptwriter. As a film director and scriptwriter, he made two cinema movies and four medium-length films. As a cinematographer he made over 70 films in 14 countries e.g. films by Krzysztof Kieślowski i.a. Blue, Andrzej Wajda’s Conductor, Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down, David Yates’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. He has lectured in numerous film academies, won awards and has had honoured mentions in the Gdynia, Berlin, Venice, Prague and Auckland festivals. He was BAFTA, Cesar and Oscar nominee. He was awarded for his life achievements at the Plus Camerimage, Marburg, Miskolc and Cologne festivals.

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