Review of Symbols,
Images, Codes

By Brenna Erickson

Symbols, Images, Codes

by Pamela Smith

This is a great book to read for any indie filmmaker trying to make a film.  Actually it's better for any filmmaker trying to make a subtle film.  It covers the basics of symbolism and is full to the brim with both classic  films like Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars, and Apocalypse Now and more current ones like The Mummy, The Sixth Sense, and Avatar.  Many well-known symbolic themes are present in this guidebook including (but definitely not limited to) animals, anatomy, elements, colors.  All of these are further organized into 3 main categories: emotion, situation, and concept. The book is told in quick, easy to understand chapters.  Screen shots, diagrams, and lists are found throughout the book to emphasize each topic and the voice of the books stays just academic enough to make you feel like you are learning something.

The best advice I found in the book was to: Create “references” throughout your film through  colors, background objects, music; almost anything, in order to make part of your audience feel smart.  The emotional response to these “inside jokes” brings the audience deeper into your story.

One of the best ways to add layers to your indie film is to add the language of symbolism.  Its a cheap way to guarantee your film will resonate with audiences, no matter what your budget is.  Like many elements of filmmaking, symbolism adds meaning to your film and it's absence can be very noticeable.

Symbols, Images, and Codes is a quick read and worthwhile guidebook to creating layers of meaning within your film.

Happy writing!

-Brenna Erickson

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About The Author

Brenna EricksonBrenna Erickson had no choice but to dedicate her life to film after her first film shoot entailed running around a basement in subzero temperatures in a formal gown with bare feet. She apparently couldn't get enough of it and is working on evolving into a FILM PRODUCER/SCREENWRITER, but until investors begin showering her with money, she is interning whilst learning as much as possible. She owns a film company called Em.K. Productions with her partner in crime. Her first feature film, Anatomically Incorrect will be hitting the film festival circuit in spring 2011.



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