creating story

Bob Gillen on Storytelling

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Nobody is coming to save you

“It’s really important to become comfortable with the fact that nobody is coming to save you. If there’s something wrong–if you have no idea what the future looks like, you have no idea what the endgame is–nobody is going to come tell you what it is. You’re on your own. Either bail yourself out or give up.”

Podcasting. Credit: Popular Mechanics

Podcasting. Credit: Popular Mechanics

So says podcasting guru Nick Quah about starting up his own business. In an interview with Cale Guthrie Weissman for FastCompany magazine, Quah describes taking a sideline hobby – listening to podcasts – and turning it into a viable business.

Many advice-givers focus on collaboration. You work in or with the support of a team. For Quah, independence brings freedom. “The way I did this fits a very specific kind of human being. And it just so happens that I’m the kind of person that fits that model. I don’t like people telling me that they know better than me.”

An interesting perspective. When it comes to actually producing something, we each carry the weight. Do it, or not. Strong advice for creatives. Make your own film. Tell your own story. Make your own art. Do it.

You have to play

Student Filmmakers magazine

Student Filmmakers magazine

Student Filmmakers magazine offers insights on filmmaking:

“Like sports, it’s not enough to be a fan and to watch. You have to play. The important thing is to just shoot. Even if it’s not a masterpiece, you learn every time you make another project, no matter how short or simple… Just do it.”  ~Larry Fong, ASC (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Kong: Skull Island; and Super 8.)

You have to play.

“Get out shooting, that’s the way you learn. I myself worked my way up through the ranks. I started as a ‘runner’ as it was called then, became a loader, 2nd AC and then 1st AC. I didn’t operate, by that time I had seen how the industry was changing. I needed to get out shooting my own stuff asap. I think that is the advice I would give now. ~Adam Biddle, Cinematographer (Crank; The Gnostic; Team Extreme)

Get out shooting your own stuff asap.


Becoming an effective storyteller

Shawna Baca

Shawna Baca

On International Women’s Day, I’m looking back at an interview I did with writer/filmmaker Shawna Baca. Baca’s production company, 4 Elements Entertainment, develops film and new media projects that target America’s growing multicultural audience.

I had asked Baca what an emerging writer needs in order to become an effective storyteller. “When I became a filmmaker,” Baca said, “I considered myself as a storyteller, not necessarily a writer. Even though I wrote my own material, what I gravitated to more than the material was the intention or purpose of the story and how we were all emotionally influenced by that story. I didn’t go to school for screenwriting but what I was good at was strumming up the creative imagination to sit around, make up stories in front of small audiences, mostly family and friends, that would engage and hook them in.”

knowing how to make that story breathe life is the magical part

Filmmaker Shawna Baca

Filmmaker Shawna Baca

For Baca, “… writing a good story is key but then knowing how to make that story breathe life is the magical part that makes each filmmaker unique in his or her own right. You can give ten filmmakers the same script and I guarantee you they will all have their own artistic value and uniqueness. No two films will be exactly alike when you add in color palettes, tones, editing, score, etc.”

The Girl, Whose Shadow Reflects the Moon

The award-winning short film, The Girl, Whose Shadow Reflects the Moon tells the story of Walaa, a seventeen-year old woman refugee. Walaa, who is originally from Daraa in south Syria, took refuge in Jordan along with her family of 10 in 2012. She “needed to express what had happened to her and to tell her story.” 

According to The Jordan Times, Walaa “…participated in a training course on filmmaking for girls organized by the International Rescue Committee. The course armed her with the tools to tell her story through her short film.” 

The Girl, Whose Shadow Reflects the Moon won an award in 2015 from PLURAL +, a youth-produced video festival. PLURAL+  encourages young people to explore migration, diversity and social inclusion, and to share their creative vision with the world.

The group supports dialogue between young people from different cultures.

Walaa’s message: “I wish to become something.”

Here’s her film:

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