Film Schematic Research

The purpose of this post is to research what a schematic is, and how I can apply this information to characters and events within a film.

“A drawing showing all significant components, parts, or tasks (and their interconnections) of a circuit, device, flow, process, or project by means of standard symbols. Schematic diagrams for a project may also be used for preparing preliminary cost estimates”
Business Dictionary definition

Link below (for the above quotation):
http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/schematic-diagram.html

Whilst researching schematics, I’ve found that they’re more commonly used within engineering to trouble shoot circuits; this explains their common wire-like structure. This highlighted to me that schematics could be fit for purpose and did not necessarily have a set form; I could focus on areas of the film that I felt were more relevant for understanding it’s basic break down of characters and events.

Below is an image of an engineering schematic:
Engenineering table.png

The above diagram shows how an engineering schematic has a very distinct structure illustrating a start (or several) an end, causation, and titles for each stage through out the circuit; all of which can be transferable locating events and characters in a narrative.

Link below(for above diagram and other info):
https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/how-to-read-a-schematic


Phil Campbell Godfather Schematic

Below are some images of the film schematic in which Phil Campbell created to map the events within the Godfather.
characterflowchart31

phil-campbell-schematic-2

The schematic in which Campbell created was for the purpose of transferring story elements to a game in which he was creating. From my research so far, I’ve found great difficulty in finding anything remotely similar or complex to this piece of work by the designer.

I decided to write my own break down of this structure (This can also be found in page one of my larger black sketch pad):

(From top to bottom)

1. First Row:
Three horizontal categories:
A. Corleone family and optional missing
B. Godfather mission spine
C. Friends, enemies, traitors, and optional missing

2. Second Row:
Multiple horizontal categories:
A. Individual characters
B. Act of film (eg Prologue)
C. Characters

3.Third Row:
Three categories, break down of scene
*List of character actions under character
*Title of scene

The above structure is essentially repeated throughout the stages of the schematic.

Additional notes:

  • Make notes of characters less significant actions aside points indicating the stage of the film
  • Continually note character’s names so as to not lose track
  • Indicate significant actions in boxes
  • Colour code characters in a consistent way/ colour code types of events
  • Use symbols to indicate stages of character’s behaviour/ action e.g. lightening for violence, hearts for romance
  • Don’t be afraid to place boxes in strange places if events are important
  • Boxes placed directly on characters path indicates what they are doing/where they are

Below is the link to Phil Campbell’s site and also the source to the images used:
http://www.philcampbelldesign.com/

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