Archive for July, 2012

Causing an impression vs. Telling a story

And i’ve graduated. After a quarter of my life dedicated to studying film specifically, i can finally declare myself an unemployed. Yet, this also meant going back to the college grounds, seeing younger people facing the obstacles i went through in the beginning of this stage of my life. I could see myself, not in their personalities, but in the common difficulties they were about to come up against. With the experience i gathered through the years, i could identify a typical problem from the early periods of film school, which i describe in this article’s title.

 This is a very simple pie chart and it describes the reasons/expectations of people recently joining film school. It’s not supposed to be accurate, as i haven’t done a second of research to come up with it, but you possibly believe in it as it seems familiar.

There’s some sort of preconceived idea on how creativity flows through a newcomer’s mind. I mean, how many times have you been caught by those works which look pretentious for attempting to hold more than they can actually handle? Those long shots of a character gazing at the rain as if it should answer the meaning of life, meanwhile it is as unintelligible as a blank page looks like.

It’s really easy to blame in the inexperience and expect that things will turn the other way around, but the real issue is that this is a recurring situation. Are them all so green? If yes, why there’s mostly only this kind of film callowness?

I believe that the problem resides in the origins of creativity, as we see our inspirations as these very specific images, almost set pieces. Isolated, still with a meaning. Like when you felt something unusual while staring aimless at the rain. You, as a filmmaker, has this inner obligation to reproduce this sensation, the problem is how it is done.

The copy/paste won’t achieve the proper effect, as the image will be hollow of motivation required to express the feeling of that moment. Because the only thing an image does, or any piece of art, is bring back a memory from afar. By that i mean that the strength of an image is generated by a chain reaction of your past.

What the story perceives is to reproduce this past in a generic way, in order to create identification with the viewer so he can be thrilled by the dramatic scenarios we explore in the film. If you skip the story, you die on an impression, and to explain how that doesn’t work, remember how many times you gaped the rain and how every time there was something different crossing your head. Without the proper introduction all it generate is the doubt. What scenario is being set?

The complication is that an image is much bigger of meaning than it looks like. These words i type, each one of them have a specific definition which can be found in the dictionary. An image doesn’t. It’s power is inherent to the viewer’s experience. So what i suggest is stop thinking in images, specifically. Forget the frame. Praise the story. Because if you screw up at your screenplay, you won’t save it in the shooting, if you make a decent job earlier you still have a shot to do things right.

The problem is actually quite clear. Don’t write a thesis with images, don’t seek for an inner depth only you’ll be able to identify. The real artists, those which the french auteur theory praised so much about were those whom could create all the things you look after from the images through storytelling.

As i’ve stated someplace else, forcing these poetic set pieces and obligating your spectator to find the meaning you wish is an attempt of rape at cinematographic terms. As far as i can recall from my experience, you can’t escape from your own feelings, even if you’re writing an action/adventure blockbuster, you’ll meet yourself again amidst your writing.

Don’t take a short cut if you don’t know where it is leading.


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