As I move forwards with this venture, I have been giving substantial thought to the importance of story. Something has to happen, there must be some tension or suspense, and ultimately some resolution. But what happens if you get the incomplete story? A couple of things have occurred this week that have made me think more about this…
First, last week when volunteering at the Rainbow Visions Film Festival, in between tending the box office, I was able to go into the theatre to watch the film screening. The film was The First Girl I Loved. The film was quite slow to get going and to start off with I wasn’t really very into it. It tells the story of a teenage love triangle in which the main character Anne falls for a girl Sasha much to the displeasure of her best friend Clifton. The repeating issue through the film is around consent; Clifton forces himself upon Anne when she is trying to explain her crush on Sasha (a girl). Anne and Clifton have sex and later we see Clifton’s guilt as he is unsure whether Anne consented to the act. Anne and Sasha form a close friendship culminating in their visit to a bar where they make out. Sasha seems to enjoy the kiss but later rejects Anne. Anne, who is working as part of the team producing the year book at school, feels confused and upset by the rejection and secretly swaps a picture in the year book of her and Sasha kissing. After the year book is printed, a parent teacher meeting is called at school with the three main characters. Clifton, feeling guilty about his unwanted encounter with Anne, takes the blame for the year book photo. He tries to defend Anne saying that it was well known the Anne and Sasha were a couple, but Sasha denies it saying she had not consented to Anne kissing her or the photo. The discussion becomes heated amongst the teacher, parents and students then, then…
just as the story reached it’s dramatic climax, and presumably resolution, I had to leave the theatre to (wo)man the box office for the next film that evening. Arrghh!! After the film finished, the President and Treasurer of the Festival came to keep me company at the Box Office. They tried to explain to me how the story had ended but it didn’t really make sense and it really wasn’t the same as watching it. My experience felt incomplete, there was no resolution, and I was left hanging. Tying up all the loose ends in a film so the audience feels satisfied is important.
So, the end is important, but what about other gaps in the story?
In our study group session today, my internet connection was poor and kept dropping off from the google hangout. I seemed to keep missing critical points of the discussion both with my peers and module leader. It was frustrating and even when my colleagues filled me in with quick chat messages, it really did not feel that I was having the same experience as them and felt a bit discombobulated. Later walking through the rain to meet my family, I thought (other than having good bandwidth) what lesson I could take from this? It dawned on me that quite often when you heavily involved in a project you forget what others don’t know or make assumptions about someone’s understanding. I have been guilty of this in my past life as a research manager where you may use jargonistic language specific to a project and utterly perplexing to those outside of that project. That one critical piece of information, an acronym, could make all the difference to someone following, or not following the discussion. The same is true in storytelling. Whilst you might not want to spoon feed information to the audience, ensuring key points are contained within the story will be critical for both understanding of, and satisfaction with, the film.
Well that, ensuring you have good bandwidth obviously!
Sanga, K (Director). (2016). The First Girl I love [motion picture], USA