How many people can actually tell a story well to another person?
Lets say my narrative skills are limited – I never quite manage to present fully the wonderful story in my head through narration – reading my script is ALWAYS better. But in this world of “one-lines” and people who refuse to read – “narration” is an inevitable task. One is expected to turn into a performer and conjure images and emotions before the listener/audience through simply telling a story. Some folks I know have raised this to the level of an art form and can leave the listener spellbound! What talent… but beware that their films may not always turn out to have a similar effect- oops!
I have a narration session tomorrow… 🙁 I have always dreaded narrations especially to people I dont know at all … one is left without a barometer to assess how well or worse its going.
I finally classified the listeners into 3 types –
1. the creatives – a producer/director/ actor /technician (the easiest to connect to!)
2. the financier (no need to connect here – their questions are much more about RoI – return on investment)
3. the financier who believes he is creative ( heaven help them – this category is an entirely distinct specimen. In his/her universe, the planets revolve around them.)
I will never forget one hateful narration experience when a person (of the third category) wanted to listen to a scene by scene version of my script. I agreed and the narration begins in a coffee shop one morning and goes on for a few hours.
For a script that was being shot 12 days later, juvenile questions/suggestions are thrown at me. I hold onto grace as I point out to the answers in the bound script (which he of course hasn’t read). Though I am the narrator, I listen patiently while this gentleman interrupts to order egg sandwiches with elaborate instructions (what kind of bread, brown or white, how hardboiled, how many eggs, toasted, buttered on one side only etc.), shares facts about his new-age diet, admires his own dandy black & white shoes to the point of distraction and of course answers the intermittent mobile phone calls from home and office. To further prove some sort of attention deficit disorder- after every few scenes, on his insistence, we would move seats from the coffee shop to the lounge… to the lobby (!) … to the outdoor seating (!!) and back to lobby (!!!) of the same hotel.
After the narration I went back to my room and threw up.
In retrospect, there is an important realisation there –
A Narration provides the listener with the opportunity to learn about the film and its maker, but it also provides us with an opportunity to learn about the listener. Anyone who can’t find the focus or the respect for a few hours of narration is never going to find the commitment or respect the hundreds of hours I will spend making this film. So its a clear look into the future of such a partnership. Now if it doesn’t feel right, I save myself the trouble and leave it right there. Thanks, but NO thanks.
So must remember that I too have something to learn from tomorrow’s narration… So maybe its not such a bad idea 🙂
And for everyone who is trying to describe their dream to someone – here’s a bit of luck from me! 🙂