Working with Video – Ben Holland

There is a very real limitation for composing a story for video. It’s certainly not a bad limitation—I feel that limitations in storytelling spark creativity, so I was grateful for it. In other words, each medium you decide to write for has different challenges. For example, writing a Twitter story limits you logistically to 140 characters. Writing a story for an image piece limits you in that you have to display abstract ideas and stories on a single image or sequence of images. The limitations for a video are very large; we don’t have a studio of CGI programmers on staff, so generally, you have to write only the stories that you actually have the skills and resources to create. There is much more I wish I could have done on the editing side, but I just didn’t have the skills or the time to make it happen. Additionally, I couldn’t bring to pass a fictional story entirely, because I don’t have the skills, equipment, or editing time to make it happen. The inherent limitations of the video project really stretched my storytelling abilities and helped me become a better storyteller.

I learned a lot about the importance of story in working with video. You can have a very complex story, and still create a very simple video. Conversely, you can have a very simple video and have a very complex video (think Transformers and most other action movies). I’ve learned that simple is best, even though it’s not always easy to do. My understanding of video storytelling and how it applies to actually creating videos has totally changed because of that.

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