Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Production Boost - Narrating Your Film

In the DIY world, filmmakers are known to be a resourceful bunch. Due to the lack of budget funds for production, we are often left to find creative solutions to boost the production value of our films. Along with the more common elements that DIYers turn to for quick and dirty cinematic worth such as color correction, aspect ratio, graphics and animation, etc., you might want to look towards a more analog/old school method that works every time: Narration.

He Said/She Said
With a bit of third of first-person narration in your film you instantly add a personable connection to your audience, bringing them right into the life or lives of the character(s) within your story - sure to strike an intimate chord with viewers.

More Writing? Ugh!
For writers, it can give a bit more depth to a story and stretch your writing skills a bit beyond what the characters have to say. It can also make the ties that bind your story even stronger for a more complete wrap-up in the final act. For the non-writers, it doesn't have to be profound at all. In fact, realistically, it doesn't have to make too much sense. Here's a quick and dirty way to do just that in just 3 steps...

  1. identify the overall theme/moral to your story (ie. Star Wars = good always prevails over evil)
  2. write 3 short paragraphs about it (2 to 3 liners)
  3. space the paragraphs apart to fit the timing and pacing of your movie, place it over some b-roll and you're good to go!
The beauty of it all is that you can conform your own verison/style to fit your storyline. Once done, viola! You've just added a more personal touch along with more depth to your production that didn't require more money, extra actors, more craft services or PVC pipes! Congratulations.

Check out the following TV shows and movies for examples:

Pushing Daisies, Scrubs, Grey's Anatomy, The Wonder Years, Magnum P.I., El Mariachi, Fight Club, American Beauty (warning: ending spoiler and blood), American Psycho, Bridgette Jones's Diary, Snatch (forward to 04:26 into the clip. warning: ending spoiler/mature language), Million Dollar Baby, etc.