» Posts Tagged ‘storytelling’

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Andrew StantonIn filmmaking, there are no hard and fast rules that artists have to abide by, but one axiom always proves to be infallible: story is everything. And even though each and every one of our lives is essentially one great, big story, learning how to tell one isn’t as effortless as our lives seem to be. Here to give you some truly invaluable, practical advice on how to put together a narrative is Pixar writer/director Andrew Stanton (Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Wall-E), whose 2012 TED Talk not only sheds light on what makes a story great, but what tools you can use to make your story great by inspiring your audience to care. More »

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Video thumbnail for vimeo video You Are Not a Storyteller - No Film SchoolA video has been making the rounds that seems to have quite a few people riled up. FITC Events, a company that puts together conferences and seminars around topics like technology, business, and design, sat down with designer Stefan Sagmeister to discuss his thoughts on the idea of storytelling. Essentially he said that if you’re not in the business of telling actual stories, you shouldn’t be calling yourself a storyteller, and that those people who do tell stories, don’t necessarily see themselves that way — though he uses a bit more colorful language in his response in the video: More »

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conanFor most writers, the internet provides them with virtually every tool they could ever need to write their respective narrative pieces. Word processors, screenwriting applications, even outlining programs exist (and with features ad infinitum) to make life easier, but Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin takes a much, much, much simpler, old-fashioned approach to completing his work. In fact, it’s downright ancient. No, I’m not talking “quill, ink, and a scroll of papyrus” ancient. I’m talking “WordStar 4.0 on a DOS machine” ancient. Though such a word processor may seem obsolete, Martin’s reason behind why he uses one is anything but. More »

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PrisonersOne of the things I appreciate about cinema is that films are enigmatic. Many times the films we see when we’re kicking back and watching as passive spectators are not the same films we see when we sit up, pen and pad in hand, and unfurl the cinematic message in its entirety. This video essay by Darren of Must See Films attempts to unearth all of the subtle ways director Denis Villeneuve and legendary DP Roger Deakins try to communicate through the film Prisoners. It breaks down many aspects of the film, like the blocking, costuming, and aesthetic choices, as well as its symbolism, motifs, and patterns, offering a richer, more well-rounded understanding of not only the film itself, but of just how complex and intricate visual storytelling actually is. More »

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cageIt is a truism that, “we tell ourselves stories in order to live.” But, it is remarkable what a human characteristic the drive for narrative is. What purpose does it serve? No matter, it’s pretty much like the opposable thumb at this point, and we’ve been telling stories since we learned how to communicate; the weirdest thing, perhaps, is that the experiences of everyone who has ever lived and died in the history of the world are both altogether unique and so similar that we can have stories to begin with; to a degree, then, we all must live the same story (that’s deep.) And the way we’ve been telling stories in the West still owes much to the work of Aristotle. We’ve shared a rundown of the evolution of narrative, its study, and how both can help you become a more successful screenwriter, so continue on to find out more.  More »

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HitchcockIf you’re looking at your project right now — maybe you’re going over the footage you shot today or are editing all of your raw material — and you’re feeling like it’s falling a bit flat, it might be time to take some notes from the master. Alfred Hitchcock wasn’t just the Master of Suspense; he was the master of capturing and eliciting powerful emotions from his actors and audiences through several cinematic techniques — ones that every filmmaker should learn at some point in their career. This video essay breaks down many of Hitch’s chosen methods of storytelling, from using the MacGuffin to training his camera to the faces of his actors, so continue on to check it out. More »

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RonHowardDirectingAt the Tribeca film festival, movies weren’t the only thing on offer. From Thelma Schoonmaker breaking down the editing process behind Raging Bull to The Wire’s David Simon on big data’s possible effects on storytelling, the festival had far more than just films, including a discussion between newscaster Brian Williams and legendary filmmaker Ron Howard. Howard shared his opinions on many topics, and  thanks to Indiewire, we’re able to find out exactly what those were! Continue on to check a few important takeaways from Howard’s panel. More »

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Gary VaynerchukWhat is at the core of filmmaking? It’s the same thing that made us want to pick up a camera in the first place. Storytelling. But, as things tend to do, the landscape of media consumption has evolved to match our changing needs and desires. Platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and Netflix have sprung up to accommodate this change, but have the ways we tell stories followed suit? Gary Vaynerchuck doesn’t seem to think so. In this 99U talk, the best-selling author and founder of VaynerMedia describes how to be better storytellers in today’s “A.D.D. Culture.” More »

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The EditorWe live in an age where a 6-year-old with a laptop and a copy of iMovie can edit some footage together. Editing software is abundant and as easy to use as it has ever been, and the masses are using these tools to flood the internet with copious amounts of video content. But most of us can agree that simply being able to make edits does not necessarily make a person an editor, at least in the sense of the editing being a creative art form. However, it’s sometimes not clear what exactly an experienced editor can do, and what impact they can have on the final product of a film. Inside the Edit, a brand new online editing course, has put together a short video that demystifies the complexity of an editor’s job. More »

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Periodic TableAttention everyone: We have found it. We have found the Holy Grail of online screenwriting/storytelling resources. If you’re a screenwriter and/or a complete glutton for geeking out, you need to stop what you’re doing immediately and check out Design Through Storytelling’s Periodic Table of Storytelling, which — is exactly what it sounds like — a collection of story tropes organized by purpose and name, all of which are clickable links that take you to their own TV Tropes wiki page. More »

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Akira Kurosawa(Answer: Everything!) Akira Kurosawa is in a league of his own. To master filmmakers, like Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Oliver Stone, he was the teacher, and often shared his knowledge with those who asked. Flavorwire has published a few pieces of said knowledge in the form of Kurosawa’s greatest filmmaking quotes — ones that beautifully answer questions about the craft, advise us on storytelling, and remind us why we fell in love with cinema in the first place. More »

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Jordan and HollynTechnology is an important part of filmmaking, as well as something we like to talk about here at No Film School, but when it comes down to it, one, if not the, most integral part of our craft is storytelling. Editors and instructors Larry Jordan and Norman Hollyn forgo the “tech talk”, as they say, to delve into a conversation about the great influence film/video editing has in terms of telling stories, including ways certain edits can “guide” the viewer’s eye, attention, and emotional response to a scene. More »

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Pixar ebookWhen Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats tweeted out 22 storytelling tips, something interesting happened. It was as if the curtain was lifted to reveal the heart of a mysterious, magical, and inspiring player in filmmaking, and many screenwriters (I was one of them), treated this small collection of advice as a lost book of the storytelling bible. Stephan Vladimir Bugaj, who has spent 12 years writing and developing stories at Pixar, has now shared his eBook in which he expounds on each tip. Continue on for the link to the free download. More »

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The Future of StorytellingHere at nofilmschool, we focus a lot of our time and efforts on writing about the many technical aspects of filmmaking. Admittedly, we love writing about new cameras, cool pieces of software, and almost all other products that serve to make the filmmaking process easier and more fun. However, narrative filmmaking, despite all of its technical processes, is inherently a medium for telling stories. Plainly and simply, filmmaking is storytelling. And ultimately, it’s storytelling, and not technical mastery, that indicates whether a film is good or not. Luckily, for those of us who aren’t storytelling inclined, iversity, a leading provider of free online courses, has introduced a brand new course called “The Future of Storytelling.” Check out the details below. More »

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writers-blockOf all the parts of a movie, from cinematography, to editing, and everything in between, writing is perhaps the most (what with all the books, classes, weekend seminars), and least (at the end of the day it’s just you and the page), understood. The art of crafting stories and creating indelible characters that will make an unforgettable film is a real gift, though it can and must be developed through careful, patient work. The Guardian has a great piece about a new book that explores creativity, and they’ve come up with six habits of highly successful writers. Check out the tips below as well as more advice from the masters. More »

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Evolution of Cinema_Tom PerlmutterIn a quick, yet thought-provoking video for the Future of Storytelling Summit, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada Tom Perlmutter shares his thoughts on the future of storytelling. He explains the basic human need behind the act of telling a story, how that act has evolved over time, and where its evolution is heading: transmedia. To find out more on what Perlmutter says about interactive filmmaking, check out the video after the jump. More »

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IThe-War-of-Art_Pressfield (1)f you’re like most screenwriters I know (myself included), you have a shelf full of books on the art and craft of writing. These books do everything from leading us on the hero’s journey, to breaking down the two, three, five or more act structure of a well-designed screenplay, and engendering sympathy with your protagonist early on. But I’ve found one book that stands head and shoulders above the rest, and it doesn’t have a thing to do with crafting story-arcs or “sympathetic” characters. It has to do with Resistance, every artist’s greatest enemy. Click below to find out more about the book that might change the way you look at your craft. More »

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Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 12.40.07 PMOn Story from PBS in Austin is a “new series which takes a look at the creative process of filmmaking through the eyes of some of the entertainment industry’s most prolific writers, directors, and producers.” Recently they had a great panel discussion with Danny Boyle, Jason Reitman, and Ed Burns at the Austin Film Festival where they discussed the challenges of finding the right story and writing to suit your budget. It’s a must-see for indie filmmakers and screenwriters. Check it out below! More »

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polaroidChristopher Nolan’s Memento was a sleeper smash-hit in 2000: the smart indie used an ingenious backwards narrative structure and well-drawn but mysterious characters to draw us into the world of Leonard Shelby, the ‘ten minute man’ who suffers from anterograde amnesia, unable to make new memories. Now the film has been re-edited to run chronologically, and is available to watch online. Click below to see what an indie filmmaker can learn from the narrative structure of this indie classic! More »

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Nowadays, major franchises get the royal treatment upon release. Some video game series are expanded with original novels or comic books between release dates. The opening of many big films occurs with novelizations and video games accompanying them. The problem is, I haven’t seen many video game adaptations I’ve been able to appreciate as good films in their own right, and all the while games seem to be getting more and more realistic. How comparable, or even compatible is storytelling between video games and movies? If anybody could figure it out, it’d be “Star Wars Episode VII director” J.J. Abrams and Valve co-founder/CEO Gabe Newell. Check out their full D.I.C.E. 2013 keynote discussion below. More »