I guess what with having a big website you end up getting a lot of people contacting
you. In my case it is mostly kids or teens liking something I’ve worked on in the past, or artists that want to say hello and show me their work or writers soliciting material and wanting it to be made. Quite often it is a company looking for a quote which is a slippery slope because a lot of them don’t really what to hire me they just want to know how much something costs so they can charge it themselves. They want me to send them a budget they can use. I hate that. I also get a lot of students who ask for advice in their film or in their careers.
The letter below is from a student looking for help on their film. I hope you don’t mind my posting this but if you do then please let me know and I will take your idea down although I’m not sure what he’d do with it because it’s not very original.
Anyway, rather than simply telling him “hey that’s awesome, bye now.” I thought I should try to help him if I could. I got rid of the name to ‘protect the innocent’ so to speak. Why did I post this? I dunno, maybe it will help someone else in the long run and I won’t have to type it twice! Just kidding. Anyway, check out his letter and my response below.
Re: Final major project
My name is XXXXXi, I am a multimedia student from XXXXX College, preparing for
my final major project. It includes an animation trailer of 30 seconds.
I would like to ask that you spare a couple of minutes to answer some questions on the
attached sheet that will help me with my project.
Please read through my story idea and tell me what you think.
Thank you, for your time and guidance.
Here’s my answer…
I assume that you want to improve your story and rather than just tell you that I like it and be done with it, I assume you’d like to learn something in the process and so I will tell you what I truly think.You story is so short that it’s hard to really call it a ‘story’… it’s more of a situation. A story is basically a person who wants something has trouble getting it and how they accomplish or don’t accomplish that problem. That said your idea while cute has been done a million times before so it’s not unique, it also has no character whatsoever which is the essence of a story.You create a unique character who’s eyes you see a problem through and who you watch try to work through that problem. It can be funny, it can be sad, it can be frustrating, but in order to tell a good story it has to have one of these. Your idea really doesn’t have any of those elements. A story also needs a theme. Is it fear? Is it anger? Is it Bigotry? Even funny stories have a point of view.
I would suggest that you start over and find a story that you can relate to. Write what you know. write about someone or something that yearns to find an answer to something. For instance a bird trying to fly for the first time who is afraid of heights and how he accomplishes flying for the first time (something he HAS to learn) is instantly more interesting. It creates a character who has a flaw and wants to do something which allows the audience to connect with it. Now you could do the story from a funny perspective or you could do it from a sweet perspective. Either way it has to be a way that audiences can connect to the situation and say to themselves “Boy I kn ow how that guy feels” so they empathize with the character. Empathy is a crucial element to good character. Your story would be better if you got some emotion out of people when they watch it. John Lasseter from Pixar has been quoted as saying: “For every bit of laughter there has to be a tear.” I think your story needs some of that to make it good. What you have right now is not a story.
I hope I have not hurt your feelings but when someone asks for help I figure I should give it to them instead of just saying “that’s nice” and not truly try and help.
Good luck with your project and I hope you find a use for my comments!