Directing class with Krisztina Goda
Who says only men can be successful in the film industry? Who says they are more heavy-duty when it comes to long days of shooting and coordinating a crew of over a hundred people?
Well, Krisztina Goda surely broke those stereotypes. The famous director, whose films include Children of Glory and Just Sex and Nothing Else, gave a lecture at Budapest Film Academy to us, directing students. Days before class, we got an e-mail reminding us to watch Annie Hall from Woody Allen, even if we have already seen it. I admit that doing homework is not one of my strengths, but I knew that this time I cannot evade it.
I was right. Right off the bat the first question of the lecture was: “you guys watched the film I asked for, right?” I nodded proudly. But before we could get into the movie, Krisztina Goda thoroughly explained what tasks directors face on the verge of making a film. To get the material through, he brought a Power Point presentation to show the major points: how to pick a screenplay while taking into consideration the audience’s, the finance’s and your own point of view; how to start casting and why is it important to have that certain chemistry between your actors; and how to prepare a collection of pictures that will help the crew find the correct location for your film.
Krisztina Goda helped us with her confident and detailed approach to get a whole picture about what’s really a director. She didn’t want to mislead anyone. She was honest and told us that a director is considered successful if he/she can make a feature film every 3 or 4 years. In the meanwhile, doing commercials and TV series is what helps filmmakers pay their bills.
In the second part of the lecture we looked at Woody Allen’s film, exploring the dramaturgy, the location choices and the aims of scenes. For the best results, we watched the scenes again on a big screen while discussing the aspects mentioned before.
It was an exciting and useful class, I learned a lot. I can’t wait to meet her next time!
Petra Hadusovzky (Budapest Film Academy)
Screenwriting Class with Krisztina Goda
Goda Krisztina, undoubtedly one of the most successful female director-screenwriter in Hungary, held a lecture in Budapest Film Academy’s screenwriting class. Although I already had a program for the day, I knew I couldn’t miss this.
To prepare for the class, we were advised to watch Coppola’s unforgettable, well-known cult classic, The Godfather. When I heard this, I knew it was going to be one of the best lectures of the year. This task was interesting in itself, because I think there’s nobody among us who hasn’t seen the movie, but those who did, without hesitating, watched this treasure once again. If not twice.
In the first half of the class, we analyzed the film. We broke it up into little pieces using the story’s bigger turn points, then, in an interactive discussion, we nibbled through the protagonist’s motivations, goals, and the setbacks that make it hard for him to achieve those goals. All of this by watching matching clips from the movie. We discussed the important supporting characters’ roles in helping (or blocking) our hero on his path. We also talked about the dramaturgic choices which non-film students would not even notice, but their absence would surely put off the viewers. This, from a screenwriting point of view, led us to the conclusion that the movie was no wonder a success. The lecture highlighted such connections and momentums in the film which we could have never came up with on our own in a coffee-drinking film analysis get-together with friends.
After we parted ways with The Godfather, came screenwriting itself. In a presentation, we went through point by point what steps precede the actual writing. Through the telling of her own experiences and stories, we found out how important the personal drive is, how much rewrite it takes before a script reaches shooting status, how much do we need to stick to our original ideas, and what kind of setbacks can we encounter during writing. The final conclusion was, of course, that if you’re really determined there’s nothing that can stop you.
In the third part of the class, it was time to discuss our own story ideas. In one or two minutes, everyone had to pitch their screenplay to Krisztina, who as a competent person showed us their weaknesses and strengths and gave the writers some good advice. Although, I personally wasn’t brave enough to tell my story, I think everyone left the room in a good mood after those encouraging words.
The whole lecture was held in a pleasant, chatty, friendly atmosphere.
I hope there will be a similar occasion in the future. If not two.
Kristóf Kantár (ELTE – Budapest Film Academy)