Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sean Glass's "Storytelling"

I've written a few articles for KiptonART, but give this is the first that will appear in the magazine, I feel I should introduce myself once more. I'm a 24-year-old filmmaker from New York. Well, I'd say aspiring. I believe that one should not call oneself something like "filmmaker" unless one is both making a solid living doing so, and other successful filmmakers acknowledge you as an equal, not necessarily in that order. I think I'm on my way there, but not quite ready to be on the level of those whom I admire.

On the same topic, people do ask me what I do, and I find I do not like to say I write, or direct, or produce specifically. I think of each of those tasks, and the others I perform, as part of the creative film making process.

Before I move forward, let me quote the frequently quoted maestro William Goldman, "Nobody knows anything". Abiding by the first and foremost of Goldman's three big rules, I must disclose that I too know nothing. Everything I say is my opinion, based on my experience (which being 24 is what it is). I've read the books, but the opinions here are my own, so if they work for you, cool, if not, feel free to think of me as a moron.

The writing, directing and producing are not separate to me. When I write a script, I think about locations (producing), the camera work and actors’ performances (directing). I also think about production design, music, wardrobe, etc. Screenwriting is not short story writing. A lot of people have this mantra that “it’s all about story.” Obviously. That’s like an athlete saying, “It’s all about teamwork.” It’s not that easy though. A slight variation of the phrase, that would make me much happier, is “it’s all about storytelling.”

You can write lots of good stories that make bad movies. The easiest way to exemplify that is with adaptations. Pick the most infamous failure of recent days—'Watchmen'. Great story. If you didn’t read the comic, maybe you’d even like the film based on the brilliant story and characters alone. However, if you already knew the story, and were evaluating the film purely on the storytelling, then it fails.

Read the full article in KiptonART magazine.
Kipton Cronkite Approved!

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