Media Production Mentoring

Free online film school designed with beginning filmmakers in mind.


Bare Bones

Great films are fully fleshed out creatures. They contain intricacies and subtlety as well as body and depth. You can cut out too much. I ran into this as a young filmmaker because I was completely fed up with the lame extra bits in the films of my peers. So I slashed my movies into clips. I refused to linger on a shot because it slowed things down. I didn't need it, I reasoned. My audience could keep up. I was rocking through scenes. No one was going to be bored by my films.

Unfortunately, in my zeal for speed, my movies tended not to make sense. Rather than a complete body they were a skeleton. You could tell that a story would fit around my elements, but the whole picture was not there.

My senior project--which I shot with my own camera, without lights or a microphone--is a good example of this. I had recently written a 45 page script with 14 speaking parts and realized it was too big. So I wrote a five page script with three words and two characters.

Everyone loved my script.

But just because my prose made perfect sense, my film was little more than bare bones. Thus, the meaning--the story/the heart--was missing. Here are the last 30 seconds of my 3:20 short:

Retexit - the final 30 seconds

There were many other fundamental problems with "Retexit" but I'll cover those at a later time. The point is that you must find a balance when constructing your tales. Too much and your story is buried behind a mountain of useless bits. Too little and your story loses its form and falls apart.

Skeleton or Mountain

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

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