Martin Scorsese & Frances Ford Coppola (reading and response post)

ONLINE POST DUE: Tuesday, Feb. 7 by noon – Read the following linked articles and 551488_560962897281762_1215897001_nwatch the linked videos on Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola and address the questions. Post your responses in the “reply” section at the bottom of this page.


Martin Scorsese: An Iconic Life – Biography and short documentary (1:12)

Martin Scorsese: Understanding Immigrant Heritage – A snapshot biography

197938b88254d1bda43c8117bc9a4e96Supplemental Reading on Scorsese– (not required):

85 Films That Will Change the Way You Understand Filmmaking: Martin Scorsese

Video Viewing

Video: Martin Scorsese: The Art of Silence – (6:08) – **beware of language and violence

Video: Interview with Martin Scorsese: Dinner for Five (32:28)


Martin Scorsese response questions (Due noon Feb. 7):a8d562c49cf46357d85120b50423c39aae1098d42312ea2b1ad714bc2648b914

  1. Identify something about Martin Scorsese (from his biography or video pieces) that you found interesting? Why? Your post should not reflect the same thing someone else posts (unless you can expand upon the thoughts presented).
  2. How do you think that your approach to evaluating music/silence in film will change after understanding the Scorsese approach to it?


images-1Read one of the following:

Francis Ford Coppola: A Family Affair – Biography

Francis Ford Coppola: I Make Movies – Biography

Video Viewing

Video: Behind the Works: Francis Ford Coppola (12 minutes)

Video: Coppola Talks Sound (4:32)

Francis Ford Coppola response questions:francis-ford-coppola-1

  1. What interested you most about Francis Ford Coppola (from his biography or video pieces)? Why? Your post should not reflect the same thing someone else posts (unless you can expand upon the thoughts presented).
  2. What was most fascinating to you about his “Sound Studio” and his approach to sound design, and how can that help you explore evaluating sound in future films? Explain.
  3. What similarities did you find between these two filmmakers?

Respond to both the Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola questions below. MAKE SURE YOU SIGN YOUR NAME at the end of your post.Your post should also be original and not a rehash of what another student has written.


18 thoughts on “Martin Scorsese & Frances Ford Coppola (reading and response post)

  1. Mallory Moore
    1. Identify something about Martin Scorsese (from his biography or video pieces) that you found interesting? Why? Your post should not reflect the same thing someone else posts (unless you can expand upon the thoughts presented).

    I found it interesting that in the interview, Scorsese said that he was never really into literature and had trouble expressing himself through words, so he turned to pictures instead. I think it is always important to remember that books and movies are two completely separate artistic mediums, so you can’t really compare them fairly. But, as someone who appreciates both, I find it interesting that such a successful filmmaker has trouble with literature and words. Writing and words are a key part of films, so I wonder if working with words and pictures and the same time just made it a little easier for Scorsese to work with writing and words.

    2. How do you think that your approach to evaluating music/silence in film will change after understanding the Scorsese approach to it?

    In the past, I have always liked score music that seems to lead or manipulate the audience’s emotions. I always saw that at a positive thing, if the music really seemed to match the tone of the scene. But in the interview, Scorsese criticized that a little bit and suggested that the sound in a movie needs to be a little more creative. The narrator of the short video about silence also said that a lot of modern filmmakers will overuse silence. From these two clips, I learned that music and silence doesn’t have to be so simple in movies. Filmmakers shouldn’t follow a formula for sound or just give the audience what they expect. When I watch movies in the future, I’ll be looking out for especially creative approaches to music and silence that don’t necessarily give me what I expect.

    1. What interested you most about Francis Ford Coppola (from his biography or video pieces)? Why? Your post should not reflect the same thing someone else posts (unless you can expand upon the thoughts presented).

    I found it interesting to read about the ups and downs of his career. He had to make several flops before succeeding, and even after the success of The Godfather, it seems like he had a rough time in the 1980s. It’s easy to think that once you hit your first big success in your professional career, every project in the future is going to work out. But clearly, that is not the case. I think it would be interesting to watch some of his less successful films. If they aren’t very good, it would be weird to see such a famous name tied to them.

    2. What was most fascinating to you about his “Sound Studio” and his approach to sound design, and how can that help you explore evaluating sound in future films? Explain.

    One thing that he predicted regarding sound, and other aspects of filmmaking as well, was that it would soon all be electronic. And he was right. There are many more digital, computer generated, and electronic elements to films today than there were years ago. I find that a little off putting when it comes to sound. Will movie composers ever completely abandon live orchestras for their scores and opt to use only computer programs to create music?

    3. What similarities did you find between these two filmmakers?

    Both of the filmmakers seem very well versed in film study and film history. I remember my creative writing teacher in high school always saying that you can’t be good at any kind of art if you aren’t familiar with everyone else who has been successful with that art form. It seems that there are hundreds of filmmakers that I should know about and movies that I should see, but it’s hard to be familiar with everything that’s out there and have time to watch everything. Both Scorsese and Coppola seemed to have a confident knowledge of film history, and they were able to talk about the filmmakers that had inspired them and techniques from other films that they liked.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your comment about exploring Literature & Film as different mediums.

      Musical score and silence – two sisters with different approaches to support for filmmakers.

      Coppola and his early success can be compared to Orson Welles early success.

      Embracing the history of others (in their art) will definitely make us better in ours.

      Thanks Mallory


  2. Martin Scorsese

    1) I love his take on music/silence in a film. Music is used for dramatic affect, alot of the time with horror movies and jump scares it won’t be what is happening on screen that will make the audience jump. It will the music. But Scorsese also understands that silence is also dramatic. I find it interesting that he uses the two interchangeably because I think most directors pick one or the other and roll with it. In horror movies the music is played up to add to the scare but in romances the music is soft and played down. Scorsese uses both within his films and it makes for a better experience and a better film.

    2) I have always appreciated music in movies. In horror movies it plays up the tension/suspense and it romance movies it makes me want to cry. But I never noticed the silence in a film until learning about Scorsese. For him, music and silence go hand in hand and it made me begin recognize when there was silence. He will often play up the music scenes, allowing the tension or suspense to build up and then comes the silence which only increases the tension. I only ever noticed music in films before when there wasn’t any during a scene or scenes I never really noticed or if I did I never thought anything of it. But after reading about Scorsese, watching the videos about him and watching one of his films, I think I will not notice and have a better appreciation for not only the music in films but also the silence.

    Francis Ford Coppola

    1) What interested me the most about him are all his connections to the film industry. He’s got Nicholas Cage as a nephew, many family members have been actors or filmmakers such as himself. It’s a family buisness. I love that he can share his passion and love for films with his family.

    2) He predicted that sound would all be electronic soon and that prediction was right. Sounds and music for films can now be generated from computers and other electronic devices but I feel there is and always will be a need for live muisc. Because while most is produced electronically now, electronics could never compete with true, live sound. There is just something about watching a movies knowing all of the music wasn’t just created with a computer it was created by real people. It makes the film more emotional. While he was right about electronics taking over sound, I don’t think live orchestras/bands will ever be completely gone in film.

    3) They are both well known and well acclaimed film makers. Going in to filmmaking, they both knew who was successful before them. They knew what had been making a good film and they knew what to do to push the boundaries. They also both had to remain indoors as children. With Coppola having polio and Scorsese having asthma neither of them got play outside or do sports as children. Instead they had to use their imgaination and entertain themselves. Which resulted in both them taking a liking to films.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rachel -Don’t forget to place your name either at the beginning or end of your posts in the future. Thanks – Noel Manning

      I think as you venture forward being aware of silence as well as music may help you appreciate why they exist (or at least why they should exist within certain films).

      Family, sickness, and using boundaries in filmmaking – good observations.


  3. Kate Lamar:
    Martin Scorsese:
    1. One thing that I found interesting from Martin was that after he found out he had asthma, he fell in love with movie making. But, what he truly loved was the making of music. They both go hand and hand, but it can be two completely different things also.
    2. I think after understand his approach, you will have to examine the movie more, than just listening to the movie, and to really watching the characters body language, atmosphere, etc. There are all different types of movies that he is creating and each one will give you a different since of style, instead of just one genre.
    Francis Ford Copolla:
    1. One thing that I found interesting from Francis, was that he was bedridden so he started out with puppet shows. From that, he started getting into the film and movies.
    2. When making movies started out, it was cheaper to worry about the sound rather than the film. With this, he started to create movies that have a big part of sound. The making of sound for movies has changed over the years, and from working in either a big room, or small room, the technology can do almost about anything.
    3. I think they both loved the sound aspect whether it was playing an instrument, or figuring out how to make the music a big part of a movie. With either not using sound, or sound being the min part, those are the main parts of a movie to them. With this, I can see that it is not all about the dialogue of the movies, but the body and the sound that the movie portrays.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kate -I think as we really begin to think about the importance of sound in film, we can begin to appreciate that film is more that “what you see” … much more. Thanks -Noel T. Manning II


  5. Haley Walker:

    Martin Scorsese-
    1. I find it inspiring that Martin Scorsese didn’t let his childhood battle with chronic asthma stop him. Even though he couldn’t play sports like most other children, he found his passions elsewhere in movies and music. I love that he didn’t let his parents disapproving opinions upon his desired career path stop him from pursuing his dreams and what he ultimately wanted to do.
    2. I love how Martin Scorsese uses not only sound, but also silence, to intensify his films. It’s often said that silence can speak louder than anything, and I think that Scorsese has mastered this ideology to create more dramatic, intensified scenes.

    Francis Ford Coppola-
    1. What intrigued me was not only the fact that Coppola was a successful filmmaker, but he also inspired his daughter to become a director. He was able to support her dreams by becoming a producer for the directorial project she was working on, The Virgin Suicides.
    2. Francis Ford Coppola predicted that audio, sound effects, and other important film-making techniques would eventually all become digitalized. It’s interesting to see how far society has advanced electronically, and my awe can relate to that of Coppola’s. It’s interesting to think about what the future holds and what other technological advances we will reach. I appreciate how Coppola uses sound effects to portray his character’s emotions, such as the train sound effect in the Godfather scene.
    3. I think that both Coppola and Scorsese are similar in the fact that they use sounds and effects to make their movies more impactful. Both men know what sounds, if any (silence), to use to get the desired effect they want the audience to feel.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Martin Scorsese:
    1. One thing I liked about Scorsese’s work is how he would always use silence in a suspencecful scene, and then follow it up with something loud that would catch the viewer of guard. My reasoning to liking this art style is by the way he would use the
    style of silence in a major part of the movie that was just ironic.
    2. I feel that after evaluation music and silence in film that I will get a greater understanding of how a key importance they can be in a movie.

    Francis Ford Coppola:
    1. I found it interesting on how Coppola would take anti-heroes such as Dracula, and make the viewer feel sorrow for the antagonist. I found this interesting because it was a unique style of effect. I also found it interesting on how he suffered from polio, but was able to recover from it and go to become a successful film maker.
    2. Coppola predicted that sound effects and other audio making techniques would soon be electronic. He used sound as a big part in movies, and now you look at how even more advanced technology has become. It can do almost anything with sound.
    3. The similarities between these two film makers is how they both use sound and silence to draw up a huge effect on the movie itself. They both use the effects to help the viewers understand the difference between reality and fantasy. They gave that desired effect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. TJ -Anytime a filmmaker can create a likable villain -that is something to really get an appreciation for. That takes incredible talent, not just in the story, but the character, the actor and the director.


  7. Sthefany Flores


    I find it interesting that Scorsese, much like Hitchcock, was a bit sheltered due to his asthma and had a very religious upbringing. However, in contrast to Hitchcock, Scorsese brings to life lively and passionate scenes with a heavy influence of his Italian-American upbringing. I also found it worth noting that Scorsese concentrates more on his characters rather than the plot. He believes that the characters are what make a story interesting when plot can be predictable and I thought of all the movies that I regretted watching for just these reasons.
    I believe that i will grow to appreciate it more. Personally, I am uncomfortable with total silence because I can hear my ears ring with the lack of stimuli but its use drives a point home. I feel like we are too used to seeing silence as an awkward pause rather than a scene development. There is also the sense of dramatic effect that a film holds when it transitions from an intense moment of silence to one filled with sound. Usually such a brash transition is unwelcome but in certain scenes when there is a powerful transition, I can see how it could be a powerful tool.

    It’s notable that the actions and the editing of his films themselves bring forth their own speech which allows the actor to remain silent while still delivering a message. An example of this was the scene shown from the Godfather where there are no subtitles provided for the speech. If I would have watched this on its own I would have believed that it would have been a gap in the subtitles instead of an intention from the director to make the audience listen to tones instead of meaning. Because in the the end, in scenes full of anxiety, the main character himself is not processing the information so it is a nice touch that the audience does not process it with him.
    I find that his phrasing was very noteworthy in his interview. He said that instead of cutting a film you could “compose a film” with digital sound as if it were an overture rather than images. Yet, the transfer of principles from sound to image go hand in hand with film and would allow for fluidity to spring forth from these when they work in tandem—specially when they use the same technology. As a result of his outlook I will try to see films with the director’s intention in mind rather than my own criticisms. Instead of simply saying no to a choice I will make more of an effort to understand why they chose those sounds or lack thereof to make a scene work.
    These two filmmakers as they address similar themes in their movies. They were both part of the new Hollywood era and both challenged Old Hollywood through their artistic styles. They bring forth violence, passion, and emotion but they do so with the use of technical tools like film speed, sound, and angles instead of solely relying on an actor’s expressions. Both of these men bring forth the urban views that were created through their upbringings and the influence their families and their culture had on them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Understanding an appreciating “silence” can be an acquired taste. But it is one worth exploring in film (if it has purpose). Excellent observation on “editing” -really, really well defended.


  8. 1. Identify something about Martin Scorsese (from his biography or video pieces) that you found interesting? Why? Your post should not reflect the same thing someone else posts (unless you can expand upon the thoughts presented).

    After reading the articles and watching the video pieces on Martin Scorsese there are a few things that really stood out to me as interesting. Reading about his childhood and his faith. He grew up a Catholic and even considered priesthood before he went into filmmaking. The Lifetime article on Scorsese discusses this by saying Martin actually started to fall in love with rock and roll and everything associated with it basically leading Scorsese to be excelled by the seminary. I think this has a lot to do with his themes in his movies as well. The articles talk about the reoccurring themes in his movies like the mafia, crime, and even gambling and it seems like it stems back to his Catholic faith and the redemption and guilt he tries to portray in each movie. The other thing that completely shocked me was when the first article talked about John Hinckley Jr. and his attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan. Apparently John Hinckley was inspired by Scorsese’s film “Taxi Driver” to attempt the assassination on Reagan. This completely blew my mind because I had no clue this had anything to do with one of Scorsese’s films. I actually read an article on this after reading about Scorsese to learn more and after reading the plot of “Taxi Driver” where the character, Bickle decides to assassinate the President to gain admiration from a girl, it makes sense. The fact that John Hinckley Jr. watched this film several times and obsessed over it and actually saw himself in the character of Bickle is actually very creepy to me. I even read that at the trial they played the movie “Taxi Driver” in defense of Hinckley.

    2. How do you think that your approach to evaluating music/silence in film will change after understanding the Scorsese approach to it?

    After watching the short video on silence in films, I realized that they were right about current films losing appreciation for using silence as an effective tool to capture audience attention. In the video they talked about how silence is used to basically numb the audience. In the boxing movie “Raging Bull” they explained how in the fight scenes they would make a section of them silent to build up the anticipation of the audience and then following the silence they would use immense use of volume and sound to shock the audience. I think this is so effective because it builds dramatic effect. Also in “Raging Bull” during the loud fight scenes they would directly follow that with a very quiet scene showing the effectiveness from one dramatic end to another. I think filmmakers now are taking out the silent aspect of films when silence can be more deadly and effective than sound. I think Scorsese’s approach was dramatic in his effect to sound but dramatic enough to be effective and get the job done.

    1. What interested you most about Francis Ford Coppola (from his biography or video pieces)? Why? Your post should not reflect the same thing someone else posts (unless you can expand upon the thoughts presented).

    After watching the first video on Coppola and reading the general background of his life, what interested me most was how mixed the reviews were of his production of Dementia 13 because a “weak script.” I think its interesting to read and hear about filmmaker’s failures and then looking at their successes. ‘The Godfather” was one of the most popular Coppola films and it interesting that his early work was not enjoyable to viewers. Coppola raised the money to work on his films and lost more money doing this when he films were unsuccessful and I think this is what interests me the most about Coppola. It goes to show that even after losing everything he found a way to make himself known and still be successful. Coppola was one of the “Movie Brats” which was a new era of filmmakers with an anti-blockbuster mentality meaning they conveyed themes of darkness, cursing, nudity, etc. in their films which was unlike other films in their time. The era of New Hollywood in the late 60’s through the early 80’s made these filmmakers find new ways to capture their audience much like Coppola effectively did during this time. Coppola’s characters that portrayed heroes in his stories were actually un-heroic because they actually made the audience halfheartedly root for this villain. I think this idea is interesting and against the norm of many movies.

    2. What was most fascinating to you about his “Sound Studio” and his approach to sound design, and how can that help you explore evaluating sound in future films? Explain.

    What interested me most when talking about Coppola and his ability to effectively use sound design was the effective use of sound in “The Godfather.” In one of the scenes where the characters were talking in another language he did not provide subtitles for the audience to know what they were saying because that’s not what he wanted the audience to focus on. He wanted the audience to actually focus on how his characters were saying these things instead of what they were saying. His sound design is meant to build tension. He uses the sound of the train in the background in the same scene to grab the attention of the audience. The sound is overpowering of what the character is saying but it shows that this character is in panic and it also foreshadows what happens after. On the opposite aspect of Scorsese and silence he used very loud scenes to grab attention.

    3. What similarities did you find between these two filmmakers?

    The main similarities I saw between Coppola and Scorsese was their childhood. Both their childhoods has this aspect of isolation from the rest of what was happening around them and the other kids. Coppola had polio when he was younger making it difficult for him to even leave his bed which made him find interest in other things rather than being active like other kids. Scorsese had sever asthma which caused him to basically not be able to do any physical activity or do what the other normal kids were doing so he spent a lot of time watching films and finding his interest in that. He even developed his first storyboard at age eight which is so unusual of normal kids at this time. I think both of their childhoods and the fact that they were isolated makes them very similar in their stylistic ways of making a darker themed movie.

    -Kacy O’Connor

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kacy -Really wonderful thoughts. The connection between Taxi Driver and the Ronald Reagan was quite interesting.

      Silence and the appreciation for it is truly a lost art. We are so bombarded by sights and sounds everywhere -that it is difficult for many of us to appreciate the “stillness” and the impact that can provide.

      Many great talents (like Coppola) have to survive numerous failures before discovering fame and success. It takes thick skin, and focus to come through that when critics are against you.

      With the attention to “silence” and “sound design” you can see why I brought these two talents together. NTMII


  9. Martin Scorsete
    1. Martin was only 8 years old when he found his dream. He found out that he had severe asthma at a very young age and wasn’t able to play outside a lot. Instead of letting that hold him back, he found a positive in having to stay in the house all day. He stayed at home and began to watch movies or went to the theatre to watch films. It helped that his parents were both actors so he was always around sets and filmmakers. Instead of dwelling on not being able to play outside much, Martin decided to start something meaningful to him. This would later make him one of the most important director of all time.

    2. The way he uses silence is almost genius because he places it so well in his movies. He knows how to make a creepy scene even creepier just by using silence. He can make take happiest scene and bring it to a complete halt or the most dramatic to the happiest. People are starting to take silence out of their movies and put music in the background. I think takes away from the silence, the whole point of having a silent scene is for there to be silence.

    Francis Ford Coppola
    1. Francis’ childhood was similar to Martin’s, he also had to stay inside but because he was bedridden with Polio. The main thing that interested me was that he stepped away from directing and focused on his winery. He still helped with movies and TV series as an executive producer but was never the director. He also helped his daughter with her first film, The Virgin Suicide. He couldn’t stay away though, he began directing again in 2007.

    2. The sounds Francis’ uses in his films are very strong and powerful. He also includes lighting for scenes to make it more intense and vibrant. He will take the background sound and make it foreshadow what is gonna happen to the character. Something I found really interesting is he uses sound to make the viewer feel they are apart of the film. As a viewer you feel that you are the one opening the door in the creepy hallway. To be able to execute that in a film takes the right sound and he does so perfectly.

    3. Martin and Francis have very similar childhoods, the only thing different is Martin’s parents were actors so he was able to see filmmaking first hand. They both feel in love with filmmaking at a very young age and pursued their dreams. When it came to their movies they used the art of sound to perfect them. Whether it have no sound or heavy intense sound, it would make each scene exactly what it needed to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Tyra Long-

    I think what I found most interesting about Martin Scorsese was that he started film at such a young age. I think many people, such as myself, tend to underestimate children at such a young age because we do not realize how intelligent they really are. I feel like when I was 8 I was just concerned about playing outside with my friends or getting cool clothes but Scorsese was writing his own storyboard and on top of that completing it. It is just something I could not wrap my head around but I think it’s awesome!

    After watching “The Art of Silence”, I realized how important the art of silence is. Not saying anything says so much. I love action movies, what I love most about them is the sound effects. The loud clashing, gunshots, and explosions get me so into the movie. But after watching this short video I realized how much more locked in I am on a film when there is complete silence. There is some sort of suspense that hold in those couple minutes where it is complete silence and it is as if your at the very top of the roller coaster just waiting to come straight down so you can start screaming again. Martin Scorsese made me appreciate this in his films.

    What I found most interesting about Francis Ford Coppola is the fact that he went to a smaller school and was still able to make a very big name out of himself. Many people think that just because you go to a smaller school and it is not well known, it is hard to get a big job or be a well-known person. A common factor I have noticed in the filmmakers we talk about is that they all go through a serious form of a struggle when they were younger. Coppola was bedridden but he found entertainment in puppets, which is a random, but it lead to him being an amazing director, which is inspiring.

    Unlike Scorsese, sound really played a big part it Coppola’s films. If anything, the sounds made the movie. For example, sound in all the action in the Godfather. After watching older films and comparing them to films now I prefer to have a digitalized sound rather then a live band. This is something I can see myself paying attention to now when I am watching films. After reading about both Scorsese and Coppola, I have a deeper appreciation for sound and have realized the impact it has on a film.

    What both of these directors have in common is sound. Whether it is be loud or no sound at all, both concepts play a big role in both films. As I said before both directors both had challenges they had to overcome at young age to help them grow mentally and be the famous directors they are. They also share the love of film at such a young age. Between Scorsese not being able to play outside, and Coppola’s polio, they found love in something that was their safe zone for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Tyra -I’m with you – at eight years old I was most concerned with what was for dessert and which superhero I wanted to pretend to be. 🙂

    There really is the amazing complexity for sound design -it is much more than musical score -which is what most people think about when evaluating sounds. Thanks Tyra -NTMII


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