The Fine Art of Storytelling

Numerous things make a movie any good. You could have bad sound, bad lighting, bad picture, bad performances, and bad concepts. You could break the ideas you have by putting them together all wrong. Or, you might make an Oscar-winning movie by putting everything together perfectly. Although, I never hold Oscar as the “best” of anything. I’ve seen much better that never got awarded an Oscar, and wasn’t even nominated.

But the fact of the matter is, without a great story to tell, you’re bound to re-hash the same, old crap. The more original a story, the better it becomes for the people who pay to watch your work. Sure, the other stuff holds true, too, but the story is the source of all of the inspiration.

The art of storytelling is one that is highly sought after and not easy to find. It takes a truly creative mind to dedicate time to perfecting and crafting the right story that people will want to even care about. Sometimes it will even require the writer to go back, multiple times, to re-write what they have written. And all of that takes time. A good story will come to the storyteller instantly, but it will take weeks, even months, to formulate the whole thing, from beginning to end.

That being said, the art of doing it is long, arduous, and usually never very satisfying. Because the storyteller must got through their story more than a dozen times, which kills off the love of the piece. That is, unless the story is that good and timeless. A really great story can captivate even the author the more that they read it. And reading it over should spark new ideas and concepts during each reading.

The really cool thing about crafting a story is that, it’s yours. You can do with it what you please. Sometimes, when you feel that you’re going in the wrong direction, you might seek the advice of others. They will poke and prod the story, asking you numerous questions. And many times, the author (or artist, in this case), will hate to have their story picked through. I know, many time when I write a script, I don’t want people coming in to tell me that my story is weak, or that my characters “need more development”. How do these people know that the art of this particular story isn’t best told the way it’s described on paper? Who are they to judge? Yeah, you asked for their opinion, but not for them to dissect and destroy what you’ve written. So why should they do that?

The fact is, it’s your art. If you don’t want someone, even people you trust highly, to pick apart your work, keep it to yourself. Present it when you’re ready to, and make sure that the production, or book, or painting, is ready to be presented for production or to the world. You are not obligated to listen to critiques, critics, or friends with “good intentions”. You can absolutely do what you want to do. And that is the fine art of storytelling. Creating something original that you’ve worked on and presented to the world to be accepted, or not.

Sometimes your work is rejected. Numerous times I have watched people present their work to the heads of big companies only to be rejected. And 50% of those times, the people went on to make their movie. And of those 50%, about 60% found success. Pretty good odds for something that they were told would never be made or would ever make it. They took their chance, stuck to their guns, and did what was required to turn their art into something that people could appreciate. And it worked. You can do that, too, so don’t fall to the doubters.

So, how do I come up with the stories I create? It’s rather simple… I look around at life and think about it. If something has a question that I feel has never been answered, I’ll answer it through a process of questions and answers. And if any of those questions compel me to write a story, I’ll do it. And yes, I’ve had people read the stuff and tell me it wasn’t good enough. But then I gauged what that person had accomplished in their life, and it put me back into the mode of, “It’s my story, and I will tell it how I wish.” And when that story is done, and has been put on film/video, I run back to show them what I was doing and prove myself to them. And that tends to shut them up for the future.

So, shut up… Make your story… Don’t feel obligated to share it… Do it, dammit!