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Mediums of Storytelling: Movies

I have written a blog in the past about how I feel it is absurd for people to be surprised by the fact that movie adaptions of books are almost always different.  In that post I covered both television and movie adaptions, but here I would like to focus solely on movies.  Films may not have the length or depth of books, but they are viable means to tell a story, especially if there are time constraints.

Movies have a problem of time, something novels general don’t have to worry about.  Films typically do not exceed three hours because many people do not have time to sit through something that long or have that extensive of an attention span.  Books take time to consume, movies do not, and for authors sometimes we need quick bursts of inspiration.  Films fulfill this role.  Aside from the shorter length, the visual stimulation that comes from movies is unparalleled.  Reading is essential to being an author, but sometimes being well-versed in movies is as well.

With the advancement of technology, the cinematic experience has evolved and has enhanced movies beyond their campy, stilly status decades prior.  With these enhancements compiled with a different vision, directors almost universally decide to change their version of a story that originally was a novel.  Those who read the books typically get upset over the differences, and these changes can affect the movie’s critical reviews.  It blows me away that people still get upset over the fact that movies and books are usually different.  This has been the case for decades.  Why are people still surprised by this?  Just because there are differences doesn’t mean the movie is bad, sometimes the changes are good.  Movies and books are two completely different forms of art, and by extension of that reality inevitably tell stories differently.  Both are still equally legitimate.

In the writing community, books are praised, and movies are either forgotten as sources of inspiration or looked down upon.  I feel this might be partially because of the differences between movie and film adaptations of the same stories and the stigma that goes along with it.  It is possible to appreciate all forms of storytelling, including the old and modern.

Mediums of Storytelling- Videogames

The next couple blog posts will be on my experiences and thoughts with varying forms of storytelling and their influence on writing.  Reading is heavily influential on writing, after all writing begets writing.  Writing stories is not just about novels.  Television, movies, and videogames all involve this process.

I’ve been playing videogames since I was six years old.  It didn’t take long to learn about the stigma around the hobby.  Those who play videogames are often thought of as lonely childish men living in their parents’ basement.  Adults who haven’t played games before tend to think they are for children only, despite a good portion of them rated mature.

As a medium, videogames have evolved considerably since the 80s and 90s when they started to gain popularity.  Back in the day, story was secondary to gameplay, if it was even existent at all, outside of RPGs.  Now, compelling and inspiring stories are told through videogames, and subsequently are fuel for writing stories of my own.  Even when the story isn’t explicit through cut scenes or a plethora of text to read, certain series do it masterfully through the gameplay itself.  Castlevania, Metroid, and The Legend of Zelda games are just a few examples.

Sure, videogames are abused by some folks.  I had a roommate in college that would play World of Warcraft for 48 hours at a time sometimes.  He would rarely go to class and practically lived in front of his computer screen playing games.  Spending hours a day neglecting responsibility has been associated with videogames, along with provoking violence.  However, that is by far the minority.  Anything can be abused.  Television certainly is and has been since its invention.  I would even submit even reading for hours and hours on end isn’t healthy either.  Why?  We may be working our minds while reading but we are still sedentary.

Videogames are a way to gain visual inspiration just as television shows with deep stories.  Authors who are gamers shouldn’t be ashamed of, in fact we should embrace it as a means to dive into a world rich with inspiration.