Silent Storytelling

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Storytelling in the media of video isn’t something I do, and obviously the techniques are very different, but we can still learn from it. One of the lessons that I find particularly interesting and useful is minimalism. Writers can’t tell stories without any words – that kind of defeats our purpose – but less can still be more on the page. It’s said Ernest Hemingway was bet he couldn’t write a complete story in 6 words. He is thought to have considered the result some of his finest work.

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

I personally love the understated and minimalist approach, particularly as a contrast to our increasingly loud/bright/busy culture. Make people use their minds when they’re reading – make them work for the meaning, and they will be far more involved in it. Leave emotional or intellectual rewards buried for those readers who are prepared to spend time thinking about your work.

Here’s a couple of short films which are almost without dialogue, and incredibly powerful. See what you can learn from them.

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One response »

  1. Wow, Cargo was bleakly brilliant. I loved the way that it used non-verbal communication and significant actions to convey meaning, for example the balloon and the bag of guts whose real significance only becomes clear in the second half. I was also impressed with the way that they chose a setting and characters where not talking made sense, and where that silence added to the atmosphere.

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