Is Storytelling Getting Worse? by Markus Redmond

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Film Courage:  Markus, are you leaning more toward television….in your writing?

Markus Redmond:  No….no…I’ve written a lot of television.  I love television!  I watch more television than I watch films.

Film Courage: Do you?  O.k…

Markus Redmond:   I do. I love television.  I love Doctor Who…..ahhh…so good!  But no, I focus on feature film.  I think that is where my best work lives, is in feature film.  And it’s also the best way I can express myself creatively and so what I look for is a ways and means to find funding/financing for these small little films.  I’ve been fortunate enough to do them for incredibly small budgets because I don’t really have a lot of characters in my films because they are just really simple stories about people and their relationships.  It shouldn’t cost 20 million dollars to tell a story about 4 people who are trying to figure out life and that’s the kind of stuff I dig.

Film Courage:  So when you’re writing and you’re trying to keep the idea of keeping costs down, are there times when you’re like ‘let me change that scene to one room apartment versus someone’s office building’ because you’re thinking of cost?

Markus Redmond:  I don’t do that. I just want to write story.  I think it can be hurtful to the story to do that because you just want to tell a good story.  Obviously if you’ve got things at your disposal, you want to write toward those things (if you can) and still tell a good story.  I think story still has to be key because if you’ve got an old abandon warehouse that you can shoot in for nothing, that’s awesome!  But if you just shoot a crap story in an old abandon warehouse because you have it for free, you’re going to have a crap movie.  You still have to create a really good story.

The piece that we’re working on now happen mostly in one house.  But it’s a psychological thriller and there are all sorts of things happening and characters are turning and changing.  You don’t know who did what, to whom and where, and why.  As I was writing it and reading it back, it just became a compelling story.  When you’re doing that, it ends up reading like a play because you’re not moving around to so many different locations.  But that wasn’t written to be in one location.  It was written and it happened to be in one location.   I would rather write a story first and then compact for budget (or whatever) later.  If that makes sense?

Film Courage:  Do you think storytelling is as prevalent and as rich as it once was?

Markus Redmond:  No.

Film Courage:  I mean…(take the TV show Taxi)…just think about the characters…

Markus Redmond:   There are Taxi episodes that are better than most movies.  You know what I mean?  Taxi probably had a profound effect on how I write because it’s just so good!  God…

Film Courage:  And everyone is so flawed in their own way, but they’re still likable…

Markus Redmond:  But that’s what I’m saying…those stories, those people, they are just people in a cab garage and you don’t really need to go to a whole lot of places because the characters are so strong.  Listen, there are stories out there that are fantastic and there are people out there making wonderful films both big and small, but I think we’ve become a very franchised, motivated industry because a lot of money is being spent on a lot of films and that money has got to come from somewhere and it’s got to get made back.  You can’t make 2 billion dollars off of a movie that only cost 10 million dollars. That’s all business and corporate strategy, industry stuff, some of it has to do with storytelling, some of it doesn’t.  I think we might be in a place where story is going to become the only affordable, special effect here pretty soon.

What do you think?  Are we getting better or worse at telling stories?  Comment on the Youtube video here below and share your thoughts.

 

 

 

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Special thanks to The House of Magic Foundation for the Arts Theater
This interview was filmed on location at The House of Magic Foundation for the Arts Theater. Check them out at Thomagic.com.

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