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Common Themes in Successful Films



Have you ever watched a movie and felt like there was something deeper going on beneath the surface? That’s the power of symbolism at work—a language of images, colors, sounds, and more, subtly woven into the fabric of storytelling. In this educational exploration, we’ll delve into the techniques filmmakers use to harness symbolism, unlocking the hidden messages and deeper meanings that enrich our cinematic experiences.

Visual Metaphors:

Imagine a scene where a character sits alone, peeling an orange—a seemingly innocent moment, yet laden with significance. In “The Godfather,” director Francis Ford Coppola uses this visual metaphor to symbolize impending danger and death. By associating oranges with perilous situations throughout the film, Coppola creates a sense of unease and foreboding, without ever explicitly stating it. This is the power of visual metaphors—they allow filmmakers to convey complex ideas and emotions without saying a word.


Choice of Color:

Colors can evoke powerful emotions and associations, influencing how we perceive characters, settings, and themes. Take “The Matrix,” for example, where the directors, the Wachowskis, use color to distinguish between the artificial reality of the Matrix (green) and the real world of Zion (blue). By associating green with deception and blue with truth, the filmmakers create a visual language that helps audiences navigate the film’s complex narrative and themes.

Music and Sound:

From the haunting melody of “Jaws” to the iconic theme of “Star Wars,” music and sound play a crucial role in shaping our emotional responses to film. In “Jaws,” director Steven Spielberg uses John Williams‘ ominous score to build tension and suspense, signaling the presence of the shark long before it appears on screen. By manipulating sound and music, filmmakers can create mood, atmosphere, and emotion, heightening the impact of key moments and enhancing the overall cinematic experience.


Camera Angles and Movements: 

Have you ever noticed how the angle of a shot can change the way we perceive a character or scene? In “Citizen Kane,” director Orson Welles uses low-angle shots to make the titular character appear larger than life, conveying his power and dominance. Conversely, high-angle shots are used to depict vulnerability and weakness, creating a sense of intimacy and empathy with the characters. By carefully choosing camera angles and movements, filmmakers can manipulate our perception of space, time, and reality, guiding us through the narrative and shaping our emotional responses.

Dialogue and Narration: 

Dialogue and narration are powerful tools for conveying information, opinions, and perspectives, as well as revealing the inner thoughts and motivations of characters. In “Fight Club,” director David Fincher employs unreliable narration to create ambiguity and uncertainty, reflecting the protagonist’s fractured psyche. By playing with language and narrative structure, filmmakers can subvert audience expectations, challenge conventional storytelling conventions, and invite us to question our perceptions of reality.


Editing and Montage: 

Editing is where the magic of filmmaking truly comes to life, as shots are stitched together to create meaning, rhythm, and continuity. In “The Godfather Part II,” director Francis Ford Coppola uses cross-cutting between past and present to contrast and connect the parallel storylines of Michael Corleone’s rise to power and his father’s immigrant origins. By manipulating time, space, and perspective, filmmakers can weave together disparate elements of the narrative, enriching the story with layers of meaning and subtext.

In conclusion, symbolism is a powerful tool that filmmakers use to convey messages and deeper meanings in their films. By employing visual metaphors, colors, music and sound, camera angles and movements, dialogue and narration, and editing and montage, filmmakers can enhance storytelling by adding depth, emotionality, and layers of meaning that resonate with audiences on a profound level. So, the next time you watch a movie, keep an eye out for the subtle symbols and hidden meanings that enrich the cinematic experience, and you’ll unlock a whole new world of understanding and appreciation for the art of filmmaking.




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The Fatal Flaw in Film Production



The film industry is no stranger to chaos and unpredictability, but one mistake can be the difference between a successful production and a disastrous one: inadequate budgeting and scheduling. This silent killer has claimed countless victims, from low-budget indie films to big-budget blockbusters. It’s a mistake that can lead to financial ruin, damaged reputations, and a final product that fails to meet its full potential.
The Consequences of Inadequate Budgeting
Inadequate budgeting can lead to a range of problems, including:
  • Cost overruns: Unexpected expenses can quickly add up, blowing your budget and leaving you scrambling for funds.
  • Creative compromises: With insufficient funds, you may be forced to sacrifice key elements of your vision, such as talent, locations, or special effects.
  • Delays and extensions: Running out of money can bring production to a grinding halt, leading to costly delays and extensions.
  • Financial ruin: In extreme cases, inadequate budgeting can lead to bankruptcy, damaging your reputation and making it harder to secure funding in the future.

Film director Baz Luhrmann & RAI Corp. producer Alessandra Chiappetti Paquet

The Consequences of Inadequate Scheduling
Inadequate scheduling can lead to:
  • Missed deadlines: Failing to meet key milestones can put your entire production at risk.
  • Rushed production: Insufficient time can lead to a rushed production, compromising the quality of your final product.
  • Burnout and exhaustion: Overworking your cast and crew can lead to burnout, decreasing morale and productivity.
  • Last-minute changes: Inadequate scheduling can lead to last-minute changes, disrupting your carefully laid plans and causing chaos on set.
Real-Life Examples
  • The Production Nightmare of “Waterworld: This infamous flop is often cited as one of the most expensive films ever made. Its production was plagued by cost overruns, delays, and creative compromises, resulting in a final product that failed to meet expectations.
  • The Scheduling Disaster of “The Lord of the Rings: Despite its eventual success, the production of this epic trilogy was marked by grueling schedules, last-minute changes, and a rushed post-production process.
Avoiding the Pitfalls
To avoid these costly mistakes, filmmakers must prioritize budgeting and scheduling. Here are some key takeaways:
  • Pad your budget: Unexpected expenses will arise, so be sure to leave some wiggle room in your budget.
  • Create a realistic schedule: Don’t underestimate the time and resources needed to complete your project.
  • Prioritize communication: Keep your team informed and involved in the budgeting and scheduling process.
  • Be flexible: Be prepared to adapt to changes and challenges as they arise.
In conclusion, inadequate budgeting and scheduling can be the silent killers of film productions. By prioritizing these critical elements, filmmakers can avoid costly mistakes, ensure a smooth production, and create a final product that meets its full potential. Don’t let your project fall victim to these avoidable mistakes – plan wisely and succeed.
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10 Common Script Formatting Mistakes to Avoid



As a screenwriter, you know how crucial it is to present your work in a professional and industry-standard format. However, even the most experienced writers can make mistakes that can hurt their chances of getting their script noticed. In this article, we’ll highlight 10 common script formatting mistakes to avoid, and show you how to perfect your script with a consultation from BolanleMedia.
Mistake #1: Incorrect Font and Size
Using the wrong font or size can make your script look unprofessional and difficult to read. Industry standard is 12-point Courier or Courier New.
Mistake #2: Inconsistent Margins
Failing to maintain consistent margins can make your script look sloppy and disorganized. Leave 1-inch margins on all sides.
Mistake #3: Poor Line Spacing
Incorrect line spacing can make your script hard to read and understand. Use double-spacing to make it easy on the eyes.
Mistake #4: Inconsistent Indentation
Inconsistent indentation can confuse the reader and make your script look amateurish. Use 3.7 inches for character names and 2.2 inches for dialogue.
Mistake #5: Missing or Inconsistent Scene Headings
Scene headings help the reader navigate your script. Make sure to include them and format them correctly.
Mistake #6: Unclear Action Lines
Action lines should be concise and clear. Avoid using unnecessary words and descriptions.
Mistake #7: Inconsistent Character Names
Character names should be consistent throughout the script. Avoid changing names or formatting mid-script.
Mistake #8: Missing or Inconsistent Transitions
Transitions help the reader follow the story. Make sure to include them and format them correctly.
Mistake #9: Unclear Dialogue Formatting
Dialogue should be formatted correctly to avoid confusion. Use indentation and character names to clarify speaker.
Mistake #10: Failure to Proofread
Proofreading is crucial to catch errors and formatting issues. Don’t skip this step!
Reach Out to BolanleMedia for a Consultation
Avoiding these common script formatting mistakes can make all the difference in getting your script noticed. But, if you’re unsure about your script’s formatting or need guidance on how to improve it, reach out to BolanleMedia for a consultation. Our team of industry experts will work with you to perfect your script and bring your story to life. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards success!

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Industry-Standard Formatting 101



As a filmmaker, you understand the importance of a well-crafted script. It’s the foundation of your film, guiding every aspect of production. However, a great story can be overshadowed by poor formatting, leading to rejection and disappointment. In this article, we’ll delve into the essential script formatting guidelines, empowering you to present your work in a professional and industry-standard manner.
The Importance of Script Formatting
Script formatting is not just about aesthetics; it’s a crucial aspect of communication. A well-formatted script:
  • Shows respect for the reader’s time and attention
  • Enhances readability and comprehension
  • Demonstrates your professionalism and attention to detail
  • Increases the chances of your script being read and considered
Industry Standard Script Formatting Guidelines

Font and Size

  • Use 12-point Courier or Courier New font, the industry standard for readability.
  • Avoid using other fonts, as they may be difficult to read or appear unprofessional.


  • Leave 1-inch margins on all sides (top, bottom, left, and right).
  • This provides ample space for notes and annotations.

Line Spacing

  • Use double-spacing to make it easy to read and annotate.
  • This also allows for clear distinction between lines of dialogue and action.


  • Use 3.7 inches for character names and 2.2 inches for dialogue.
  • This consistent indentation helps the reader quickly identify character names and dialogue.

Scene Headings

  • INT. or EXT. indicate interior or exterior locations.
  • Day or Night specify the time of day.
  • Location describes the setting (e.g., “John’s Office”).

Action Lines

  • Present tense: Write in the present tense (e.g., “John walks into the room.”).
  • Active voice: Use active voice (e.g., “John kicks the ball.” instead of “The ball is kicked by John.”).
  • Concise: Keep action lines brief and focused on essential actions.

Character Names

  • Capitalize: Capitalize character names when introducing them.
  • Age and description: Include age and a brief description (e.g., “JANE (30s, a determined journalist)”).


  • Indentation: Use 2.2 inches for dialogue.
  • Character names: Capitalize character names above dialogue.
  • Action beats: Use action lines to indicate character movements or actions during dialogue.


  • FADE IN: Start your script with “FADE IN:”.
  • CUT TO: Use “CUT TO:” to indicate a sudden change in scene.
  • FADE TO BLACK: End your script with “FADE TO BLACK.”.
Additional Tips and Best Practices
  • Use clear and concise language.
  • Avoid using camera angles and directions (e.g., “ZOOM IN ON”).
  • Use transitions to guide the reader through the story.
  • Proofread your script multiple times to catch errors and formatting issues.
Mastering script formatting is an essential skill for any filmmaker. By following these guidelines and best practices, you’ll be able to present your work in a professional and industry-standard manner. Remember, a well-formatted script is the first step to bringing your vision to life. Consult with Bolanle today and take your film to the next level!
Ready to get your film noticed? Contact Bolanle today to schedule a consultation and learn how to master script formatting and industry standards. 

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