Sometimes in film we try too hard.
That was, without a doubt, the case when we set to make an impactful film about “Over coming bad habit’s”; as was the subject for the film festival category we were entering.
After explaining our amazing video idea to my dad, he looked at me and lovingly questioned, “he burns himself up inside a small wooden box?”
“Yeah.” I confidently stated. Obviously my dad was not creative enough to get it, so I further explained, “it’s symbolic of how we work so hard on things in our life and then we destroy it through addiction!”
“A small box? Why don’t you have him burn down a house, that would be more truthful”
“We can’t burn down a house.”
“A small box is not going to impact people like you want to…”
As my dad continued on, my mind stayed stuck on that one thought: it’s not going to impact people like I want it to
I learned a lesson
in film-making that not only shaped this immediate film, but my whole perspective to how I create and tell stories. I realized the only reason we designed the story the way we did was to shock people. In this instance we compromised the shock factor due to lack of resources (i.e. a home to burn down), but the larger compromise at hand was the we sacrificed the story it-self. We wanted a cool effect, a cheap trick, to get people to say “Wow I didn’t see that coming”, but that actual moral behind the shock would be lost in the shock it’s self.
So we took a step back.
We examined what story hasn’t been told about “Over coming bad habit’s”. We looked at keeping things simple, realistic, and if there need to be any shock factor; it could not be more powerful than the message itself.