I say unto you – dear filmmaker like me – check your storytelling.
From the down of man outr stories have carried life experience, outlooks, awe of the great unknown and it has become our culture. Stoies are nothing but hundreds of thousands of years of human psychology baked into the grand illusion that is film. It is by far – BY FAR – the most sacred thing we have. And it is a positive thing that we don’t revere it in a way that makes it stale and stiff but makes it live. Going from person to person – young and old.
But there is time for a warning. If you try to break the sacred veil of the poetry of humanity and force it into a “12 point” scheme or a strict plot point structure you are trying to make stories small and overseeable. Like an accountant want’s everything neatly organized. It doesn’t work that way.
We are in a time right now when humanity has been dragged into this massive machine that wan’ts to make us ONE. And the thing is it removes one of the most important parts of humanities storytelling tradition. It removes the provocative. The “outside the box”. In Northern Mythology we had the Skald. The storyteller that knew all of the stories and could tell them in an engaging way. The film directors of today. Or writers.
Skald is the same word as Scold. To scold someone. The Skald was a great provocateur. The Skald would provoke your world view. Meka you question the ones in power, yourself, the world. An extremely important thing in storytelling.
Hollywood is stroking you the right way. All of the time. Trying to make you join the ONE where we will all be consumers in the temple of “it basically sells itself”. And poeple who wants to joing in feed into it writing useless books on story structure. Structure that gives you that comforting feeling that you know exactly how it is going to end. You know exactly what certain characters are going to do and say. Nothing is scolding you. And you will remember none of it and it will have no lasting impact on you.
If you respect the millions of people that came before you and that made you what you are and who’s stories was based on experiences of hardship I think it is time to question how you tell stories and what stories you tell. Three act, plot points, 12 points? Do you really think there are basically three characters and five types of stories and they are all told in the same way where the bad guy gets killed in the end? You are wrong. Greek drama had at least five acts. Usually more. The archetypes are profound and deep in a way that is far more complex than any Marvel hero. Story structure is only a tiny part of the experience of storytelling. That “thing” we can’t touch – the feelings and the poetry of cinema is what will make your movie hard to forget.