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Don't just make a video. Tell a story.

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Re: Don't just make a video. Tell a story.

Postby Steve Grisetti » Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:42 am

Great story, Max!

My friends' daughter is getting married this summer so, naturally, I offered to videotape the wedding. They told me that they appreciated the offer, but the church as a permanent camera installed in the balcony and they tape the ceremony for free.

I was thrilled to hear that! To me the ceremony is the least interesting part of the wedding! This would free me up to shoot all the good stuff!
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Re: Don't just make a video. Tell a story.

Postby Chuck Engels » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:15 am

**RANT ON**
I can't imagine how much they will miss with a camera shooting from the balcony ](*,)
Have they seen any samples of the previous weddings from camera?
Even the though of using only one stationary camera from the balcony makes me sad for them.
Now if you combine that camera with another for closeups, now that would be something.
The ceremony is the most important thing to the Bride, and it is all about her. I can't imagine not having closeups during the ceremony. The first time the Groom sees the Bride as she comes down the aisle, the "I Do", all of that needs to be captured not from a balcony camera, I'm sorry .....
**RANT OFF**
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Re: Don't just make a video. Tell a story.

Postby Steve Grisetti » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:14 pm

I definitely respect your rant, Chuck! And, needless to say, I'm right there with you.

But I can respect a church's policy against photographers being on the altar or stepping in front of the congregation to get a good shot.

Although we at Muvipix know the reality of any situation: The experience lasts but a moment -- but the video lasts forever (in addition to recording lots of things that most people didn't catch the first time).
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Re: Don't just make a video. Tell a story.

Postby Matthew Max » Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:04 pm

I heard about a friend's coworker who keeps a bunch of frogs and toads. I said, "Ask her if I can do some lessons on those." I went to her house and was stunned by the boring nature of her frog collection. I didn't see any toads. And the house was too dark. But she gladly carried the large glass box outside, and I videotaped those critters and interviewed her under a perfectly blue sky. The ability of my little Sony to get right up to the frogs and inside their cage was too good to believe. Imagine what I would've had with a stationary camera on a fixed tripod about fifteen feet away. I got the funniest footage, and so educational, along with the woman and her second-grade daughter who explained how these frogs can pee backwards about ten feet. So much fun and funny stuff.

Then she brought the toads. Two toads. Just two toads. But it worked. The first thing I noticed as I brought the camera right to 'em was that the girl toad, which was about five times the size of the boy toad, was sitting on him and squashing him. Didn't bother him a bit.

At feeding time, I filmed the frogs and toads catching crickets with their tongues. I slowed some of the footage down in the editor and made super-freaky segments out of it. It was a freaky blast. The woman explained how the frogs and toads get pretty thirsty after eating the crickets, and so I filmed them climbing into bowls of water, where they drank through their skin.

All this to say that you gotta move with the story if you want it. That three-part series was named Jumpers, and it has a lot of very cool scenes that are great for learning language and about critters.

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Re: Don't just make a video. Tell a story.

Postby Steve Grisetti » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:39 pm

Amen!
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Re: Don't just make a video. Tell a story.

Postby sidd finch » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:00 pm

One of the tricky things I have found out about weddings is that depending on the Faith Tradition the video is almost an unwelcome visitor. There are so many out there that do not respect what is going on and look at it as a personal “on location shot” that they really interfere with the spiritual aspect of the proceedings. And usually that is paramount in the mind of the officiator of the wedding. Imagine how we would fell when we are trying to record something important and during the recording a third party interfered with the recording so much that the shoot was un-usable. Just a Faith based perspective.

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Re: Don't just make a video. Tell a story.

Postby Matthew Max » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:40 am

Sidd said,
Just a Faith based perspective.


I keep finding that faith is at least a part of so many stories. I can't tell the story if I worry about political correctness, which can be pretty doggone stupid and decontextualized. I let people talk in the interviews. Why not? Let 'em talk, or all you have is sanitized fiction.

Sometimes people say things in the lessons I make that others might consider delicate or unpatriotic. I deeply believe that kids and the supervising adults who subscribe to the lessons I make are better off hearing what people actually think. After all, I'm not producing cynical or mean instruction. But in this video world, people don't have the same access to you that they would if you were in the classroom in person, to cross-examine you. So I often add little comments in my narration to balance or focus whatever else I say or what is said in an interview. I know some people cannot handle that. I'm not interested in trying to please them anymore. The people who understand what you're doing are the ones who are going to try to see the story instead of second-guessing and feeling offended. Video is for telling the story. People who are afraid of the world are not even in my world.
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Re: Don't just make a video. Tell a story.

Postby _Paz_ » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:08 pm

Frogs and Toads sounds as if it turned out to be a charmer!

Steve,

Thanks for your grandparent's story and your lessons on how to tell one. I can't imagine anything you could have done that would have pleased them more. I hope they enjoy watching it over and again.

Have you ever seen the film, "Golden Door"? It's a quirky but powerful tale of the immigration of an Italian family to America.

Scriptwriting books often teach "show, don't tell". A quick example:

Ann: "Jane, I know you sneaked into my room, looked under the bed, went through my dresser drawers, and found my secret diary in my jewelry box. Why?"

vs:

We see a video camera tucked in between some books on a shelf.
We see a door open. A teenage girl looks around cautiously, then comes in.
We see the video camera again. A little red light comes on.
The girl looks under the bed. She pulls open a couple of dresser drawers.
She stops, dead still, as if she has heard something. Silence.
She cautiously opens a jewelry box. A plastic ballerina pops up and music begins to play.
The girl quickly pushes it down to stop the music, then finds what she's looking for. A diary.

next scene.

Two girls are in a room. One is the girl who searched for the diary. The other girl holds out the diary and says:

"Why?"
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Re: Don't just make a video. Tell a story.

Postby Steve Grisetti » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:31 am

I'll look for "Golden Door", Paz. It sounds very interesting!

In the category of showing and not telling, this video is being passed all over the internet -- but on the rare chance you haven't see it, be sure to check it ou.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTLySbGoMX0[/youtube]

This cartoon, by the way, uses a unique combination of traditional animation and CGI, so it's got a look like you've never seen before.

It's nominated for an Oscar, so no doubt Disney is hoping to stir up some interest be releasing it to YouTube.
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Re: Don't just make a video. Tell a story.

Postby _Paz_ » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:18 pm

I hope you do find Golden Door, Steve. It's so weird I almost hate to recommend it but in the year or so since I saw it I've found myself thinking about it many times. Getting from the old country to America wasn't easy!

Thanks for the link to Paperman! I had not seen it before. I watched it twice. Once to see it and then again to really see it. ;)

I suddenly find myself noticing dissolves, camera angles, going in and out of focus from face to face during a conversation on screen and more. It's fun.

One thing I especially noticed in Paperman, where the Kiss plane begins to pick itself up from the alley, the physical movement is tied directly to the music. I have some video ideas floating around in my mind and I keep playing the music I plan to use over and over. I know it's going to be a challenge to make a series of video segments and tie them to the rise and fall of the music, but obviously it can be done. I'm guessing I can either stretch or compress the video to suit the music, but I haven't gotten far enough along to figure out how.
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Re: Don't just make a video. Tell a story.

Postby BuddyB » Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:06 pm

Don't just make a video, TELL A STORY! Your encouragement itself is telling a story, and I've become so enthralled I'd love to see your family video. Is it available for viewing?
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Re: Don't just make a video. Tell a story.

Postby Steve Grisetti » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:01 pm

Well, most of it's pretty personal, so it won't make sense to most of the world.

But here is the opening to one of my annual family yearbooks.
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Re: Don't just make a video. Tell a story.

Postby BuddyB » Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:56 pm

That was very nice, well written and put together. Though I don't know anyone in the film it struck me very warmly, and a few key words told me a great deal about you as a person. You're a winner in more ways than the obvious.
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Re: Telling stories: Show vs. Tell

Postby bryanedmondson » Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:12 pm

I think what you did with your parents' wedding anniversary is fantastic. I love the Black and White early wedding photo-wow! what a beautiful couple. They look like movie stars. That said an unspoken story in itself. And as a side note, I think you favor your dad. His image was an icon of a romantic Italian in that era.


This whole commentary was great Steve. As a writer this article was particularly interesting to me because it did not occur to me to make a story with my videos! Imagine that irony. That gave me a good wake up call. I think that before I shoot anything in the future, I will write out a rough story plan and then story board some possible scenes to capture. I could represent scenes and ideas with index cards, shuffling them around. Then I could go out an shoot more prepared.
I have been running around with a video camera like a drunken deer hunter with a loaded gun--I have just been shooting at things that I hear move in the brush. People can get hurt that way,, or at least the video suffers.
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Re: Don't just make a video. Tell a story.

Postby Steve Grisetti » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:53 am

I drive people crazy because I rarely go any place without my cam! On a trip or vacation, I'm constantly shooting video.

It annoys the heck out of everybody. Until they see the final, edited piece! Then they're grateful someone captured so many precious moments.
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