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Making Your Story More Interesting and Believable with Your Place

What does it take to tell a great story? One of the elements that strengthen a film’s story is the place.

We’re going through a blog series on how to tell great stories. As most of you know, we’re going through the module of prestigious film school, Muse Storytelling. Through this course, we’re learning what it takes to up our storytelling game. We’ve learned so much over the past few weeks and we’re doing this series to share with you what we’ve learned.

Last we talked about people. This week will talk about the place. The place is the environment, background objects, situations and time that make up the backdrop of your subject. It’s what determines how interesting your film is along with how much it is trusted.

Creating great stories have a lot to do with leveraging places to visually create your story. That’s because places show rather than tell the story. Your place strengthens your story by laying out details that are both unexpected and related to your storyline. There are four levels of place that stories can cover as told by Muse- environment, objects, situations and time.

1. Environment

The first layer is what we call environment. This covers the geographical place in which your story happens. When telling a story through film, the environment helps give people a context of the story. When building on your story’s environment, it’s all about location. You want to provide a scenery that best fits the mood you want to build.

Setting your story in a dark and gloomy place, for instance, sets a mood of hopelessness. This is good for when you want to introduce the starting conflict of the storyline.

2. Objects

Objects have to do with the details in the background. It’s what people refer to most as props. Imagine shooting a beach scene for a summer party-themed promo for a line of drinks. You’ll want include objects like coconut trees, tanning beds, surfboards and so on. Having an empty beach wouldn’t be enough to set the vibe of a beach party. Objects help strengthen the storyline by providing small details that tell what’s going on in your story.

3. Situations

A story’s situations include the events that take place in your story, events that your characters are participating in. Situations answer the question “what’s happening in your story?” Presenting the situations that your characters find themselves in help tie together details in your storyline that make it easier to grasp.

4. Time

Time is not something many filmmakers take advantage of, but would from. It affects us human beings. We operate according to what time of the day it is. Time affects lighting, the energy levels of your characters, and certain moods and feelings that they might feel. Presenting the time of the day through elements like a clock, the sky or even ambient light set a good idea of the condition of your place during the story.

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About the Author Fisch

Director & Cinematographer, Fisch Rasy's love of storytelling inspires him to create powerful films. Sometimes dad duties spill over onto onset, where he's been known to give the kids a real hands on experience...

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