Wednesday, April 29, 2009

LOST and the art of visual story telling.

The great thing about really well done movies and televisions shows is that they can exist and be enjoyed on many different levels. The casual viewer can take everything as it is played out and leave it at that. While other viewers can choose a more active participation in the experience and look for symbolism and deeper connections in the story. For a while television has taken a back seat to the art of filmmaking. Over that last 10 years that has started to change as more filmmakers are getting involved in quality televisions shows. I believe LOST is on the top of the list of television shows that is truly trying to create an artful experience given the limits of network television.

Good movies and good television have one thing in common, they are telling a good story. The cool thing about this medium is that they have a few other tools to tell the story. Authors obviously have words to tell their story in a book. Filmmakers have words but they also have visuals,sound/music, pacing or editing and acting. Being a visual person I've always been highly aware of the impact visuals has on story telling. There is so much information that can be told in a simple composition or camera movement. This use of visual communication is essential to quality filmmaking. Imagine if the characters just stood there and recited the entire movie or television show. If all the information of the story was just spoken. It would be really boring. How many dramas have you seen where in the last 5 minutes one character, usually a bad guy, talks for 5 minutes revealing a bunch of information to tie up the story. This is lazy filmmaking and I believe most people are let down by this. The really cool thing about great cinematography is that most of what you are seeing is working on an unconscious level. The filmmakers are making you feel a certain way by the way they photograph a scene. All of this is very purposeful and highly thought out. LOST is no exception to this. The writers and filmmakers of LOST are some of the most talented working in television today.

Enter Nate Orloff, he is an editor working in hollywood. Nate is also an obsessed LOST fan. Nate has started writing some incredibly thoughtful cinematic reviews of recent episodes. He is breaking the shows down visually and explaining what the filmmakers were trying to do in each scene. I highly recommend taking the time to read this post of his. I've copied the first page to get you hooked. He is only posting on Doc Artz's site currently and because of the thoroughness of his breakdowns, he only has 3 up so far. I think most of you will really enjoy this while learning a lot about cinematography and hopefully enrich future episodes.



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