How Martin Scorsese Pulled the Wool over Our Eyes in 'Wolf of Wall Street'
Sometimes, storytelling is less about what you show and more about what you keep hidden.
Cinema is a lie; its very nature centers on the illusion of motion, depth, and time. But this goes beyond the phi phenomenon -- the techniques we use to unfurl narratives, both cinematically and narratively, can be seen as tricks, sleights of hand, prestidigitation, the ol' bait and switch, that we perform on our audiences. How much information do we give to our audience at the beginning of our films? How do we reveal information as time goes on? What kinds of effects will our choices have?
There are so many ways to tell a story. Not every film is going to require a bunch of misdirection, especially if it doesn't fit inside the packaging of certain genres, like thriller, horror, spy, cop, etc. However, the way you reveal characters, their character arc, and emotional states, absolutely require some finesse, and by distilling the themes found in this video essay, you can use its lessons on your own projects.