Emotional Storytelling: Politics and Film

It’s been a while since the last blog post. After our ambitious crowd-funding campaign to make a spiritual warfare film didn’t succeed in getting the funding we were hoping for, I took some time to reflect and decide on what was next. Right now after a long and difficult election season with what was a surprising ending to many, it’s time for our country to reflect as well.

We’re in a unique period where our government awaits a peaceful transition of power, albeit one filled with anxiety by many. Now is a good time to reflect on how we got here, where we’re headed and what’s the best attitude to have moving forward. Regardless of who you voted for, we can trust in God and put our hope in Him and not in men. In our daily lives we can and should make decisions based on what has always been true. Integrity and character still matter. Our purpose should not change but possibly our tactics as well as our thoughts and our strategy. The Bible says we should be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

Not wanting to stay too much in politics, let me use this time to focus on something that ties in to politics as well as filmmaking. Emotions are what drive a story. People often make many of their decisions based on their emotions rather than just the facts. It’s something that should be evident from many elections but also from many other aspects of life.

It takes many things to make a great story and a great film, but first you have to win people over on emotions. Look at any good movie trailer, they all tend to hook you on emotion with soaring music and emotional or exciting snippets that leaves you wanting more. Movie trailers don’t tell you what it costs to see a movie or the genre or give you a plot synopsis. The trailer doesn’t give a summary of the characters and locations, it doesn’t even tell a story in itself, it just builds up emotions and leaves you wanting more.

Politics can wear you down with a constant drumbeat of emotions and a varying degree of subtleness of message but with storytelling it’s important to craft those emotions with an underlying truth. Once you have the audience emotionally you can progress your story and your characters and your message but you have to keep the audience hooked by not drowning them with just facts and plot and characters. You must occasionally feed the emotions that got you where you are and deliver an ending that fulfills those emotions. Too many films try to stray from this with what the director or writer thinks are clever or artistic endings and they lose the audience right at the most important part.

So when it comes to politics try to keep your wits and remember good politicians and storytellers both are trying to sell you on emotion. You’ll also notice that many political bills and laws are given names that evict emotions rather than state what they are actually about. Though I wouldn’t advocate doublespeak in real life or in movies it’s important to remember that the same rule of emotions should be applied to movie titles, characters and locations in a story. Use words that elicit emotions as well as facts.

Originally published at: http://www.christianwalkalive.org/blog/

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