While words are important for all stories and solid word craft acts as a foundation to good storytelling, with movies there is an intermediary who interprets the words of the writer. This director makes choices that influence how the story will be perceived by the audience. These production decisions come in many layers from music choices to cinematography styles, mega CGI to classic special effects. This production element in movies makes the job of a writer more complex if we as the foundation builder desire to illustrate the growth of the characters we’ve labored over.
Movies are to plot what character is to books. Plot is the framework around which all movie stories are built. Character is still important but it is through plot that we understand a character’s inner landscape. Plot performs double duty as it also creates obstacles and challenges the character must maneuver around, over and through. We are shown gifts, personality and growth all due to the catalyst of plot. And that is what we desire to see, growth. More than any other aspect, whether over the course of a night, a week or a lifetime of the character we desire to experience growth. There is a heavy responsibility on the shoulders of plot and we as the writer lay in this foundation, all before the story comes to life through the lens of the visual world.
When a movie is judged though it isn’t the words that make up the story. Tactile sensations from what we see, hear and feel from the moving pictures form our world. How do we separate these visual cues from the writing beneath? Movies are about communication and choices. As the story passes hands from one artist to another it is interpreted through the eyes of that artist. Their perspective paves the decisions they make based upon their unique understanding of the character, world and themes. The final film we see in the theaters is thus the product of more than a single vision and each perspective touched what the audience experiences. Thus we learn storytelling judgment best as we study movies and the differences between what are writing, story and production choices.
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