Every great movie has memorable moments. These are the scenes that end up on the poster and splashed all over the trailers. The ones you talk about for years to come.
Today we are talking about the other half. The parts of the story that don’t get the limelight but actually draw the audience into the characters and their situation. The human elements that actually make movies work and transform them into something larger than the sum of their parts.
I’ve been spending more time lately working on a few stories of my own. It seems like every day I’m learning the difference between picking apart and analyzing someone else’s story and the much harder task of writing something of your own.
When we critique someone else’s work, we usually forget the long process that went into bringing that narrative to life. All we see are the flaws and the mistakes and we overlook the fact that even a bad movie is still a finished movie. A poorly executed story that managed to actually get finished is still superior than a great idea that only exists in your head.
Everyone has an opinion on what makes a great story, but very few people have what it takes to create a compelling story of their own. Why is that?
Could it be that storytelling is actually much harder than we all assume?
Today we are talking about where stories come from, specifically how they emerge out of our personal experiences and unique authorial perspective. We’ll talk about the inspiration behind The Hunger Games, Spielberg’s aliens, and the critically panned Cars 2.
When I say that stories come from people, I mean that stories are also inseparable from their creators. In many ways, they must communicate the specific life experiences of their authors.
Today is a special one because I’m the guest on one of my favorite podcasts in the world: Making Movies Is HARD.
I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with indie filmmakers Alrik Bursell and Timothy Plain about what makes a good story. We discussed our favorite storytelling principles, delved into some of the nuts and bolts of how stories function, and examined Andrew Stanton’s excellent TED talk.
The whole reason I started the Story Punch podcast was to try and figure out how to tell compelling stories. It’s incredible to sit down with a couple of filmmakers who really know their stuff and swap ideas with them. I hope you’ll give it a listen and check out their podcast!