Media Production Mentoring

Free online film school designed with beginning filmmakers in mind.


Assignment 31: Modern Ancient Stories

Purpose: To discover the challenges and rewards of converting a written story to the screen.

Basis: There are very few new stories out there. In fact, depending on how you look at it, there are no new stories period. The challenge for filmmakers, then, is to find new ways to present old stories so the audience gains a new perspective, appreciation, experience or encounter with these age-old tales. Films seem to have an approximate life-cycle of 30 years before they are remade for the next generation with modern technology and ideals. Much of what comes out of Hollywood is a remake of something our parents could have seen.

Directions: Adapt a Bible story or ancient myth to a script. Use the tools you've already learned. If proper script format would help you--and you’re interested in becoming a screen writer--use that. If you want to trim down a longer Bible story, use note cards to help you figure out which scenes to keep and which to cut.

Looking Forward: Start finding actors and locations for your scenes. You'll need to schedule everyone, so be sure to record what times your actors and locations are available.

What to Watch: "Help!: An adaptation of the good samaritan" Here's an example of visual story telling at play. Much like stained glass windows in cathedrals told stories to the illiterate in the past, today simple animations can convey similar truths. Just remember: Do not use copyrighted materials in your productions.

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