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Guest Thinkers

Visual Metaphors

I have been fully remiss in putting up my notes from Carson System’s Future of Web Applications… I am working on it. The reason I’ve taken so long is due to my busy schedule. I have a new job (more on this later) and I’m working on an expirimental film.

The film is a very cool concept, a visual metaphor for a tough, everyday human issue. It has really expanded my view on how to deliver messages and allows me to try new ways to do what I feel film should do… to question the way people see reality and try to give the viewers a new way to see things. I like films that challenge the status quo and make me think, therefore I’m exploring those types of films.

In exploring that I have found some pretty interesting problems. I have been running drafts of my script past some scriptwriters from my school and have found two major objections. The first is that some people don’t get it, it’s hard to see a visual metaphor on paper, but this still concerns me to some degree. I’m trying to figure out how to balance subtlety with universal understanding. What percentage of the audience has to “get it” for me to consider the film a success? A seemless balance where those who don’t get it still walk away entertained would be perfect (think of the simpsons, and the use of obscure references in that show), but I don’t think I’m going to get that when dealing with this subject matter (I am using a pretty vile metaphor for the real issue and when the scene involves kidnapping, torture, and ultimately murder, a viewer with a literal interpretation is probably not going to leave feeling all that good. I don’t want to be so obvious as to lose the surprise (and therefore lose the ability to really challenge someones established thought process) but I don’t want to be so subtle that only I get it. What’s the happy medium here? I’ve settled on 50-70% — as long as 5-7/10 people get the concept I’ll label it a successfully told story. The other issue is how to challenge the audience, if you are trying to attach a message or a thought to the film it’s hard to attract the people who disagree. How do you get them to give your argument a chance? I hypothosize that it’s best to avoid letting them know what the argument truly is for as long as possible. So I’m using a metaphor to try and then draw the correlation at the end and have people realize what the topic is after they have already heard the “pitch” so to speak.

This is all a guesstimation on my part and I suppose I’ll have to gauge audience reaction to this film and see what I need to refine. Anyway working title is Mental Animals, look for it in about 5 weeks. There will be at least one showing in the city and hopefully a few more – I hope some of you will be able to make it.


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