The Editing Room

In film,

once all the footage is in,

the editor is given the task of

cutting, copying, and pasting the film together

so that it forms a powerful and cohesive whole.

There are scenes, brilliant snippets of reel,

that end up getting cut because they do not fit

the master narrative,

either they slow down the pace or otherwise

take away from the work as a whole.

Life is like that, sometimes

we must cut out even the good things

if they clutter, clog, or distract.

There are a billion different ways we could go.

LORD, give me the wisdom to know which paths to follow

and the strength to persist in the paths You have marked out

for me.

Fiction and Social Intelligence

I read a fascinating article about the link between fiction and social intelligence. In ancient literature, the narrative primarily focused on the external, on battles and bloodlines. Even emotion was expressed externally- via the ripping of clothes, the tearing out hair, etc. Over time, especially around the time of the Greeks, we begin to see a shift from that external world to the internal one. We begin to focus more on the mind, the heart, even if they had a fundamental distrust of the latter.

We see this shift affect even religion. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, we watch as holiness moves from what you do to what you feel. That is why David, in his psalms, is able to count himself faultless, because in his mind he has kept all the dictates of the law up to that point in his life. Then Christ comes in and presses on beyond the law to the heart. Now, obedience to God is not so much about murder as about hate, not so much about adultery but about lust. From that point on, our spiritual walk begins to capsulate all of us, not just what others see.

But the narrative goes deeper. With Shakespeare, we are given soliloquies and asides, painstakingly pointing out the mental-emotional state of the speaker as the character in question literally BREAKS FROM THE PRESENT ACTION to give his impassioned speech.

Skip ahead many years, as we move from theater to film. Now, the performer does not have to project his feelings out to a distant audience. No, as camera equipment continues to evolve, we are able to get closer and closer to the performer, to see his or her every nuance of facial feature and movement in hyper-clear detail. And, as the medium changes, so does the approach. Method acting was born out of shift, challenging performers to explore every aspect of the character, from backstory to emotional state. Everything is laid out on the table. Classical Shakespeare performers are taught to believe that nothing exists outside of the written scene. Method actors are taught that the prescribed scene is just the tip of the iceberg, as far as the character is concerned. And the audience is not only invited, but many times sucked vacuum-tube style into this every deepening world.

As the narrative becomes more emotionally are, so too does the reader/audience member. Because the reader, as the article most insightfully points out, is a co-creator of the story. I mean, who doesn’t feel a certain ownership of a certain text that they feel deeply connected to? Who doesn’t feel a sense of profound loss or accomplishment when the story is finished? So, as the narrative deepens, so too does the reader.

Now, I believe that it so important to read and be open to every style of literature/media, because all have something to offer, and all have their own inherent strength and weaknesses. The ancients had a wonderful sense of history and accomplishment. The moderns have a profound sense of self-awareness. The ancients lacked the verbiage to explore the totality of human emotion. The moderns can be so myopically focused on the moment, that they lose sense of the bigger picture. So, the challenge is to read, watch, experience everything, as you continue develop your own sense of taste and interest. You will never find the same book or movie twice, because you are always different. So, be different, be open, and have fun.

There is so much wonderful material out there. So, go exploring. You may be happily surprised by what you find, both about yourself and the world at large.

Easter Blessing: A Look Back at “I Owe Her One”

Today, Nancy and Patrick gave me a picture frame for my “I Owe Her One” poster, designed by Alexandra Denton. First off, thank you guys! It deserves a special place in our house. The wonderful performances by Joseph Cassidy, Dakota Denton, and Deja Hilvert, as well as music by Brad Weinholtz and direction from Zachary Aro launched Our Kind of Awesome into the deep and wonderful world of dramatic filmmaking. Just goes to show you: without the support of friends (and my amazing wife, Katie), no great adventure is possible. Thank you all. Praise Jesus, and happy Easter!

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“Oh Sheep!” on YouTube

Fresh from the 168 Film Festival, here is “Oh Sheep!”:

CREDITS:

Written & Produced by Aaron D. Ybarra

Directed by Brian Vann

D. P. & Editor… Zachary Aro

On-set Photographer & Poster Design… Natalie Kalinski

Cast

Ziek… Kerem Erdinc

Dave… Kurt Vann

Sheep… Zachary Aro

Special Thanks… Jesus Christ, Katie Ybarra, Susan Shearer & John Ware

“Project 12 Presents” on Amazon

IMG_1624-1Hello friends,

I am totally stoked to announce that Project 12 Presents, which features most of our Project 12 Film Series, plus a few extra goodies, is now available on Amazon! Major props go out to Jesus Christ, the Project 12 cast and crew, F10 Films, Independent Aro, Rev.com (our closed captioning provider), and Amazon Direct Video for making this all happen. Featuring music, dance, drama, action, and comedy, there is a little something for everyone in this short film collection.

For those with Amazon Prime, it’s absolutely FREE. You can even watch it on your smart phone by simply downloading the Amazon Video app. This is definitely not something you want to pass by, so pick up your copy today and please, please do leave a comment on the Amazon page. Every review- good, bad, and ugly- makes a WORLD of difference!

Click here to begin your adventure