Richard Linklater – Case Study

Richard Linklater is a director, producer, and actor, born and raised in Austin, Texas, United States, and has produced quite a few films in his time. Most of these films are small independent films. Linklater was not overly keen on Hollywood blockbusters, only performed as an actor in a few. He much preferred to keep independent, and in his home town. Richard has directed a few hit film productions, like Slacker, School of Rock, and Bad News Bears, which earned him £32.8 million in US Box Offices. (Richard Linklater – Rotten Tomatoes, 24/11/2013, <>) He has also acted in others, like his Before trilogy, and experimented with visual styles in a few of his later films.

The films of experimentation are called Waking Life, a 2001 film array of shorts drawn by different artists, where a visitor of a town meets interesting individuals who discuss with the visitor philosophical ideals, issues in society, and topics which really make you think. Another film, called A Scanner Darkly, 2006, is a full feature independent film of a detective who is unwillingly and unknowingly involved in finding the origin of the drug which has swept the US. Both of these films have a graphic style of Rotoscoping, where an artist traces over key frames with lines and colours, and a computer program tweens the middle frames (Sabiston, 16/10/2001, Rotoshop Animation –, 24/11/2013, <>), appeals to me and made me consider a similar visual style, cell shading, for my game project, but with a bit more detail.

The film A Scanner Darkly is based around an undercover detective, Bob Arctor, who is unwillingly and unknowingly involved in finding out the cause to a new drug which has swept the US. Set closely in the future, any undercover agents use new scrambler suits, which change all aspects of personality constantly. Arctor becomes addicted to the drug, and it eventually damages his brain, making him unable to keep track of his identity, and the fact that a suspect and Arctor are the same person. When the chief detective figures out that the suspect and Arctor are one and the same, Arctor has a breakdown in the office, showing signs of the drug use in effect, and is sent to a rehabilitation facility. It it later shown that the facility Arctor is sent to is manufacturing and distributing the drug, the victims of the drug helping to grow the source as it makes them mindless. Arctor was used to supply evidence that the drug is made there, and idle minded, he places a source item in a boot, to give to friends during Thanksgiving. (Linklater, A Scanner Darkly, 2006)

The ending of the film, in addition to the book it was based off by Philip K. Dick, gave a message for the purpose behind the story; the author knowing close friends and relatives who have been effected from the use of drugs (permanent effects, or death). Philip includes his own name in the list, a victim of lifetime pancreatic damage. Richard Linklater adds a few names of his own, including Louis H. Mackey, a philosophy professor where Richard had studied.

I personally enjoyed the film. Its concepts of drug use and how it effects everyone involved is quite interesting to learn. There were a few nice twists in there too, which additionally add to the appeal of the film. The visual style is what attracted me the most however. The hand drawn, cell shaded footage and how it was constructed spoke out to me as an artist, and has since made me seriously consider the style for my game project. If I used this style however, I’d need to alter some aspects, to make it less “clean” and “plain”, and more gritty and slightly realistic, but keeping the drawn and almost cartoonish style visible. I feel it will suit the style of my game project quite well.

This lead me on to look at Richard’s additional works, and I have been watching a few of his films (Richard Linklater – Rotten Tomatoes, 26/11/2013, <>). Some of the films really make me think quite a lot about surroundings, and can spark up very philosophical ideas between myself and others. I have grown to be quite keen of his work, and hope to see what he comes up with next.

A copy of the Word Document is available here – Richard Linklater Case Study

Group Project Contributions

This is a table listing all the times that each member of the group partook in the group project.

Date Names Start Time End Time
24/10/2013 Ramar, Balal, Natalie,
Dean, Ben
2:00 pm 3:30 pm
25/10/2013 N/A N/A N/A
26/10/2013 Natalie, Dean 4:20 pm 4:50 pm
27/10/2013 Ramar 9:40 am – 10:10 am 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
28/10/2013 Natalie, Dean 9:30 am 10:20 am
29/10/2013 N/A N/A N/A
30/10/2013 Balal, Natalie,
Dean, Ben
9:30 am 5:30 pm