Monday, March 12, 2012

The Importance of MUSIC

Music makes up 50% of any film/TV/video production. People tend to not believe this, but it's true. Music sets the tone and atmosphere for a film.

Good music can save a bad production.
Likewise, bad music can sink even the best production. So choose wisely.

But what happens when someone uses GREAT music - but the WRONG great music in their film?

Here's what I'm talking about.

Take a few minutes and watch "ADDRESS IS APPROXIMATE" - a brilliant short film by UK filmmaker Tom Jenkins of Theory Films. I love this movie and I hope that you will, too. Enjoy.

Address Is Approximate from The Theory on Vimeo.

Okay. Here's another film that just popped up on my radar. It's called "We Stopped Dreaming" by Neil deGrasse Tyson. I believe in and agree with every point that he makes in his film. Great stuff. Have a look...

What's that? It's the same frickin' music!

(Music by the wonderfull Cinematic Orchestra ( and the track is Arrival of the Birds - please buy the fantastic album:

By "frickin'" - I'm saying that it's such a wonderful, MEMORABLE track - that you can't use it without inviting comparisons to the other, EARLIER film. And when that EARLIER film has had 2.3 million online views - it's a pretty popular film. The net effect is that the music track took me out of "We Stopped Dreaming" and sent me looking for "Address is Approximate".

So what's the lesson? Find a great music track - but make sure that it's an original music track. Not one that's been heard 2.3 million times.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Three-Act Paradigm in Action

Okay. This as we know, is a diagram of the famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) Three Act Story Paradigm.

I've taken a story that I wrote, entitled "Rule of Thumb" and indicated using subtitles where the story points appear in the episode. Don't worry. It's only about 4 minutes long.

First, the story follows the paradigm like buzzards following a hearse. The story elements are spot on, in terms of timing and placement.

Second - I wrote and produced this story, long before I'd ever heard of the Three-Act Paradigm. Interesting, huh? The Three Act Paradigm is hard wired into our consciousness.

Story structure is a natural part of the storytelling process. The paradigm is most useful when trying to analyse whats gone wrong with your story. In my experience, if the story isn't working well - it's because I've deviated from the Three Act Paradigm Structure.