Taking Film Courses? 4 Tips for Making Memorable War Movies

Posted on November 11th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

War movies are some of the most expensive and elaborate to film

War movies are some of the most expensive and elaborate to film

The very first war movie to depict the struggles of battle was The Big Parade, filmed in 1925. The film starred a bartender, riveter, and millionaire’s son thrown into the trenches of WW1 together. In many ways, this movie set the tone for many iconic films to come.

Although most of us haven’t been to war, many of us base our interpretations off the narratives of veterans and films about war. Some critics believe the war film genre glorifies war and deserves criticism. However, many others believe well-crafted war films hold the power to expose the realities real-life soldiers have faced.

As filmmakers, crafting realistic and honourable war movies that are honest to war-time situations could help to honour soldiers and their stories. If you’re interested in the art of film, read on to discover four tips for making memorable war films.

1. Students at Film School Should Make Well-Researched War Movies

War films can either be based on historical wars, like the World Wars and Vietnam War, or fictional wars thought up by the minds of creatives like you. When writing the screenplay for a film that is based off a real war, it is important to do thorough research on the actual events that took place.

Many war film fans and history buffs can see right through a bluffed story line, and the film will immediately lose believability if not carefully researched. By making sure certain details remain true to what actually occurred, you help the viewer get lost in your captivating storyline instead of being distracted by inaccurate details.

2. Students in Film Courses Should Incorporate Battle Scenes Into War Films

Unarguably, the mark of a great war movie is an action-packed battle scene with suspense, looming misfortune, and gore. Think Steven Spielberg’s practically record-setting 24-minute battle scene in Saving Private Ryan. In the scene, Captain John H. Miller, played by Tom Hanks, arrives to Omaha Beach with his troops and is faced with a bloodbath of a battle. The scene alone cost $11 million USD to create, with some arguing it was one of the most true-to-life war battle scenes ever filmed.

Producing a scene where the viewer has a three-dimensional sense of what is going on requires many different shots of the same scene. Altering points of views and perspectives adds realism and depth. In Saving Private Ryan, Spielberg even brought in underwater cameras to add realism to the famous battle scene.

After film school you may get the chance to create war films. Although you might not have a blockbuster sized budget, one way you can prepare to create great battle scenes is by story boarding. Story boards lay out how a scene will look from each different camera angle. It helps ease production of a scene that has a ton of action, ensuring that the final cut looks cohesive.

Story boards can help you keep all your scenes organized and cohesive

Story boards can help you keep all your scenes organized and cohesive

3. Captivating Conflict Is the Key for Great War Films

A common criticism about war movies is that they all have similar character dynamics. A supportive leader, an under-prepared young soldier, and a quirky odd ball all forming a dysfunctional group set out to take on the enemy. Sound familiar? As a student in film courses, you know that great, revolutionary, and ground-breaking films push the envelope and try something new.

Films based off actual historic wars provide a unique challenge: audiences already know the story’s outcome, since it’s common knowledge how each war ended. So, as a film writer or producer you must create a unique conflict within the broad umbrella of that specific war to keep your audience enthralled. Finding this unique story is what makes war movies truly memorable.

4. Students in Film School Should Have Respect for History

When creating, watching, or discussing war films it is important to pause and reflect on the real instances of war you are portraying. Iconic war movies like Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List do not make a cartoon out of warfare. They work to demonstrate situations people of that time may have found themselves in as realistically as possible.

During your film studies, you may handle sensitive subject matter like war, crime, or abuse. It is important to respect those who have been impacted by the subject matter. Carrying this respect with you as you write, produce, and edit films will improve the quality and authenticity of your film and help you connect with your viewers. Films have the power to draw attention to global issues that may have been left unnoticed or forgotten. By pursuing training in film you can use your creativity to help change the world for the better.

Student in film school should respect the actualities of war

Student in film school should respect the actualities of war

Do you want to learn to craft memorable movies at film school in Toronto?

Contact Trebas to learn more about our programs.

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