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The purpose of this blog is to explain the basics of art and culture to English language learners in secondary school in Slovakia. This is not for profit. If you look to your right, you'll see a long list of topics that I plan to cover. This is a large project that will most likely take years to complete, covering some topics I know little about (like dance), so I will be borrowing heavily from other experts, with their permission, giving credit wherever possible. Please be patient, and, of course, all advice is greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Film Vocabulary

3D films and glasses - These are films that use a stereoscopic system to record the same scene from two different perspectives. These two recordings are then combined, and viewers wear special glasses to see it, enhancing the illusion and depth. This technology was first developed in 1915, and gained some popularity in the 50's and 60's, but was never really mainstream (popular everywhere and easy to find) until now.

4D films - at Madame Tussauds in London, they have a 4D theatre. In addition to the 3D film, they have special seats with motorized parts and spray nozzles. When there's a loud crash, the chairs shake. They can poke your back, vibrate, and spray you with water.

a bit part - This is when an actor has just one or two scenes in a film, and they don't say much. If the actor is really famous, the appearance is called a cameo.

a body double - This is an actor/model who takes the place of a famous actor during a nude scene. Sometimes a famous actor is older, and may not look so good naked, so a younger, prettier actor is found.

a box office/ticket office - This is where you get tickets for films or live theatre performances. In most small towns it's located in the theatre. In large cities, you might find one box office selling tickets for many theatres. You can also get tickets online at websites like Fandango.

a blockbuster film - a very popular film, earning lots of money, usually very expensive to make. It can be any genre. Titanic was a blockbuster.

a box office bomb/a flop - a terrible failure that loses lots of money. The biggest flop in history is currently Mars Needs Moms.

a chick flick - a film made for women to enjoy, usually a romantic comedy. 'Chick' is slang for a pretty woman. How to Lose a Man in Ten Days is a chick flick.

closing credits – These are the lists of people who helped make the movie, shown at the end of every film.

a documentary - a non-fiction film that discusses and explores a topic. Most focus on current problems. Some focus on biographies or history.

a mockumentary - a fictional film with hired actors, meant to seem like a real documentary - usually a comedy. To mock someone means to mimic/imitate and make fun of someone. Famous examples include Spinal Tap, Man Bites Dog, and Borat. Borat is different because most of the people shown weren't actors, but unsuspecting victims (of their own idiocy).

an extra - this is any actor in a film with no lines. These are people in crowds, at restaurants, walking down the street, etc.

a film/a movie/a flick/a feature film - All these words mean the same thing. A feature film just means it's a full length film (at least ninety minutes), not a short.

a film short - Any film that's not feature length. There's no consensus (agreement) on the maximum time, but it's around forty minutes.

a film critic - Anyone who is paid to critique films.

IMAX – a theatre featuring high definition film, with 10 times the frame size of 35mm film.

an independent film – any film that's produced outside a major film studio.

a major film studio - a company with enough money to create a big budget film, meaning a film costing millions of dollars just to make. It's a risky business because, if the film's a flop, the company can go bankrupt. Major film studios include: Sony/Tri-Star, Time Warner/DC, Universal, Fox, and Paramount.

a movie projector - the machine that shoots, or projects, the film onto the movie screen. You can see it in a little window at the back of the theatre hall.

a preview/a trailer - This is an advertisement for a new film, coming soon to theatres, with little bits from the film giving some idea of what the film is about.

a film producer - A producer is a supervisor for a film, throughout its production. The producer can choose which films to make, the actors, the director, etc. Producers often work on several films at once, so they sometimes hire assistants, called executive producers to work on just one film. While the director usually has most of the creative control, the producer controls the money.

a projection screen/the big screen/the silver screen - This is the large, white screen, or canvas, where films are shown. You can buy smaller ones for use in school. We have some at our school. The big screen, and the silver screen can also refer to film in general, and the business of making films.

a refund - This is when a company gives you your money back. Sometimes, if there's a problem with the film and you can't see it, the theatre will give you a refund, or a new ticket for a different day.

a remake - This is when a studio decides to remake a previous film. It's not a sequal, it's the same exact story, usually with different actors. This usually happens when a director or a writer isn't happy with the original. Famous examples include George Lucas' Star Wars trilogy, and Stephen King's Shining. In both cases, the originals were better.

a screening room - This is a small theatre where people get to see a film before it's released to the public. They get to watch the film, sometimes with several different endings, and then they fill out a survey, saying what they did and didn't like. This is a common way of testing a film so it won't be a flop.

a sequal - a film that continues the story of a previous film. Sequals are notorious for being bad. They're an easy way to make more money on a popular film, but the stories are usually poor. Some sequals are actually good. It depends on the writer, director, and whether the sequal was planned from the start (Kill Bill) or not (Jaws 4)

a stuntman - This is an actor whose job is to perform dangerous stunts in a film, such as crashing cars, falling from buildings, and running around on fire. They often do the dangerous work so that famous actors don't have to. Some actors, like Jackie Chan, do all their own stunts.

a ticket - You all know what a ticket is, but have you ever heard of a ticket stub? This is what's left, when you show your ticket to the worker by the theatre hall, and he tears it in half. You have to keep this stub if you want to go to the bathroom during the show and then return to the movie. The person who checks your stub is called an usher.

a trilogy - This is when a story is broken up into three films, usually because it's too long for one film. The Lord of the Rings is a trilogy.

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