Scripting - Directing - Editing and Product Design - Passion

I am not a movie buff. Which means I don't watch any and every movies out there - not to mention even the best one. Unless I am killing time with friends. In which case anything works.

Nevertheless, I do have passion for watching movies from directors that I admire. To me they are like a class where I get to learn or unlearn things about story telling from the masters. As a result, my movie watching procedure usually starts with the identification of a director or an actor - mostly directors.

I take lot of inspiration from storytelling art in my work and what ever I do. One of the most important thing about my admiration for directors is their unique taste and vision for storytelling. It is not just the matter of a story or characters, but the way they decide to introduce them to us. As a director, it is their job to make decision on how the story should be narrated to the audience. They bring their passion and taste to it, making it a wonderful experience. And more importantly, these directors don't compromise with their vision.

Compromising would mean making certain scenes in a way to please the audience or the stakeholders. In other words, driving your decision based on the money it is going to make. That would mean compromising in scripting, directing or editing, and ones craftsmanship.

This is where I like to draw parallels to product designing. Product designing comes with a similar process or problem identification, designing solution and implementing them. In this whole process, the project leader makes decision as to what to emphasis and what to discard. These choices are going to decide how the product is going to function. After all, product is an emphasis of things. Products are not destined to do everything. They come with their own limitations. It is the matter of the product designer to make sure that the choices based on the priorities of the use cases.

The difficulty in putting emphasis on things are similar for both directors and product designers. They are to first understand the problem in hand and make choices - take risks.

Movie watching experience sometime lets you into the minds of the director and the way they are thinking. The way they decide to tell stories and why they decided to do so. Most of us judge movies based on the story line, plot and performances. These are basic qualities, but there are more to appreciate in the movie than simple story and characters.

This brings me to Editing. A process where things are eliminated and brought together. A good edited movie is tightly connected and wastes no time of the audience. Similar to a good designed product, where it makes sure not to waste the users time.

Both requires certain focus on style, flow and storylines. The main reason I ended up writing this post is because I came across some videos which demonstrates the complexity of scenes done by great directors.

Here are few of those videos. Have fun.

The Bad Sleep Well (1960) - The Geometry of a Scene from Tony Zhou on Vimeo.

Akira Kurosawa is one of the legend in Japan whose movie has inspired directors like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and many western movies.

Satoshi Kon - Editing Space & Time from Tony Zhou on Vimeo.

Satoshi Kon's animated movies are the best with intricate story telling methods and visual treat. Though Hayao Miyazaki's stories and characters are still dear to me, Satoshi's movies has its own space. If you think Inception and Black Swan was great, let me tell you some of the schematic style of Inception match 100% to that of Satoshi's Paprika. The infamous scene of zero gravity fighting scene in Inception is one of the intro sense in paprika and many more.

Ghost of an Idea

What nags you in the middle of the night? A nightmare or an idea. While growing up, I used to be awaken by nightmares and it still does.

Few years back while I was visiting my home, I had to sleep in this old room. It is located on the ground floor and has a dark passage towards it. The switch to the lights are on the other side of the floor. My room use to be on the top floor, now there isn’t any.

I never liked the room, as growing up. It was always dark and cold. I still remember when I was a kid it use to be my parent's room. My dad would bring projector from office and show slides on the wall. Photos from his recent Europe visits and that of his friends. I particularly remember one photo of a lady in her mid 30s wearing a red dress, she had very red lips. May be it was then when it all started - the nightmares.

Soon, my dad was transferred to eastern part of the country and we all had to move along with him. The house was left empty for years and all the belongings were stored in this room. Once in a while, during our city visit we use to come to the house, clean it, have noodles at the near-by shop and spend a day. The area was located far from the city and had a very few settlings. But now, its one of the booming part of the city.

It was during one particular such visit, I remember entering the room. My grand mom usually accompanied me, while I went through the old belongings and toys. That night I had a high fever, my grand mom suspected a demon and she practised a small ritual trying to free the demon away. Since then, the event has stayed with me.

So few years back, when I had to spent a night at the room, I was a bit apprehensive. Anyways, I didn’t take it too seriously. The room also use to be occupied by my close friend and his family, when they were living with us. During those times, I had spent many nights at the room. So there I was.

That night, suddenly at the middle of it, I was awoken by a terrifying nightmare. It was one of those recurring dreams that I always have, since I was a kid. For me there is one specific dream which has a recursive pattern of black and white. After that I couldn't sleep the whole night.

It was the ghost of an idea.

Purposefulness of Idea

Yes, its been a very long time since I have posted anything. And it all boils down to the "purposefulness of idea". I have not been able to publish anything because I am not able to find its purpose, its relevance and its place. For me blogging is more about a conversation and nothing more. And I have not been able to put up with it.

This is an age of "war of words", where you hardly find any conversations. Instead, we come across opinionated arguments about right and wrong. I fail to see the significance of being right and wrong and having an opinion at all. Simply because, it doesn't matter. My opinion about this world is not going to change anything, unless I do something about it.

An idea is like a pending task waiting to be assigned to someone who is responsible enough to execute it. Hence the purposefulness of an idea is realised when someone decides to do something about it. Most of us are possessive about our ideas, a result of our false assumption that we own them.

No one owns an idea. It has a life of their own. Like a living organisms, it strives to exist and spread from one conscious being to another. A truly great idea is infectious. “Eureka!!! I have got it” is one of the expressions used when one gets infected by it.

Lets imagine a place, where all the great ideas are locked in. And you get to dive into it. What do you think will happen? Do you think you will be able to handle it? A single wonderful idea has the power to carry you to the world of ecstasy. Hundreds of them would certainly make you unconscious.

So, have I found the purposefulness of an idea? No I have not. But I have neither found the purpose of not expressing them. Noting down every single hint of great ideas into a notepad and locking them in a personal vault is an exhaustive task. But writing about it and letting it go is more satisfying. It will at least let the idea find its right destination.