Friday, December 9, 2011

Grinding It Out

I've had a video on my Vimeo account that's been on my 'Watch Later' list for months. It was something called 'Ira Glass On Storytelling'. And I assumed it would be a 10-15 minute little talk about his experiences. Well, today I finally sat down and watched it, and it turns out it's this short, sweet, little piece of kinetic typography based off of a talk he gave sort of as a dinner bell for all creatives out there.

It's wonderfully short and inspirational and really rings true to anyone interested in any form of storytelling.

I used to get so frustrated that I couldn't just sit down and write out a story. I'd have a certain style, emotion or situation that I'd want to play out and think would be cool to play around with in a film, but as soon as I'd open up a word document, I'd suddenly get a blank mind. I'd spend ten minutes making the title page look just perfect with the perfect spacing from top of the page to title, and adjusting the 'by line' so it looked just perfect. Then I'd plop down the 'Fade In.'

I just couldn't write anything. I wanted to, I knew the style I was going for. I just didn't have the discipline or knowledge of where to even start.

Only until maybe a couple years ago, did I crawl out of that funk and just began to write little stories. Stories I thought would be good to turn into scripts later. The formatting, the character's names, the order of events didn't have to be decided now. What was most important was getting the nice little seed of an idea from my mind down on paper.

Really the only challenge then was learning to capture the essence of why I liked the idea in the first place. Writing vaguely enough to still inspire me upon later readings, but specific enough to steer my memory back to the moment where my brain sent a jolt through my body and said 'Hey, write this one down. This is good.'

The whole idea of The List has been a major motivator for me. One in that I'm forcing myself to write out all of my inspirations and musings in one place and two, it allows me to exercise the whole discipline of capturing the essence of an idea in a shorthanded way. It's helped me organize my small little situations, styles and emotions that I once wanted to plug into a script, into something tangible and organized for me to work from when I begin writing.

My writing has become more frequent ever since I began The List, and it's serving its purpose to act as sort of a self-manufactured Rosetta Stone for the style that I like.

This week I began writing another little short story that I've been noodling for over a year now. After diving back into research and reading the biographies for my thesis, and my recent re-organization of The List, it has all helped re-focus my attention back onto the writing side of things.

Ira's text is an all-inclusive act of encouragement, for individuals both starting out, and season veterans of frustration. I think I fall somewhere inbetween. I'm not out of the woods yet, but I'm far strides from just starting out on this venture.

'Build up your volume of work', he says. It's a rewording of something we've all heard for years, 'The more you write, the better you'll get'. And it's certainly true. But the way it's framed, and the voice that the message is coming from makes those particular words extra encouraging. A sort of tangible encouragement, a relief of 'I know I can do this'.

Anyway, I wanted to share the little video with you Cine'ers if you haven't seen it. It's really important you watch it actually, if you're frustrated and stuck in the mud with your wordsmithing, that is. Just keep grinding it out.

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