Being a writer/director I sometimes wonder what my main strengths as a storyteller are. Sometimes I feel fairly confident that I understand my artistic voice and other times I don't.
As far as serious attempts at films go, I have done two comedies and one comedy/sci-fi up to this point and I think part of that is because most of my friends (my actors) have the most fun with that genre. It always leads me to wondering which genre I should be most focused on doing films in. As far as interest goes, I'm working on a short drama right now and I am currently working on scripts that would probably be classified under sci-fi, drama, and comedy.
From what I've read, it seems that I should experiment with all kinds of stories until I find my niche. Do any of you ever think about this or have any suggestions as far as books or advice on developing your own voice?
01-23-2009, 12:04 PM
To me "find your voice"/ "artistic voice" is a nonsense phrase. I'm
not putting you down, Swanpond - just my opinion. To me the
phrases are used to try to put a very difficult, unknowable, unattainable
goal into words that can be tossed back and forth by the educated
and the critics.
You don't need to find anything. You and your friends have fun
with comedy/sci-fi so as long as you're having fun there is no reason
to not tell those stories.
You are experimenting with many genres - is your thought that
someday you will find one and stick with it? That once you "find
your voice" everything else will no longer want to tell other stories?
Are you in a hurry to make a decision on which genre you should
focus on? What happens if you chose comedy now and in ten years
switch to drama?
It seems you can tell stories in all the genres you want, enjoy them
all, get good at all of them and still never find this "voice". If you
settle on one, that's great. If you end up making a living selling
a different one, that's great.
Storytelling isn't a sprint with a finish line.
01-23-2009, 12:27 PM
I agree with directorik, knowing and finding your voice isn't that important. Your voice comes from your subconscious, your gut insinct, your taste. Your voice is not your decision. I've made 5 or 6 short films now and each film is completely different than the last. Even though I am always growing and changing as a filmmaker, many people tell me they can tell one of my films just by the feel of it. While my experience, my stories, and my technique changes, my gut feeling of how to tell a story does not.
01-23-2009, 12:36 PM
just focus on what you enjoy making.... like directorik said....
if you meant that only your friends were having fun and you werent.. you need to mix it up a bit....
thats why im making a career out of film.... i love doing it....my brother is a mechanical engineer and he hates doing the same thing every day.... hates it.... in film you can change to whatever the hell you want and make whatever you want.... dont limit yourself to one genre... thats what people with normal jobs do.... were artists :)
i try not to put my films into genres... i dont try to make a comedy or drama.... i just write the ideas i have and if its funny... then its funny.... if its also dramatic... then i made a dramatic comedy....
i dont try to make it a comedy... it just turns out that way...
theres a few random thoughts to ponder over :)
01-23-2009, 01:01 PM
Thank you all for your input. I have always went with my gut and perhaps I should keep doing that.
I guess the main reason I started this discussion was because I feel comfortable and confident making any kind of movie. And some part of me wondered if I was being misguided in my efforts. I questioned if I was trying to paint too broad a stroke with my paint brush (or lens I should say).
I'm by no means saying I have the sensibility to excel in every genre, but I do enjoy coming up with ideas and trying to make all kinds of films. I'll let the critics and comments from other people decide what I'm good at and not try to judge myself so much.
And no, I didn't feel as though you were putting me down. I appreciate your opinion and enjoy reading your posts.
01-24-2009, 07:00 PM
If you're already making films, you're already putting your own nuances in the script and the film itself, aren't you?
Sure you are.
That's your voice.
Your voice can change... It can become more committed to a particular mindset or can change completely as you grow and develop as a filmmaker.
The more you DO IT, the more it's going to come out.
01-24-2009, 09:12 PM
I think Filmy more or less expressed my thoughts on this. Your voice as a storyteller is who you are. It is the way you see the world. If you write something that isn't you, it won't be good. I can guarantee it. You could be a boxer writing a story about ballet, and if it expresses who you are, it will seem sincere and could work if you execute it right.
But if you write from a lens that isn't you, your story won't be true. Nobody will buy it. Whatever you write, serious or slapstick comedy, it should tell us something about the way you see the world.