Friday, October 10, 2014

My Rode Reel: A Competition of Shorts

    Making a film for a festival is intimidating. For me, I didn't know where to start. And unfortunately, this meant that I ended up trapping myself into a corner. What I did was go backwards. I started with the question: what would a film festival want? And while it's not a bad thing to ask yourself, it shouldn't be the reason you decide to write anything. Because then your writing isn't yours, it's what you think other people want it to be.
    And then there was the issue of "ten minutes." Ten minutes was the hypothetical limit. To me, that was not nearly enough time to express a whole story. But I suppose that's why it makes the perfect challenge. Ten minutes. Ten minutes to tell an entire story. To the unexperienced, that seems impossible. To the foolish, that seems too easy. But to the truly skilled, that was just enough.
   My Rode Reel was a competition set up in partnership with the Rode microphone company. The rules dictated a short film, that had to use one of their branded mics, and a behind the scenes video. They had nine winners, all who received an insanely decked out cinema package. The categories stood as: Judges' choice, People's choice, Behind the Scenes, Cinematography, Soundtrack, Documentary,  Sound Design, Non-English, and Location. The film above is the Judge's pick.
   But the reason I point any of this out is because of the content that came out from this challenge. Hundreds of entries popped up from all around the world: all of which told a story in under ten minutes. Just when you thought you saw something you were positive would win, another video pushed its way to the front.
    And that why you should check out these films from the website. Because these are people who can tell a story. It doesn't take a lot to add things, but it takes a lot to know what needs to scrapped. The above movie, The Tale of Benjamin Sawyer is a perfect example of this practice. While it's not perfect, and relies heavily on exposition to get its story through the backstory (something arguably needed), it shows that even five minutes can begin and end and entire story. The behind the scenes themselves show just the process that its director, Ronnie Bingaman, had to go through to do this. And his is not the only film that should be looked at. All of the winner's have a remarkable twist on storytelling that begs to ask the question: if they can do it, can you? And hopefully that answer is yes.
   Te minutes used to seem like too little. But regardless of whether our stories go beyond or below, it's a limit that shouldn't be looked at lightly. Ten minutes is more than enough to tell a story. If anything, it's an art.

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