Most of the people go the cinema really often. They drive theirs cars to the desired movie theatres, maybe stand in the line to get tickets, head to the bar, and then finally find themselves in comfortable seats, waiting to be immersed by another story. Yet, I bet few of them know of numerous detailed and complex patterns which lie behind that immersion – and who exactly executes them. Essentially, these patterns sprout from the director’s vision of the film, production designer’s creative contribution to it, and are supported by the work of the art director. These elements include lightning, setting, costumes, make-up and hairstyles. They should be present in the film to make its world interesting and vivid. Even taken a single short scene, “A Nightmare on the Elm Street”, a 2010 remake of a classic, is a trustworthy example that shows the highlighted elements substantially help the film work.
Description of Artists’ Duties
The director is the propelling creative force in production of the film. Foremost, directors are responsible for creatively translating the film on the screen. They generally define and visualize the style and structure of the film, and act as storytellers to bring the concept they came up with to life. Director’s responsibilities may include planning filming locations and their selection, choosing the appropriate pacing, acting styles and other elements which concern the vision and feel of the movie. Directors oversee the cinematography, including the shot composition and selection, technical aspects, and editing (Film Director). Moreover, they instruct and lead the actors along the way, and coordinate the film’s staff and overall shooting process. In addition, directors may be in charge of casting and script editing.
The production designer collaborates with the director and producer to choose locations, settings, and designs a consistent visual approach to tell the film’s story. They oversee the work of the art director to technically develop the designed concepts into practical sets. Production designers also direct all the professionals who contribute to the aesthetic of the film: the set decorators, and designers, illustrators, model makers, art department coordinators, location managers, construction coordinators, who oversee the building of sets with a foreperson, prop makers, laborers, painters, green persons and scenic artists, as well as visual and special effects staff (Production Designers and Art Directors). What is more, production designer works with the sound crew regarding acoustics and positioning of microphones in relation to different sets.
The art director is subordinate to production designer and mostly has the same duties. Essentially, art director’s main function is to practically support and follow through on the visual concepts for the film; that support includes a combination of both creative and management skills. In addition, the art director is completely or partly responsible for the efforts of many departments within the production, like Art Department, Construction, Set Dressing, Locations, and Visual and Special Effects departments (Production Designers and Art Directors).
Examples of Contributions in the Selected Scene
“A Nightmare on the Elm Street” is Samuel Bayer’s directorial debut in the cinema. Regarding the chosen scene from the film, Bayer selected the shots, pacing, lightning, and probably guided actors a couple of times through it.
Patrick Lamb is the production designer of the movie. He cooperated with location managers for them to find a house to shoot in and arrange permits, guided the set decorators and designers, and model makers to create a room corresponding to a feminine character living in that house, and worked with the sound crew regarding the acoustics of the room and location of microphones.
Craig Jackson, the art director of this movie, helped Lamb to manage this process, more deeply cooperation with highlighted staff to reach the set goal
Usage of Lightning in the Selected Scene
The scene takes place in the night, in the room of a suburban house. Jesse Brown, played by Thomas Dekker, pays an unexpected visit to his ex-girlfriend Kris Fowls, played by Katie Cassidy, as she preparing to go to sleep (Bay, Form, & Fuller, 2010). The scene utilizes low key lightning to underline the time of the day, and the fact that Kris is preparing herself to sleep. In addition, the chosen lightning technique underlines a point in the story – Jesse and Kris find out that they are having the same dream with a horrifying man wearing a fedora, green and red sweater, and a glove with blades. Tension grows in the scene; Kris is scared and depressed.
Film is set in a fictional suburban town of Springwood, Ohio, the original home of film’s villain, Freddy Kruger (Shaye & Craven, 1984) to relate to the original film. Presumably, it is the second part of 2000’s due to the design of film’s sets and architecture of some locations. High-school attendants, who make up the most of the characters, do not use mobile devices like they do nowadays, but Internet is accessible. In addition, clothing and hair trends of characters somewhat resemble this time period. It is a modern remake, so this time period was chosen for the potential viewers to relate to the overall setting.
Clothing, Hairstyles and Make-up of Characters
These elements project who the character is as a person, or who he wants to be, as well as where he or she comes from geographically or as of social order. In the chosen scene, all these elements are used to reveal two types of common horror movie characters, the time of the day and season.
Most likely, it is the beginning of the summer. Kris wears a singlet and short panties to bed. Her hair is gathered behind her head, because she is going to sleep. She has a popular modern hairstyle with a long fringe. Light make-up and red lipstick underline her attractiveness. All in all, she looks like a beautiful girl everybody in the high-school want to date – and the one who will not make it to the end. Indeed, sometime after they finish talking with Jesse she is killed by Kruger.
Jesse wears blue jeans, a singlet, and an unbuttoned chequered shirt. His short black hair is messy, and eyes a shaded with make-up to go with it. In general, he looks like a typical movie daredevil who always gets it trouble and attracts girls. In the scene, uninvited, Jesse climbs on the second floor of the house Kris lives in to talk to her while avoiding her parents, and then is wrongly accused of murdering her and killed in the cell.
Opinion on the Scene
This is a classic scene common to many legendary and mainstream horror films. In my opinion, all the elements work together reasonably: lighting corresponds to the time of day, underlines, and then stresses the atmosphere; clothing, hairstyles and make-up clearly typify the character, time of the day and season – and all of these elements are put into the corresponding setting.
The scene is crucial to the film; it spins the story wheel further and builds up tension, making viewers cringe in their seats. It surely fits the director’s vision, because it is a remake of a classic horror. The scene may be the cornerstone of the story and homage to mainstream horror films.
Art Directors Guild. Production Designers and Art Directors. Retrieved from http://www.adg.org/?art=adg_1
Bay, M., Form, A., & Fuller, B. (2010). We're Having the Same Dream [Movie clip]. Retrieved from http://movieclips.com/crHj-a-nightmare-on-elm-street-movie-were-having-the-same-dream/
Shaye, R. (Producer), & Craven, W. (Director). (1984). A Nightmare on Elm Street [Motion picture]. United States: Media Home Entertainment, & Smart Egg Pictures.
Skillset. Film Director. Retrieved from http://www.creativeskillset.org/film/jobs/direction/article_3880_1.asp