Production-Now.com Media Production Mentoring

Online film school designed with beginning filmmakers in mind.

5.29.2012

Story Telling with a Glance

Bad filmmakers rely on characters spelling out their feelings verbally.

Tony: My life is miserable without you, Sheila. I love you too much to leave you.
Sheila: You do? Then why did you leave me for ten years to be with Cindy?
Tony: That was a mistake. I've really only ever loved you.

We the audience--not to mention Sheila--should be very distrustful of Tony at this point. But, too often, these kinds of lame lines of dialog are all we get to see of the depth of a relationship. Filmmakers pass these moments off as creating a deep-emotional connection. And it's sad.

Far better to tell this stuff visually. If you have a character who is a lying, cheating, womanizer, how do you get the audience to believe he actually likes a girl "for real"? We can't trust what he says. So we switch to what film allows us to do: Visual Storytelling. We can, with a glance, tell more about our character than a thousand words would convey. By having him walk past a couple with arms around each other, we can have his look show the audience that he is missing out on that.

And it takes less than 15 frames to do it.


Missing a Relationship in a Glance

Granted, it can be difficult and time consuming to create these moments. They may require you to get outside your set, find some extras, take your production elsewhere. But it's so worth it. Your world gets bigger, your characters deeper, and your story stronger.

Tell your story with a glance, not a bunch of dialog.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

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