Thinking Like a Filmmaker

When one goes and pursues a form of storytelling, I think an unexpected after affect of that is suddenly being able to see and analyze the executions of other works of the given medium. I know that to be the case in my experience, for ever since I decided to pursue writing more seriously a few years ago, my eye for what makes a good story in terms of books suddenly enhanced and matured, as I’m now better at being able to detect when the flow of the story is moving properly, whether or not a plot execution is effective, the development of a character, and more.

Of course, the same can go for someone who reads actively as well, and it’s that kind of mindset that has brought me to a realization recently. Does one have to be involved as a creator in the designated storytelling medium in order to know whether a work has been executed well or not? In the case of books, I can see that to not be the case, and recently I’ve realized that can go for films as well. I’ve come to see how within the past few years, I’m starting to think like a filmmaker.

Everyone gets a kick out of movies, and so perhaps it’s easy for one to assume that they’re an expert in what makes a good film. But what I can attest to is not everyone relies solely on the worldwide theatrical releases for their doses of move going experiences, for there are some such as myself who are also in tune with the films making their way through the film festival circuit. While that still might not be an effective argument for my point, not everyone can say they’ve had a hand in the decision making of what to show as part of a program at a film festival… and I have.

While my eye for film started to develop when I first started watching the short films from Wong Fu Productions, it really began to take shape when I started getting involved with a film festival organization a few years ago. I’ve served as a screening committee member/test audience for several film projects – both short and feature-length, narratives and documentaries. I’ve seen some really well-executed films where the story sticks with you long after the credits have rolled and I’ve seen others that could have been done better. It’s my input, among others, that determine whether they are to grace the screens of the film festival, and so as a result, I’ve become a much more active viewer when it comes to films – and it’s a switch that’s not ever formally turned off; not even when I’m watching a film for the sake of recreational viewing.

It’s because of this developed perspective that it’s even reached a creative level in my mind; both in terms of books and films. If you’ve visited my Goodreads page, you might have noticed how I’ve listed filmmakers Hayao Miyazaki and Wong Fu Productions as two of my influences. I admire the way they approach the storytelling process in their films, and as a result has affected me in how I approach the writing my books. That’s not to say that it easily translates between the mediums, but the mentality has been enhanced; and in an accommodating way too, for I’ve always been a visual-oriented person.

But with the fact that I too have the goal of entering the filmmaking world eventually, as a screenwriter, this perspective has even manifested itself into creatively seeing what would make a good film. I can think of locations now that would be great for shooting a short film at, I can come up with subjects that could become documentaries, and recently I was able to help a filmmaker friend of mine by reading over a screenplay of his for a short film that is now in pre-production.

This perspective has even gone out to films that already exist. Last year, I saw a profoundly moving drama from India called “Margarita with a Straw,” and there’s a scene in it (not going to say what happens in it, in order to prevent spoilers) where I recently realized: If the opening of this scene was reconstructed in a certain way and ended in a different way, then that scene alone could actually make a good short film.

Perhaps a more recent example comes after listening to an interview done with “Kung Fu Panda 3” director Jennifer Yuh Nelson about how she and her crew have approached making the sequels (which, after seeing the newest one on Super Bowl Sunday, appear to be getting better and better with each one), and when applying her method, I thought: You know, the franchise has yet to feature a female villain. I wonder what she would be like and what her motive would be.

This is how I’ve developed a perspective close enough to where I’m starting to think like a filmmaker, and with the goals and sights I have set for myself as I continue to creatively grow and mature, I see this as an unforeseen blessing. Storytelling doesn’t always transcend properly from one medium to another in a person’s point of view, but when it does, I can see it as an advantage one should grasp the reigns to, full on.

A Moment’s Worth is now available through the following venues: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, iTunes. Please leave a review if you can, for my goal is to get a total of at least 20 reviews on all venues (so far, I’ve gotten 12 reviews so I’m already just past the halfway point to my goal). Check out its Goodreads page, which includes two trivia quizzes for all who’ve completed reading it already.



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