Continuity 101 (or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Scripty)
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#4: Grammar of the Film Language – Daniel Arijon

This one is not for the faint-hearted. Essentially, it attempts to show you every possible valid way of positioning and moving actors and camera to capture a shot. Yes, really. Hence the title – it’s providing the “rules of grammar” for film. So after the introductory chapters establishing the basic rules, you’ll get a chapter on shooting two-player dialogue, then one on three-player dialogue, then one on four-or-more, then on interior moves, then external moves and so on. And no, it’s not an easy read. But if you think this sort of thing is far too dry and theoretical and stifles the creativity needed to make great art on film, then you should stick to your home video.

It’s also the only book I’ve ever read (fiction or non) to come out of Uruguay.

And on the plus side, there are diagrams throughout demonstrating every point. The book was however originally written in 1976, so all the male actors in the diagrams wear sunglasses, polar necks and shaggy hairstyles, while the female actors… well, not much at all generally. These do at least provide some light relief, and you can always distract yourself trying to imagine what the hell the plots for these films could possibly have been (my favourite is the one on page 532, which I’m fairly sure is about to involve human sacrifice).


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Posted By That Continuity Guy On March 2, 2009 @ 1:42 pm In Further Reading

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