I’ve never been one who would ever consider screenwriting as my life’s main goal. Through my time in theatre and filmmaking, it just seems to me that screenplays aren’t even remotely as respected as plays are. Other than those (relatively) rare occasions when you have a writer/director in charge of the project or some sort of Brain Trust tasked with writing the script, most feature films see the screenplay as a jumping off point for a director’s creative vision. Case and point, World War Z is shooting now, with Brad Pitt. And there’s no third act written…
And somehow, that doesn’t sit well with me.
It got me thinking and asking: Why? I was sitting down and watching a TED Talk from Beeban Kidron (TED seems popular among Perplexity team members), and she said something that was very brilliant:
“We are increasingly offered a diet in which sensation, not story, is king.”
Now this woman, while nowhere near my favorite filmmaker, is responsible for starting after school clubs all across the United Kingdom geared toward young ones learning about the human experience through film. Which is awesome. But, if kids and adults alike exposed to feats of brilliant storytelling come out acknowledging the wonder of the experience and craving more, how come the above statement has proven true through box office success consistently?
I think it’s because, throughout history, story and sensation have always been inextricably linked. The first stories told were ritualistic and spiritual, surrounding a fire in the dead of night with chanting and wailing and dancing. From it’s very inception, storytelling was a visceral way for humans to connect and to share an experience that transcended the monotony of everyday life. And, I believe, as time has gone on, in an effort to make story more presentable for “high class” or “civilized life” we’ve begun to lose that.
This “sensation” is just backlash for a failure in mainstream artistry.
Jerzy Grotowski did some really cool research in his later years called “Objective Drama” concerning creating psycho-physiological impact of songs and techniques from traditional cultures on people doing and watching theatre. Basically, he was experimenting with the idea of bringing art back to its visceral roots and creating an almost religious experience from theatre.
That is our job as artists. We all love the feeling of being in a theatre (theatre or film) and being awestruck and dumbfounded by the beauty of the image in front of us, so why wouldn’t we do our level best to create that experience for others?
And it begins with solid storytelling in the written word. A dedication to create complex and lasting characters in new and intriguing situations.
These are just my opinions. What’s your perspective?
I knew that filmmaking was one of the forms I wanted to pursue when I listened to the entire soundtrack of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and understood, for the first time, that every element of film was attempting to create a visual story.
Can you name the experience you had that made you want to create your art?
About Sinjin Jones
From a very young age, Sinjin explored the creative arts through poetry, short stories, theatre and, later, film. He thrives on creating under any circumstance and looks forward to directing, writing and creating alongside his partner George and the talented folks of Perplexity Pictures.