Until last week, when I was privileged to attend respected filmmaker Chris Ihidero‘s LFA Masterclass, I had little idea how story writing for movie scripts worked, as well as all the technicalities. I’m still trying to forgive myself for thinking that all there needs to be done to make a good movie is to get the most talented actors to interpret scripts and go home while the production team chop, edit and polish the final piece. My naive head didn’t know that a well written story with all the elements is the sole determinant of how great a movie turns out… Whew! How wrong was I!
On Wednesday, my colleagues and I joined the LFA Masterclass, a week-long training for aspiring or active story tellers (whether for movie, TV soaps, clients e.t.c), courtesy of ID AFrica, and that was when I was hit by the reality of story telling through Mr Chris’ brilliance at teaching.
The facilitator, in a manner that illuminated his experience as an astute student of Nollywood great Amaka Igwe, guided the trainees through the art and business of film making in Nigeria – without breaking a sweat. During the course of the training, we were shown episodes of Checkmate (a TV soap by Mrs Igwe), MTV Shuga 6 (produced by Mr Chris), a Coca-Cola commercial for Schweppes, as well as family sitcom, Friends.
Mr Chris would go on to say something that has now stuck with me and forever changed my orientation about films and it is that the story teller holds the biggest power on how well or bad a movie would eventually turn out. In a simple term, a bad story means that the movie has failed on arrival.
He took us through the basics of story telling and script writing, with the Premise being the foundation. While there is so much I can share from all I learnt at the training, I’ll be kind enough to share what the Premise entails:
* Is your story idea life changing?
* Have you spent enough time on the story idea?
* Does the story contain obstacles?
* Does the story have room for conflict?
* Does it present a possibility for change?
* Does the story present a moral choice?
* Is there an audience for it?
These are the main factors to look out for when you’re writing that groundbreaking story for your book, film, or an ad for a client… Thank me now, plis.
Other important factors to determine a good story include the Story Structure (which is broken down into 7 steps) and Character analysis.
Mr Chris also invited his friends in the industry who are professionals in script writing, directing and production to be a part of the LFA Masterclass. These lady and gentlemen were gracious enough to share their experiences with us, as well as the business side of the TV/film industry. They sure didn’t hold back.
The highly effective training ended with a cocktail party on Saturday, where there was enough to eat and drink.
With all that I learnt at the LFA Masterclass, it is important to say that the first two movies I saw immediately after the training (Skin In The Game and The Public) didn’t feel the same, as I had on my informed goggles to see through the BS in the story telling. Thanks, Mr Chris!