We’re settling into the mid-semester point, and the reality of being a student is sinking in… Actually, it totally sunk. Projects are in full swing, papers are due, and it’s already time to think about my schedule for the next semester. It’s a wild ride we’ve undertaken. It is an age of discovery, starring us. Is there a better position to be in?
These academic experiences are influenced by our own personal journeys. This is what makes the Columbia College Chicago journey a unique one. As film directors, we use these experiences to find our voices. Therefore, in developing, writing, and bringing our stories to the screen, we become the heroes of the journey we bring to life.
The goal now is not to be a storyteller, but a great storyteller. At Columbia College Chicago, we understand that story falls on the shoulders of the director. Others assist in shepherding the process, but for us, story begins and ends with the director. We are the Alpha and Omega.
The Alpha—that’s the script. So, before we start churning out pages for next weekends shoot…stop! We must understand the importance of the depth of our personal experiences in life and how it translates to writing three-dimensional characters.
The key to true characterization is transformation. The transformative arc of characters is rooted in our own transformative moments in life. Who are we? Who do we want to be? How do we get there?
We find that in character traits. Ideal traits and qualities include: trust, love, peace, confidence, generosity, and courage. We chronicle the transformation of how we got there from qualities that we fear or detest: cowardice, avarice, greed, betrayal, violence. But these negative qualities fuel the beginning of the character’s arc.
We know this already, because it comes from pivotal moments in our lives. As writers we are observers; we not only watch the wheels go round, we try to figure out the mechanism. We identify. We feel that pain. For directors, writing is often fueled by our need to understand our lives and those of others, to find our place on the big blue marble.
Sure, we can follow a formula of A + B = Screenplay, but the real challenge is to draw upon our own experiences to write “not about ME, but about WE”. So we, the heroes, summon the courage to face our darkness and work towards an ideal that gives us insight and emotional truth in our storytelling.
…story begins and ends with the director. We are the Alpha and Omega.