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Storytelling / Mind Blown

This post isn't so much about art as it is about story telling. Which in the grand scheme of things is why I make art anyway (but that's the topic of another blog entry for another day).

At any rate I was listening to Chris Oatley's pod cast again and he was interviewing Brian McDonald, who is a screen writer. (Brain McDonald IMDB, Brian McDonald's blog) The entire episode was full of great advice for screen writers and writing in general, like the difference between "plot driven" stories and "character driven" stories. Why some people feel that one type of story is superior to the other type, and why Brian feels that the best is when you can seamlessly blend plot and character, so that the characters drive the plot and the plot reveals the character of the characters.

But the reason why I am writing this post is that he said something that really blew my mind. He was talking about why Terminator 2 is such a great movie. How you really don't need to have ever seen the first Terminator, everything you need to know is contained in the plot of T2 without it being feeling too heavy on exposition. I was nodding my head in agreement thinking to myself "Yeah! Yep! That's right, T2 really is a good movie isn't it?" Then he said something that made me see the true genius of T2 something that I have never even considered before.

In the first Terminator Sarah Connor is an innocent on the run from a merciless killing machine that absolutely will not stop, in it's mission to kill her for something that she hasn't done yet (give birth to John Connor, the future leader of the resistance and savior of all of Humanity). And during the interim between Terminator and T2 Sarah Connor becomes the very thing that she hates. She forges herself into a warrior who is uncompromising in her mission. she even goes so far as to try to kill Miles Dyson for a crime that he has not committed yet (building Skynet). And it's in her decision not to kill Dyson where she regains her humanity.

It's such beautiful symmetry, and so effortlessly hidden inside of a very exciting movie. I had never even seen it before. Or thought to look for it. My mind was blow! I mean T2 had a lot of things going for it... On of the largest special effects budgets to date, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and killer robots. But now I suspect that the movie probably would have worked just as well without any of that because at its heart was a really good story.

I love making beautiful images. I strive for it. But I really feel that all of my best work is always based around a story. I have vivid memories of how as a child I would spend entire afternoons staring into the pages of my favorite books just looking at the pictures. sure the pictures were there to service the story, but my favorites were always the pictures that told me a larger story than what was written on the page. That's what I really want to accomplish with my art. To tell a story. to write an invitation to a larger more fantastical world.

I have a feeling that if I go on too much longer on this topic I will start to ramble and will ultimately loose the thread of thought that I started with. Just that when I look at other people's art I am often in awe of their raw, seemingly effortless talent, and I see things that I want to emulate. Not being as much of a writer as I am an artist I don't have that experience as often when I see good writing. So it was very enlightening to have the curtain pulled back and to have the mechanics of such a solid story explained to me.

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