A Dreamer Walking

The Power of Wonder

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob on July 14, 2011

“Satisfaction is the end of desire”

I first heard this quote come from Steven Spielberg when he was on Inside the Actors Studio.  I think far too often filmmakers make the mistake of feeling they need to satisfy all their audiences needs; all the questions need to be answered and everything you show needs to be explained. However, I find when films give the audience all the answers there is no wonder left and when there is no wonder there is no interest….. and if you have no interest you have a empty movie theater :/

Steven Spielberg talked about the longer he could hold the audience in suspense the better. Every movie has suspense. Whether it is through the question of, “What kind of monster is going to come around the corner” or “What is this character going to choose to do”, we as filmmakers are demanding the audiences attention through the power of wonder and suspense. It is the filmmaker job to learn to use the power of wonder and suspense wisely. If we give the audience too much information they have no reason to keep watching the movie. However, if we do not give the audience enough information they will leave and not be coming back.

An important thing to understand is the audience brings their imagination with them to the movies. It is not our job to show the audience all of the world the characters live in, we just need to show them some of the world and they will create for themselves the rest. It is not our job to show the audience all the hardships and happiness our characters have gone through, hint to a little and the audience will imagine a lot. As filmmakers our job is to guide the audience. We must understand the audience can think for themselves, we just need to give them something to think about.

The best kind of movies for me are the ones where I feel every character I see has a story worth telling. Great films like the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Star Wars series give plenty of wonder for us to carry away from the movie theater and think about for days on end. One of my favorite pass times as a kid was going outside with my brother and continuing the stories of the movies we had watched. Of course we would improvise and create our own plots, but we were originally inspired by the worlds and characters we saw on TV and in the movie theater.

In every story there needs to be a curtain amount of satisfaction. As I said before, if you do not give the audience enough they will not be coming back.  However, movies should not give you stories with a beginning and an end but rather a beginning with no end. Do not ever make a movie where an audience member is looking at his watch wondering when the film is going to get done. Keep them wanting more. The story keeps on going on even if the chapter is finished. We are not supposed to tie everything up into a perfect bow for the audience but rather keep on giving them a reason to come back to the worlds we have awoken. It is through wonder that people keep on returning to the movie theater. They do not want to be entertained just for two hours. They want us to create something they can keep going back to and even show their kids someday. We as filmmakers need to inspire, so other filmmakers can create worlds and stories we can’t even imagine. Wonder is what keeps us living and wanting to explore. We must constantly remind ourselves we work in a medium of wonder where there are no limits.

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