Category: Story Different

Announcements, upcoming projects, future projects…

Why good stories make you want to have a better life.

Recently I liked this far away three-pointer by Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed.  They always struck me as adventurous storytelling characters, Super-people from the quiet wild side.

Their quote was about finding ways to get through life.

One: “Don’t be afraid of anyone. Now, can you imagine living your life afraid of no one?”

Two: “Get a really good bullshit detector.”

Three: “Three is be really, really tender.”

“And with those three things” – Laurie said – “you don’t need anything else.”

In the full wide range that stretches from street hobos to rich presidents and from Ivy-league dropouts to post-celebrity rehabs, there is a common thread:  life is ripe with conflict.

Sure, conflict is what made humans sharper, problem solvers until the last beat. Storytellers know that ultimately conflict alone can float identity through a sea of half-truths, up, up to the surface where the sun plays catch with flying fish. However important our culture of conflict may be, the search for less human pain, suffering, and crisis may also be a story to pursue. A peaceful target to shoot for.

In dramatic movies, the ending may be, in terms of plot, happy or unhappy. In either case, if the story works, the viewer is rewarded with insights into the depths of human life.

The ancient Greeks attended Tragedies more than school, feasting on pop-corn-less morality with cathartic heroes like Oedipus (an unknowing motherfucker) or universal strategists like Ulysses, king of the surprise climax.

Picture

Endings in these stories didn’t seem to matter much. The deus ex machina finale at times gave Gods the task of resolving plot indecision or confusion. This over-the-top device released authors from spending too much stage-time on predictable closing show and tell details. (They lived happily ever after! was another shortcut).  The middle of the story is where it all happened. Development, substance, focus, now.

So, what can we learn about “making our life better” by watching a film story?  It is true that caped Super-heroes are our cultural diet now, just as Commedia dell’Arte theatre masks were dominant wanderers from town to town for four centuries.

Picture

Masks are types. Types embody in broad strokes the infinite relationships among standard folk: the rich man, the poor woman, the young lovers, the old doctor, the cop, the thief, the servant.

It’s all about relationships, stupid.

A film I would watch again is one that leads to my relationship with the story. Titanic was a lesson in teen-age blockbuster making, who would have thought it? Multiple viewings create a relationship, characters become familiar: it’s the key to the new TV series mania.

Note for debate: Characters are not people, but they’re close enough to pretend. Characters stand in a story because the plot says so, and the writer cast them for a role.  No script? No character. They look like people, however. Or should.

This is not the case in real life where life may be scripted but in all likelihood is not very good. Determinists saw destiny play a bigger part than individuals. In the west we famously trust individual agency and will to drive success and failure.

You want to be the big boss man? Slay the dragons. Dominate your universe and plunge forward. Action films seem equivalent to playing Mozart with only Major chords. (Male chords, duh)

I have a preference for the Minor Key in film. Movies that don’t try and impress only with underlined cinematic cartwheeling. I have the same bias meeting people at parties.

If a film reveals a personal insight, I am Up.  If there is a label that explains everything or indicates next to each action, I am turned off. I follow film-makers that make movies that matter, even a little.

As a producer of youth-cinema, I see film conflict not as a medieval head-to-head battle to release adrenaline, but a personal texture, an inside chess game of question marks: where to go? what to do? How? Who with? Well told conflict can be hesitation pure and simple. Or an identity short-circuit. Or lack of clarity, loss of vision. How to take direct action choices, then? Voting can be Hamletic too, in hard times.

Even without a simple top-down final duel on a skyscraper, a film can lead to a character’s foggy melting point, the quiet intersection of dramatic need, desire and urgency in search of identity.

Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed are not film characters.

Picture

Their lingo is story with sound. They quest to stay away from trouble, they are grounded in their shape-shifting personae. Who they want to be? Simple:  happier spending time together.  Popcorn flicks too could explore that engagement vibe.

In the script of life rewritten, I would try reducing, not adding, conflict to stories.  Better conflict, of course, the one worth fighting for without fists and watching with senses aloft. As James Joyce said, the cinema is a “screen of consciousness”.

Luckily I am not afraid of fear, I can smell bullshit from outside the playground, and I still want to hear my kids tell me I was kind. That’s a step towards a better now, even for a callous storyteller like me.

There is already enough conflict to go around in the world.

Danny Alegi is a filmmaker, story development coach and speaker.  Read more of Danny’s blogs at ‘Movies Without Cameras‘.

+ metaphor, – rethoric. Cuaron on shooting his 3-week screenplay.

@Cinemahead we map scripts because it makes the process of writing less painful and more fun. A story map makes the making-of a script faster, visual, imaginative. Plus, it makes it easy to collaborate.

I ran into this YouTube interview with Alfonso Cuaron, director of “Y Tu Mama Tambien”. Listen to what he has to say about coming up with and directing “Gravity”. He says it was “a script that took three weeks to write”, a story rooted in personal adversities.

yup.

GoPro meet Docmob

This video is from a Himalaya Motocross tour. A father and son’s story with a warm tone and high stakes.



Our micro doc site docmob.net
doesn’t yet contain any Go Pro films, but it has a free manifesto to download, that sets up the basic principles of making miniature documentaries 30 steps from mainstream.

Anybody out there making GoPro #DocMob films?

FeetyourFilm. Take your movie out for air.

A new cinemahead game: Feeturfilms. Longer than a feature film, further than you can walk alone.

It’s a contest for taking films around the world by foot or bike. You take a film. You take it with you, and hand it off to someone.

Yes, let’s look at a film Launch again. “Launching” means PR distribution campaings, big events and shiny lights. But what if filmmakers played along and let go of a film altogether? A film, in any format preferrably small (like USB) can be released into the environment in a dynamic way, meaning that a launch should allow the “vehicle” to carry on, to keep moving. To Launch is to let go in a way that the film (in whatever forms it is) keeps moving.

“Launching” a film the FeeturFilm way is not a radical event, not unlike “premiering” a film in a small town festival. You present your work, you answer some questions about your process, and you meet the people whom your film has just met.

A Launch could be leaving a film on a parkbench in a central park, in a visible place where it is likely to get picke up and moved forward. Launch packets can have QR codes for those who want info. A launch can be anywhere, but the idea is that it not be ignored, but rather spark an action-reaction chain that sets the film in motion, on its own feet.

Feeturfilms are longer than feature films. They go the whole way, they can go around the world even, but they travel slow: no engines, no fossil fuels, no inorganic waste.

Feeturfilms walk your way if you can give them a hitch, a ride, or just stick them in your pocket as far as you can go with them.

Think Geocaching.
you go treasure hunting for hidden caches armed only with smart GPSs.

Think Natural currents
Dropping a container with a USB drive from a ship into an ocean current to see where it lands. I once saw a golfer hit one off a cruise ship into the gulf current. That was in the 80s..

|| @dannialegi

(part 2) Why is this blog called “Movies Without Cameras” ?

One of my favourite philosophy books is “Introduction to Metaphysics” by Henri Bergson, the “cinematic philosopher” who explored matter, memory and motion at the turn of centuries 19 and 20. Bergson saw links between the new art and science of cinema and almost everything around us. He made “Movies without cameras” inside his head.

A century-plus later, we make movies with smartphones, glasses and watches. We make images, that is, not always movies. What is a movie then? Or, as the film school jargon imposes, what is film?

Who are movies made for? Are they for audiences (yes) or for your the pleasure, or personal growth of the makers (also)?

This blog is called “Movies Without Cameras” because it is about thinking about movies and stories, but also about trying to get movies made in a simple and cheap way.

Is this blog for you? Well, this is who I am writing this blog for (the target)

those:

a) trying to say something with your voice as a film (but need an alternative approach?)
B) looking for a niche audience (that can become your crowd?)
C) interested in making movies (with new tech)
D) tired of movies as stars, money and celebrity (…)
E) studying Theory of film (but want to try making one, in Practice?)
F) with a film in post-production (and want feedback?)
G) under 25 years old (and looking for Youth Cinema funding)
H) who are writing scripts
I) looking for skills leading to a job in film & media (less is not more here)

DANIEL

You can also connect here:
follow @cinemahead
linkedin group :> Cinemaheads
cinemahead forums