In Episode 2 of YouTube Masters — an educational series from leading creators, for creators — photography/videography duo Becki + Chris break down the storytelling aspect of filmmaking.
While ‘free will is not free’ sounds like an exhortation from Patrick McGoohan’s ‘Number Six’ character in The Prisoner TV series, it actually serves as the tagline for season 3 of HBO’s Westworld. Continuing to defy expectations and eschew easy answers, showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have taken the characters – human and otherwise – out of the wish-fulfillment theme parks of Delos Inc. and into the (apparently) real world of Earth 2058.
Whether it’s documentaries, mockumentaries, feature films, or wildly popular television shows, you can probably find it somewhere on Alex Buono’s résumé. Although he’s primarily known as a cinematographer, he’s also a successful writer, director, producer, and workshop instructor. Oh, and he’s been nominated for an Academy Award.
In film, it is not enough to be a storyteller. You have to be a storyshow-er. A storyvisualizer. You need to tell stories cinematically — which, as you might expect, is what Jennifer Van Sijll’s book, Cinematic Storytelling, is all about. Sijll explains there has been an unhealthy divide created between the technical side of filmmaking and the story side: “In teaching filmmaking, story and film are often taught separately. Screenwriters are housed in one building, production people in another. Unintentionally, a divide is created where there should be a bond. Technical tools become separated from their end, which is story.”
Shane Hurlbut, ASC is a legendary cinematographer who’s worked on such blockbusters as Into the Blue (2005), Terminator Salvation (2009), and Act of Valor (2012). After putting this much time into the business, he knows a thing or two about creativity, community, and collaboration. When we talked to Shane, he was color correcting his latest film, Need for Speed (2014), and he graciously took a break to let us hound him with our questions.