Kicking off the blog with this first piece of Flash Fiction.
Elements of Film Art
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“What makes a scene emotionally powerful?” Professor Lewis asked as she flipped back on the lights in the classroom. “Is it a character who dies bleeding to death, using his last few breaths to say goodbye? Or someone having finally reached their goal, after striving for it for the entire story?”
They had all just been subjected to a montage of tear-jerkers, a bunch of first year film students who were too shy on this first day of classes to try and answer the teacher. Too uncomfortable beside the peers they had yet to get to know.
No one volunteered, so the professor gestured to the guy seated nearest her, everyone else silently relieved that they hadn’t been the one randomly chosen.
“How about you, young man? What are your thoughts?”
Fresh out of high school and sitting at an angle that made his desk look cool, he was one of those Tarantino wannabes who couldn’t wait to stage a shoot’ em up.
Refusing to break his chillax pose, the only thing he gave up was a muttered, “I don’t know,” accompanied by a subtle shrug of the shoulder that swayed his head as well, followed by a finger swipe of the nose as he took a sniff.
Was it a sniff to hold back tears, or just one of being so damn cool?
Professor Lewis turned to the girl seated beside him.
“And you, young lady?
“What is it about a screen with nothing more than a projected piece of film, or memory card, that makes an image so impactful it reaches out and tugs at our heart strings?”
“Empathy?” she replied with a light whisper. So light, in fact, that the professor had to ask again.
This time when the girl answered her voice cracked and she could no longer hold it in, bursting into tears as sorrow anguished her face.
Professor Lewis looked back to cool kid, the welled up eyes of all in attendance following her gaze.
He was now red in the face, a few tear drops falling from his eyes before he threw his head down and hid in the embrace of his arms.
The sniffles were infectious, spreading rapidly now that the curtain of inhibition had been pulled away.
“Correct, Ms. Stevens,” Professor Lewis said as she walked back to the front of the classroom. “It’s not so much what’s happening to the character herself, but rather those affected by it. The reaction shots of those hurt by the suffering of another. This is what we as an audience relate to more than anything else. This is what we as visual storytellers must keep in mind when it comes time to evoking emotion! A key component among the elements of film art.”
The Professor then stood there quiet, letting it all sink in, her students thinking about the montage, with many of them connecting the lesson to their own lives.
Class was dismissed.
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