Tell me a story ... please!

A forum for sharing views on the art of film, video and AV sequence making as well as on competitions, judging and festivals.
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Dave Watterson

Tell me a story ... please!

Post by Dave Watterson » Sat Jan 25, 2003 11:09 pm

Hi Guys

Having done another stint of judging last weekend I am even more firmly of
the belief that the majority of amateur movies need a narrative. Of course
there are a few which do not, but they are rare indeed.

I have seen lots of "mood pieces" or studies of a "critical moment" in someone's
life and they simply do not satisfy. Even decent documentaries need some
sort of thread to help the audience move through them ... if there is a little
tension in the thread so much the better.

As for the "incidents" and "funny moments" - they are almost always mere
fragments from an unfinished story and tend to be unsatisfying. I don't ask
for Dickens, Dostoevsky or even William Golding ... just some progression
from A to B with someone or something trying to stop you getting there. I'll
take it in simple hints and passing references, but without it movies don't
satisfy.

Rant over.

Dave mcSunnyStories

Michael Slowe

Re: Tell me a story ... please!

Post by Michael Slowe » Sun Jan 26, 2003 12:54 pm

"Dave Watterson" <forums@theiac.org.uk> wrote:
Hi Guys

Having done another stint of judging last weekend I am even more firmly
of
the belief that the majority of amateur movies need a narrative. Of course
there are a few which do not, but they are rare indeed.

I have seen lots of "mood pieces" or studies of a "critical moment" in someone's
life and they simply do not satisfy. Even decent documentaries need some
sort of thread to help the audience move through them ... if there is a
little
tension in the thread so much the better.

As for the "incidents" and "funny moments" - they are almost always mere
fragments from an unfinished story and tend to be unsatisfying. I don't
ask
for Dickens, Dostoevsky or even William Golding ... just some progression
from A to B with someone or something trying to stop you getting there.
I'll
take it in simple hints and passing references, but without it movies don't
satisfy.

Rant over.

Dave mcSunnyStories
Dave, once again a bulleye! As one of the worst offenders as far as "mood"
pieces are concerned I have for years been excusing the process as being
"impressionistic". But I have been worried about this superficiality having
enjoyed and admired some of the continental films that we have recently seen
in amateur festivals.

The problem is not however so easily overcome; you will agree that many so
called story or drama films are truly dreadful in their attempts at doing
what we see everyday on television. Your suggestion must be the correct way
to go and you must be right in saying that every film, regardless of genre
needs some sort of narrative and filmakers who do not (or can't) work with
actors and a production team must still have that line through their films.
Thank you for putting it so well.

AN

Re: Tell me a story ... please!

Post by AN » Sun Jan 26, 2003 1:31 pm

"Dave Watterson" <forums@theiac.org.uk> wrote:
Hi Guys

Having done another stint of judging last weekend I am even more firmly
of
the belief that the majority of amateur movies need a narrative. Of course
there are a few which do not, but they are rare indeed.
Rare? On your German tape Dave, a quarter of the movies do not have any
narrative at all.
I have seen lots of "mood pieces" or studies of a "critical moment" in someone's
life and they simply do not satisfy.
I'd like to see more films showing just fleeting moments/scenes/patterns
in the landscape/clouds etc etc WELL edited to suitable music, rather that
amatuer stories which in most (nearly all!) instances turn out to be corny/VERY
obvious plots/hammily acted/sound unmatched to the scenes etc , or overlong
documentaries with poor speech delivery in monotonous tone. Awww, save me
from more of those, please!

Pity that dv tape is so cheap...if it were 1 quid a foot we may see some
shorter epics offered to we suffering audiences. My friend recently made
a film of his SMALL garden....it lasted 45 minutes!!

BTW what's the differencee between a film and a movie? Is a video a movie
or a film?


I don't ask
for Dickens, Dostoevsky or even William Golding ... just some progression
from A to B with someone or something trying to stop you getting there.
As Max Bygraves used to say, "I wonna tell yer a story."
Rant over.
Dave mcSunnyStories
Albert...can rave as well as rant.

Dave Watterson

Re: Tell me a story ... please!

Post by Dave Watterson » Sun Jan 26, 2003 11:22 pm

Michael Slowe - a wonderful film maker - said:

"As one of the worst offenders as far as "mood" pieces are concerned I have
for years been excusing the process as being "impressionistic". But I have
been worried about this superficiality having enjoyed and admired some of
the continental films that we have recently seen in amateur festivals."

Those who know Michael's work will understand. Those who do not may be puzzled.

He often makes longish documentaries about a process - though often as much
about the people concerned as the work itself - which are beautiful to watch
with superb composition, photography and editing. But those tend to follow
a slight narrative as we usually see the job through from beginning to end.

One of his other specialities is films cut to music, where the driving impetus
is the music rather than the narrative. He often makes those work just because
he is so damned good ... but even they are better when there is some narrative
progress, however slight.

A big success around the world last year was his "Pelicans of Guana" showing
the birds on a tropical island and cut to music by Messiaen, Copland and
some brass music. (Even the music is edited to help shape the film.) The
progression there was simply the hours of daylight, showing how the birds
lived through a typical day.

Now I am greedy - always greedy for the best in cinema - and I would like
to see him add an even stronger narrative to one of his impressionist pieces.
It would be stunning.

Dave McStarStruck

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