Sample Term Paper on the Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street is a movie that was released in the year 2013 centered on the historical accounts of Jordan Belfort. The film was directed by Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio plays the star role of Jordan Belfort. In shooting and production of the film the director used various Cinematic techniques and structures that could make the film more captivating to the viewers. These techniques and structures employed in this movie are; narrative within the movie, film adaptation, framing, film editing, sound, framing and genres that are used in the movie.

Narrative within the movie

In many instances in the movie we hear Jordan Belfort narrating his maneuvers in building the investment company that he had and even a couple of times he even looks straight at the camera and addresses the audience. The movie has pushy narration where Jordan reveals the story information as they happen and the viewer encounters it. Here the narration goes hand in hand with the occurrences in the film and it is done this way to shape the viewer’s journey through the film. As the movie goes on and a new character emerges, Jordan gives a brief description of who they are and his relation with them. Here the narration is always meant to act as a surprising tool and this captures more the attention of the viewer and makes the film more interesting. Narrations in this movie also give the viewers the chance to make inference from the daily life activities in real world. The story line that is given to use through the narration induces us to pick inferences from our daily life activities. This narration here then serves as an education tool and since apart from the images and voices of the character, Jordan stresses on things through narration and this adds some seriousness.

Film adaptation

The whole film is actually based on the biography that was written by now the real Jordan Belfort about his past ways. When making the film, they incorporated all the written work to motions and sounds in the film. They also came up with characters to act as the names of people that were mentioned in the book. Each and every single activity that is seen in the movie is obtained from the book; only a few modifications are made in the movie to make it more appealing to the viewers. Film adaptation in this movie was a success since from the movie we get a clear picture of the book and also history of Jordan as written in his biography.


Diegetic sound is employed in the film at greater levels and in almost every scene. This is the sound that both the audience and characters can hear (Barsam et al., 35). When Belfort was addressing his employees on a matter, both the characters and audience reacted to this sound and also when the boat was about to sink in the ocean the sound of winds were both heard by the characters and audience (Barsam et al., 35). These types of sounds which compel a double and simultaneous reaction from both the viewer and characters are the diegetic sounds and it is almost in every scene in the movie.

The director of the movie also put much focus on the non-diegetic sound so as to make the movie more appealing. The narrations of Jordan from the start up to the end of the movie where it is only the audience that can hear what he is saying are there to communicate to the viewer what the character does not need to know. Sound effects are another type of non-diegetic sound that is used in the film. They are incorporated for purposes of dramatic effect and in the movie it is in scenes that cause more attention than the others like when employees in the movie celebrate to a deal wrap up or an announcement made by Jordan who is there boss.

Genres of the film

In the movie there are many genres that emanate from the storyline and the theme of the movie. The director used several themes to come up with the main movie; crime fiction, comedy, drama and biographical film. These are the genres that are observed in the film the Wolf of Wall Street. Each one is explained below;

  • Crime fiction- the movie actually fictionalizes the crimes that were done by Jordan Belfort in his real life. All his motives and moves that led to the crimes that he did in the stock market are clearly demonstrated in the film as if it were true. The detection of the crimes is also fictionalized in the movie.
  • Biographical film- the movie mainly talks about the life of Jordan Belfort as it was written in his biography. It shows his rise and fall though the frauds he committed in the stock market. The movie also highlights the fast life he was living with all the ladies and drugs that he was associated with just as he wrote in his biography.
  • Comedy- the movie has comical parts like the place in the office where they were playing and celebrating the achievement they had made since the start. There are other many scenes that provide the comical relief to the viewers. The film is generally funny.
  • Drama- the film shows Jordan Belfort as a person struggling with drug addiction and infidelity problems through the many sexual activities that he engaged in. He is seen as dealing with these stuff and how defeated he is in managing his lifestyle and putting it in place.

In the movie all objects and characters that are placed in a particular frame have similar characteristics form the mise-en-scene (Sinyard et al., 40). In the office there are desks, the podium where Jordan Belfort addresses his employees and also the lighting in the office is medium dim. All the employees are dressed in suits or official wear. Here all the characters and objects in the frame symbolize that this is the working place where all business is done. In scenes like the private ship the setting in the frame shows the blue skies, the blue waters and Jordan Belfort and the other characters are dressed in beach shorts and casual shirts with sandals and the ladies are in bikinis. They are all either taking drinks or relaxing. The lighting here is so bright and the camera shots are long so that the background where the characters are can be clearly seen. This arrangement of the characters in the frame communicates the kind of atmosphere to the viewers.

In the setting of the private ship the angle of the camera is bird’s eye angle where we can see the actors from above and the cameras also are inclined at high angles at such scenes where the actors are seen smaller than they look. In settings like the office, the cameras are placed at eye angles where the audience is at equal footing with the characters. The director here used tracking shots that followed the movements of the workers in the office or the movement of Jordan when he enters the office and all the way he walks to his office or to the podium where he addresses his employees. Crane shots are used in scenes like the private ships where the camera is seen as moving as moving upwards to symbolize the end of a scene. Such effects are brought by the camera being mounted on a crane that will mobilize its movement upwards. In each scene the arrangement is unique and different to other scenes to communicate the disparity to the viewers of the different message relayed by each scene.


The director in joining the scenes of the movie used continuity editing which allowed the scenes to follow each other smoothly without any inconsistencies visually (Barsam et al., 45). A scene follows the finishing scene without any pauses that will make the viewers to notice that another scene is about to start. The editing also used the dissolving method where a starting scene overlaps the finishing scene in a sequential manner that does not show any fading of the scene (Barsam et al., 46). Jump cuts are also used where there are flashbacks by characters in the film and they break continuity between the scenes (Barsam et al., 46).

When coming with the final piece the editors did not remove scene that would be considered not fit to be aired. The director incorporated the scenes of sex and using the drug substance as it was written in the biography written. These parts were the main theme of the movie, so when cutting out such parts it would mean that the movie would lose the meaning that was intended to have.

The movie was shot with digital high definition cameras that were placed on stands in some scenes and some scenes they had to be placed on a moving object. The stillness of the images show that the cameras used had optical stability in that a slight shake by the camera man will not affect the stillness of the image taken. These high definition cameras are the ones able in taking the motion images in the film.

Fundamentals of directing a film

When directing a film the main obligation is capturing the attention of the viewers as quickly as possible from the start of the film (Barsam et al., 50). The director should always plan the film in a manner that there will be a very interesting part in the opening minutes of the film. This will capture the attention of the film when being watched and it will create so much interest in the viewers.

Time keeping and detailed planning is another core fundamental when it comes to directing a film (Barsam et al., 51). The director should manage time well throughout the acting period and this will inhibit extra expenditure that was not planned for. The director should also have a detailed plan on how the scenes will be undertaken and at what time. This is to avoid confusion that can delay the production of the film.

Creativity is another core fundamental in directing (Barsam et al., 53). The director should always be able to improvise in case of any eventuality like rains and other natural factors. He/she should come up with an alternative approach in case the previous one was hindered. Creativity here will be of great use and it will help save a lot of money that is used in postponement.

Fundamentals of Acting

Improvisation is the core fundamental that an actor should have (Sinyard et al., 47). When an actor is on stage or in action he/she should try to come up with an extra more entertaining thing than the one that is written in the script. Improvisation is what differentiates the experienced and more sort out actors from the junior actors in the field.

Script analysis and understanding is another primary component that any actor should critically look at (Sinyard et al., 48). The actor should carefully read the script that is given to him/her, analyze it and make sure they have understood it before they go on stage. Without this, they will go contrary to what is required and this can cause bad performance.

Specificity is a key requirement to the actors that should be followed (Sinyard et al., 49). The actors should specify the roles they will play in a particular film and how they will be comfortable in performing them. This is vital in that it makes them specialize in what they choose and this brings good quality performance from them.

Fundamentals of editing

The editor needs to know the editing environment before he starts his work (Barsam et al., 60). This is ensuring that he gets well acquainted with the tools that he is going to use in the process of editing. This procedure allows the editor to plan effectively with steps and it saves time for the editor.

The editor should get familiar with the piece that should be edited (Barsam et al., 62). Here the editor gets the original piece from the director that should be edited and analyze it fully with the specifications from the director of the parts that should be edited and the core parts that should be left like that

The editor should also have time management skills (Barsam et al., 64). The editor should work on the work within the stipulated time by the director who brought the film for editing. The editor should plan himself and organize his work so that he is on schedule with the given time on the agreement.

The making and generating a film is divided into three parts which are;

Pre-production- This involves the planning aspect of the film making where the stage is set where the acting will be carried out on (Sinyard et al., 70). The actors are trained and prepared for the parts they will take in the film.

Production- This involves the actual casting of the film and the processes that are taken on camera and behind the cameras (Sinyard et al., 70). In production, the cameras are always active.

Post-production- This is the part that comes after the casting and it involves the editing and marketing parts of the film (Sinyard et al., 71). This part actually focuses on the final piece that will be obtained by the viewer and the methods that will be used in making the movie reach the viewers.

Film production is an art that contains a number of processes and techniques that will come up with the final piece that is called the film or movie. All the processes and techniques are dependent and interconnected to each other.


Barsam, Richard M, and Dave Monahan. Looking at Movies: An Introduction to Film. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2013. Print.

Sinyard, Neil. Filming literature: The art of screen adaptation. Routledge, 2013.