Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Honing Your Craft: Why You Ought to View Outside Your Medium

This is Razorfist, talking about the breakout brilliance of a Film Noir classic, Double Indemnity. Watch it.

You are not just competing against other writers in your genre. You compete against not only your peers today, but also against every other writer in every other medium of entertainment on offer- living and dead alike. That film mentioned above? It too is one of your competitors, and its script came forth from the hands of Raymond Chandler. You, my friend, have some stiff competition to deal with out there.

So you have a very compelling professional reason to not only read far and wide outside your genre of choice, but also to view far and wide outside your medium of choice. There's several orders of magnitude more competitors for the attention of the audience than your predecessors had to contend with. If you want to attract, retain, and develop an audience then you need to be able to deduce the things all of your competitors do to achieve that objective and make those tricks your own.

I'm not just talking about classic films. I'm also talking about video-makers. It is worth your while to watch videos and films with a critical eye and a mind focused on storytelling: what is shown, what isn't, what's said and not, how it's presented, etc. because you can translate the language of audio-visual media to the written word and appropriate those tricks accordingly. (Remember who wrote the script; he's famous for his novels for a damn good reason, so if he can translate written word tropes to visual ones, you can go the other way, and now it's far easier to learn and master those tropes than ever before in history.)

You want to be a player in this game? You're going to be doing a lot of critical reading and viewing as part of honing your craft. Welcome to the game. Enjoy playing.


  1. I'd say that a diet of diverse subjects is healthy for anyone with a creative bent. My profession is animation (especially film) and illustration, but I have learned a great deal from history, bioscience, math, astrophysics, sewing, photography, geology, geography, cartogaphy and a number of other fascinating disciplines. The more you learn, the more you *can* learn.

  2. A damn good reason i really love those.