What are the 2 most important elements in Filmmaking?

Since its invention the film industry, like other industries, has undergone a number of changes from how films are made to how the films are viewed.  But throughout, what has not changed is a great story that connects with the viewers.

Some people would argue great dialogue makes a great film, but there are a large number of silent films that are timeless. Others would argue that special effects makes a great film, but one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen (Lifeboat by Alfred Hitchcock) had very little, if any, special effects. Another argument could be made that actors make or break a film, but the here again a case can be made for bad movies that have great acting and great movies with bad acting. The arguments could on and on.

In my opinion, the essence of a great film is a great story and the connection it has with its audience.

So why is it that most filmmakers focus on the peripherals of filmmaking like music, or the look of the film, or location rather what has stood the test of time? I don’t know the answer, and I have been guilty of getting too focused on the details and losing sight of the story, as well.

To this end, we should (or maybe just I should) conclude that the 2 elements filmmakers should spend their time and effort on are the story and the audience.  That being said, the script is my number one priority. Targeting the right audience for the script and making sure I get that story to them will be my primary concerns. Because without a great story, no one will care to see the film I created. And without an audience, a great story may never be seen.

GOAL 1: Create and craft a great story!

GOAL 2: Find out who is the target audience for your story. Research how that target audience consumes media. Connect with that Audience.

What I’m learning and doing…

Give people I trust the opportunity to read and comment on the script. This requires me to listen openly to their input and comments. I can feel really protective of the script, so listening with an open mind isn’t as easy as it sounds. Finally, I cannot be afraid to accept or reject any comment, regardless of how strongly the point was felt by the person giving me input. The strength of the argument doesn’t make the story better.

DO re-writes

DO a public reading

DO identify the target audience

Regarding the target audience – connect with the audience in the script stage, research blogs and media outlets where they go and build relationships.

What do you think is the most important part of a movie film? Let me know what you think and feel free to share any positive or constructive ideas you may have. I’m interested in your thoughts!

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