Using Inaction to Raise the Stakes: 

Effectively use silence
When a character doesn’t say something when they should, this can help build tension. If a character asks, for example, “Do you love me?” and the other person doesn’t answer—you’ve raised the stakes. It also works for something like, “Will you have my back when it comes down to it?” Meaning, will you support me when I need your help? When a character doesn’t respond or remains silent, a lot of questions are left up in the air for the readers. They just don’t know what’s coming. Learn how to use silence and how it can create tension in your story.
Do nothing
When a character knows something bad is happening and they remain inactive about it, that helps raise the stakes of your story. The readers are left wondering what it’s going to take to get your main character motivated to act. If you set up a world where action is dangerous and remaining complacent helps you stay alive, like most dystopian novels, doing nothing becomes a likely course of action (until the inciting incident). Most characters aren’t motivated to do anything in these types of novels until either they’re put in danger or something they love.  This helps create tension because your readers can feel the situation building and they know something really bad needs to happen before action is taken.
Have your character hold back information
Sometimes your character is afraid to share information because they’re frightened of the repercussions of sharing something dangerous.  Maybe they’ve been blackmailed or maybe they’re afraid something is going to get hurt. When your character holds back information and lies to someone close to them, the tension in your story builds. Raise the stakes of your novel by having your character not act on something they should. Fear is a good motivating factor when it comes to holding back information.

~ Kris Noel
[Image: Hokusai Katsushika Bamboo]
(via yama-bato)

Using Inaction to Raise the Stakes: 

Effectively use silence

When a character doesn’t say something when they should, this can help build tension. If a character asks, for example, “Do you love me?” and the other person doesn’t answer—you’ve raised the stakes. It also works for something like, “Will you have my back when it comes down to it?” Meaning, will you support me when I need your help? When a character doesn’t respond or remains silent, a lot of questions are left up in the air for the readers. They just don’t know what’s coming. Learn how to use silence and how it can create tension in your story.

Do nothing

When a character knows something bad is happening and they remain inactive about it, that helps raise the stakes of your story. The readers are left wondering what it’s going to take to get your main character motivated to act. If you set up a world where action is dangerous and remaining complacent helps you stay alive, like most dystopian novels, doing nothing becomes a likely course of action (until the inciting incident). Most characters aren’t motivated to do anything in these types of novels until either they’re put in danger or something they love.  This helps create tension because your readers can feel the situation building and they know something really bad needs to happen before action is taken.

Have your character hold back information

Sometimes your character is afraid to share information because they’re frightened of the repercussions of sharing something dangerous.  Maybe they’ve been blackmailed or maybe they’re afraid something is going to get hurt. When your character holds back information and lies to someone close to them, the tension in your story builds. Raise the stakes of your novel by having your character not act on something they should. Fear is a good motivating factor when it comes to holding back information.

~ Kris Noel

[Image: Hokusai Katsushika Bamboo]

(via yama-bato)

Art is Essential: 
Essential art must somehow express the essence of what makes us human. It’s as difficult and elusive as it sounds, but I’ve found that there is a litmus test.
Art-making should be a spiritual process. It should share the same end goals as any spiritual practice. Too few of my own films have lead me to a deeper understanding of my personal condition and the conditions of others. 
They were all a challenge to make. I grew as a craftsperson and a storyteller through making Aijo (2006), just as I did when creating A Simple Reminder (2013) seven years later. But projects like I am Concrete (2006) and Idle By Dawn (2001) stand out in a different way. They may be deeply flawed, but they contain an unmistakable voice and depict uniquely human problems that can only be resolved through conscious growth.
Creating art for validation will leave you, and your work, feeling empty. Creating art to serve a greater need will imbue it with the essential qualities that make us human.
~ü
[Image: D. Schmüdde I am Concrete]

Art is Essential: 

Essential art must somehow express the essence of what makes us human. It’s as difficult and elusive as it sounds, but I’ve found that there is a litmus test.

Art-making should be a spiritual process. It should share the same end goals as any spiritual practice. Too few of my own films have lead me to a deeper understanding of my personal condition and the conditions of others. 

They were all a challenge to make. I grew as a craftsperson and a storyteller through making Aijo (2006), just as I did when creating A Simple Reminder (2013) seven years later. But projects like I am Concrete (2006) and Idle By Dawn (2001) stand out in a different way. They may be deeply flawed, but they contain an unmistakable voice and depict uniquely human problems that can only be resolved through conscious growth.

Creating art for validation will leave you, and your work, feeling empty. Creating art to serve a greater need will imbue it with the essential qualities that make us human.

[Image: D. Schmüdde I am Concrete]

I love the way that the lights are gelled in this still from Minority Report. Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski discusses this shot, and many others, in these 11 Steven Spielberg-directed films.

In a four-star review of Spielberg’s 2002 sci-fi film, Roger Ebert spent a paragraph praising this “virtuoso shot” of Tom Cruise and Samantha Morton, calling it an image “that’s powerful and yet bafflingly simple.” “That’s nice of Roger,” says Kaminski. “It’s just a gorgeous shot of two lost people. I used a bluish side light, which to some degree glamorized them, but also made them very lonely and alienated from the rest of the scene. You work in metaphors through lights and composition, and the worst thing for me is to see a movie that doesn’t have that. You see a cinematographer’s work and there are no visual metaphors, or they are so afraid to create a style that it just becomes this nothing.” Kaminski washed the film in moody blues and grays as an homage to film noir, noting, “It’s a big palette, the movie screen. I dare to compare myself to painters, but I just have a bigger canvas to adapt to. If you don’t like my painting, don’t see the movie, you know?”

I love the way that the lights are gelled in this still from Minority Report. Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski discusses this shot, and many others, in these 11 Steven Spielberg-directed films.

In a four-star review of Spielberg’s 2002 sci-fi film, Roger Ebert spent a paragraph praising this “virtuoso shot” of Tom Cruise and Samantha Morton, calling it an image “that’s powerful and yet bafflingly simple.” “That’s nice of Roger,” says Kaminski. “It’s just a gorgeous shot of two lost people. I used a bluish side light, which to some degree glamorized them, but also made them very lonely and alienated from the rest of the scene. You work in metaphors through lights and composition, and the worst thing for me is to see a movie that doesn’t have that. You see a cinematographer’s work and there are no visual metaphors, or they are so afraid to create a style that it just becomes this nothing.” Kaminski washed the film in moody blues and grays as an homage to film noir, noting, “It’s a big palette, the movie screen. I dare to compare myself to painters, but I just have a bigger canvas to adapt to. If you don’t like my painting, don’t see the movie, you know?”

INTERVIEWER

Are there devices one can use in improving one’s technique?

CAPOTE

Work is the only device I know of. Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade, just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself. Even Joyce, our most extreme disregarder, was a superb craftsman; he could write Ulysses because he could write Dubliners. Too many writers seem to consider the writing of short stories as a kind of finger exercise. Well, in such cases, it is certainly only their fingers they are exercising.

Truman Capote Paris Review Interview (The Art of Fiction, No. 17) (via the-library-and-step-on-it)

The Slow Burn of Filmmaking

As the calendar turned to 2014, I said to myself, “This year is going to be a wash. No big professional events. No new, exciting opportunities. Just hard work.”

I’ve been right so far. A quarter of the way into 2014, the biggest change has been an endeavor into publishing as a part-time developer for NetGalley.com.

Otherwise, as an artist and a filmmaker, I’m still working on the post production for two short films and two short documentaries, while bootstrapping feature and interactive opportunities with an eye on future revenue streams.

Film is nothing if it’s not hard work. And sometimes, like in 2014, that’s all it is.

Featured Friday: Seed & Spark - 

This week’s feature is not a video, it’s a platform. Seed & Spark understands that that the most valuable byproduct of crowdfunding isn’t the cash upfront, but the engaged audience after the film is finished. Watch their pitch, check out their platform, and see if you agree that this is the future of independent filmmaking.

Last week’s discussion on empty theaters seems especially relevant here.

Cinematographers, Nelson Carvajal’s brief examination of framing in Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida is a must-read. The stills are gorgeous. 
~ü

Cinematographers, Nelson Carvajal’s brief examination of framing in Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida is a must-read. The stills are gorgeous. 

The Animated Doc: 

I’ve decided there isn’t enough awareness of this clever and wonderful genre, so I’ve included a few of my favorite shorts that can be watched while you’re eating lunch (or perhaps dinner, or while you’re in bed, for those not in the US).

I’ve included Photograph of Jesus (7m, embedded in this post), for how it ties subject and content, An Eyeful of Sound (10m25s), for how it materializes the documentary’s premise as cinema, and My Mother’s Coat (6m) for it’s restraint and surprising use of film.

Working on a music video and felt the need to put this animated gif together from one of my favorites, Front 242’s Take One.
~ü

Working on a music video and felt the need to put this animated gif together from one of my favorites, Front 242’s Take One.