Keep It Simple

February 17th, 2012


My first year film classes are getting ready to start their movie projects. The biggest challenge for the students is coming up with interesting story ideas. I emailed my former student, Nic Weinfeld, to see if he would be available to Skype with us next week to offer some advice on coming up with original story ideas. In his reply e-mail, Nic offers some helpful tips that I’m sharing with his permission:

For coming up with stories it is always important to think about what you are trying to say.

For example, the message, “change is good” may be showcased through a political leader stepping down after some conflict, or a mother hiring a new baby sitter. Once you have a message, or how its more commonly referred to in film as a “Spine”, the next steps are easier.

Also, it’s important to remember to keep it simple. Make sure your story has minimal characters, minimal locations and is really honing in on one character, one event and one change that he/she undergoes.

Finally, you must plan it out, thoroughly, so you can see the gaps in your story. You need to make sure each scene is doing something and moving your story forward.

I can add more when we actually Skype.

The picture above is of the large 400-seat movie theatre at The American Film Institute. This is where we will be having our 4th annual film festival on May 31st.

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