December 7, 2015

good film blog

This week we’re breaking down the elements of a great film.



This is my attempt to summarise everything that it takes to make a good film. There’s no question that I’ve missed things here, but I did my best for under five minutes.



For each aspect of filmmaking (at least the main ones) here’s one of my favourite films that stands out in that regard.  Feel free to watch these films, but remember that your personal list of films is part of the nutritious soil for your own films, so find stuff that you like!


Conflict – Finding Nemo
It’s amazing how much the characters get dragged through the dirt in this film. Nothing ever goes right, they go from one trial to the next tribulation.

Plot – The Departed
Some of my favourite twists and turns in this plot, cleverly weaving two different character’s stories together.

Dialog – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Quirky & Quotable.

Subtext: A Beautiful Mind
Such a great message about mental health, putting us in someone else’s shoes.


Flaws: Him & Her (TV)
Really fresh, authentic characters from the to main characters, and then some fun caricatures from the others.

Desires: The Incredibles
Every character has a clear set of goals / desires that link in with their character arcs.


Emotion: Good Will Hunting
This film might make you cry.

Authenticity: Captain Phillips
Tom Hanks does a great job giving a truly believable performance, as do the Somalians. When the characters meet on screen, it was the first time the actors met in person too.

Movement: Dead Poets Society
Lots of great acting movement in this by the king of body language.


Order: Jurassic Park
Love the cross cutting between multiple plots (A story, B story etc) but also within scenes.

Structure: City of God
City of God is a great study in non-chronological storytelling.

Pace: Shaun of the Dead
Comedy is all about timing, apparently. Nick Frost’s perfectly timed sound effect…


Ambience: Se7en
The opening scenes of Se7en are so immersive with all of the ambient sounds. The heavy rain hitting plastic works perfectly.

Sound Effects: Transformers (haha but seriously)
The sound effects help achieve the purpose of this film: as epic as possible. This movie would be nothing without the sounds.

Music: Gladiator
Love the music in this, particularly the use of calm music in contrast to the battle on screen.


Camera: Double Indemnity
Simple but effective camerawork.

Lighting: The Shawshank Redemption
Very motivated light, which is what i’m appreciating most recently. Perfect specific application of the ‘magic hour’ look that people seem apply to everything.

Location / Set: Fight Club
So grimy, I love it.

Costume: Catch Me If You Can
Covering many costume situations, across different time periods. An integral part of the story without being distracting. Great use of colour.

Props: Dances with Wolves
Significant props to the storyline, as symbols for friendship etc.


A photo posted by Simon Cade (@cadevisuals) on

Simon Cade

Filmmaker, and host of DSLRguide. Since I was making my first film age 11, I have always been fascinated by the way films are produced, and the effect it can have on the audience.

  • Giovanni Peña

    Have you seen the work/films of Paul Thomas Anderson? Have you seen Martin Scorsese films such as: Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, After Hours, The Wolf of Wall Street etc. ?

  • Travis Pluse

    Hey Simon what firmware do you use for your t3i?

    is it magic lantern?