Educating a casual Pakistani film goer

I have heard some of my friends saying ‘Pakistani movies are getting better, some are actually good.’ I disagree. There can’t be any move towards betterment without fixing the fundamentals. Also I don’t think if anyone who haven’t watched around 500 different movies has a scale developed enough to distinguish a good movie from a bad one. Unfortunately our casual Pakistani film goer may have a bachelors degree but is still as illiterate as an ‘angootha-chaap’ when it comes to films. Like in school, movie knowledge also comes from watching and studying movies. Lots of them. There is no short cut to this, but here are a few parameters that one need to check in a movie and are worth studying even if one has watched a lot of movies.

What needs to be in a movie? The 7 basic elements of a movie:

  1. Literary Design (Script is the heart of a movie and probably the hardest part. Without a good script everything else is pointless. It’s complicated what to call a good script but in short it should have an interesting idea, captivating story, good dialogue and dynamic character that show growth.)
  2. Visual Design (Set design, costumes, use of colors, blocking, lighting and, hair and makeup.)
  3. Sound Design (Music composition, Audio quality, Sound effects and songs)
  4. Cinematography (It is defined as the art of photography and camerawork like camera placement and shot sizes but to really understand what it means you will have to watch a few Youtube videos about the cinematography style of different directors especially David Fincher, Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino)
  5. Editing (Establishes tone of the movie with transition, cuts and audio-video syncing)
  6. Acting (Casting, actors’ performances and chemistry on camera and with each other)
  7. Marketing (ad campaign and trailer) may not be a direct parts of a movie but it makes a big difference in establishing the context in which a movie is perceived. Along with attracting viewers to watch the film obviously.)

Another important aspect without which a movie is not complete is the truth test. How the movie is perceived, what does it makes people feel and how true is it to the message or idea the filmmaker wants to convey. This is a test of how good all other elements of film go with each other and also marketing. An movie released without taking this aspect into account is an still an incomplete movie bound to flop. This is what you call a premature release. This step includes countless rewrites of script before shooting and limited releases for test audience during and after that may lead to some re-shoots. It’s like the experimentation and conclusion phase of the scientific method.

Here are a few of many good film-education channels that you can follow if you want to understand movies better. First of all the essentials, Lessons from the Screenplay, Every Frame a Painting, WiseCrack and Cinefix (their movie lists), then Film Courage, Ryan Hollinger is good and NerdWriter1 although he covers many other topics other than film too, then TheFilmGuy also HoustonProduction has some good videos, Cracked for the harsh truths or over criticism, CrashCourse for Film History, and finally Rocket Jump Film School if you want to know what goes behind the scenes and how it’s done. Twitter me if you know any other good movie making/film education related channels I need to be following. Laters 🙂


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