Recently I was part of an online Storytelling and Screenwriting Masterclass. We focused on making films to impact social change. Situated in current global crises, we specified need to reflect recent #ENDSARS protest in Nigeria. Therefore, rooted in #ENDSSARS as a counter metaphor to corruption and gender-based violence, the Storytelling and Screenwriting Masterclass also advocated women empowerment to stop human trafficking.
All these were founded on building accountable systems in Nigeria, perhaps globally too as global protests continue to generate crises news than social fulfilment. To that extent you could also consider racial equality, obtainable in social and political justice.
Meanwhile digital revolution in filmmaking or videography has caused various YouTube, Instagram or Tiktok video makers to entertain eager audiences, especially in privacies. Truly, on cellphones, tablets and personal computers. BUT WHAT’S THE STORY? How far does the story go in offering solution to a world chockfull with crises?
Obviously #SHORTCOM, a well popularized online format habitually on sexual escapades has endeared young ones, who need the protagonist, hero or (s)hero’s experiences to solve personal or group conflicts. Consider also the antagonist, which is the crises overwhelmed social reality or system literarily frustrating protesters’ demands.
So, each protester with his or her inner conflict, mostly based on lifelong experience or backstory, while protesting is on a certain hero or heroine’s journey to access a better life. But social reality being the antagonist stands in the way.
Shortcom videos like, #GoldDiggerPrank,’ #ALifeLessScripted,’#FunnyChef,’ #SirBalo’ or more personalized Tiktok videos more or less focus on relationship experiences, graphic or explicit sex. They may serve to offer experiences as solutions to personal or group crises. Otherwise most shortcom audiences simply want to beat boredom, get entertained on the go and move on with dear lives. But what meaningful changes do such transient entertainment with maximum durations of 10minutes, especially in the current broad pandemic impact? WHAT’S THE STORY?
Presented as an art of sharing meaning between organized audience(s) and skillful storyteller and in an impactful close encounter(s), storytelling matters a lot. It does a lot more than quick entertainment fix with a digital videomaking equipment. Really if one should consider the fact that #SHORTCOM(Short Comedy) though an entertaining distraction merely treats the symptoms of social crises.
Otherwise motivational videos like Burbank-California based Dhar Mann Studios’ may yet provoke long-term emotional involvement. Dhar Mann Studios’ incites attention with, ‘We are not just telling stories, we are changing lives with ‘Family Friendly and kid-approved,’ videos.
Clearly enough stories that are ‘family friendly and kids-approved,’ may not feel like solutions to ingrained adult conflicts. Albeit they may be treating the very essence of our survival as a created specie. Because aside from making meaning with essential WORDS, ACTIONS and IMAGES, coordinated CAUSES and EFFECTS SEQUENCES and appealing to audiences’ fancies to fill up everyday life routines, they cause social impact.
There is no doubt that children motivated by story lessons will share valuable story information to resolve individual internal conflicts (disunity) and external world conflict (journey towards unity or becoming heroes and heroines). It means essential stories don’t merely treat symptoms of social crises, but should have life changing or lifelong impacts. It also proves that apart from the filmmaker’s impressive technical facilities, telling a story that impacts stands him or her out.
Also, big budgets do not tell stories, even when they buy the most fanciful filmmaking equipment. There may make good-looking movies, because of some great production values, but a lifechanging story is the strength of any master filmmaker.
Really a camera is a tool and less interesting to any movie audience. Each audience per each genre can never ignore need for a good story presented by good acting. Of course, with the director’s onscreen storytelling inspired by good story told by a sensitive screenwriter.
Accordingly, a compelling story expressed by believable characters from the screenwriter’s excellent imagination should not just be treating symptoms of characters’ conflict.