The wisdom of film makers

Again this year, as a film reviewer and local fan, I attended The Cleveland International Film Festival, one of the largest in the country featuring over 300 films in over 20 venues, from 60 countries, over 100,000 attending including over 200 film makers from around the world.

I interviewed about 15 film makers from across the globe with an inquiry about what makes good narrative and dialogue, something they are all masterful in. Here is a brief compilation of a dozen insights, applicable to any storytelling context.

  • Good stories begin with inspiration expressed as questions and declarations
  • Narratives leave people to have their own emotions
  • Film is all about creating emotions
  • In dialogue, each character gets their own voice
  • There is a slow revelation of characters in dialogue
  • Good narrative and dialogue is expositional rather than revelational, shows not tells
  • Coincidences always happen earlier than later in the story
  • Dialogue leverages indirect expressions, more suggestive than explicative 
  • All good narrative gives listeners archetypal characters to identify with
  • People relate most deeply with stories that have multiple substories 
  • The quality of listening in dialogue is as important as the quality of talking
  • In good narrative, there are noticeable changes in characters 

Overall, I was struck by how intentional these artists are when it comes to crafting independent film narratives that are simply amazing in the way they celebrate and transform the human spirit and connect people Instantly and as never before. 

Their passion and artistry when it comes to narrative speak volumes to the unique power of stories to connect, inspire and transform.