Once upon a time ago, say the nineties, I had to go to university to become a professional filmmaker. My film equipment was a huge investment, my distribution outlet was television, a theatre or a museum. Video and the internet did not go together yet.
How quickly it has changed. Nowadays you can grab your smartphone, go to Youtube or vimeoschool and learn everything on the technical aspects of filmmaking. Once you mastered your camera and edit set, you upload your film on YouTube or Instagram. Done. If you are persistent, people will notice you.
However, one crucial step seems underexposed in teaching modern filmmaking.
The construction of narrative.
You can be the master of making hyper lapses of scenic Norway, but after 30 seconds watching beautiful seas, rivers and snow, it is boring. VICE shows a lot of interesting documentary topics. But after watching five of them, you get fed up with all the slow-motion shots trying to show depth and emotion. It becomes a repetition, not a conscience story choice and it will not work.
And that is where we are at. Most video stuff on the internet looks pretty but is forgettable and generic. Because the film lacks a story.
There are two kinds of narrative in my book.
Like learning Chinese or French you need to understand grammar. Film has a grammar. Once you mastered film grammar, you can start making beautiful sentences. A few sentences together will create a story.
To be a professional creative you need money to create your next project. You need to come up with a story that will convince others to trust you and give you money. You need a narrative to win that pitch, write that proposal or land that job.
I am a narrative expert in both areas. I have a Masters in film and television and worked as an (award-winning) filmmaker for the last 20 years. For the last 12 years, I managed to be an independent filmmaker by winning corporate pitches, writing my own proposals and presenting my film ideas to production companies. I added it all up. I collected over €500.000 in the last ten years to do my own projects. I made a living out of it.
In an era where presentation is key, I honestly think both skills are necessary to become successful as a communicator (not only as a filmmaker) and creative professional.
So I decided (as of 24-9-2018) to start writing and teaching about constructing in non-fiction.narrative