Create Films Like a Music Conductor

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In order to create a film that “moves” an audience emotionally, you have to do research on how to connect to those emotions in a variety of different mediums. There are many studies by psychologists on theories why we get emotionally invested in a film experience. You can read the opinions by many experts to get to the bottom of it, but I am a more practical person. I tend to seek after those who embody the characteristics of influencing a mass of people to connect with one another in complete harmony, to sing with one voice, and to feel the same one emotion while journeying through a body of work. Those people who influence my filmmaking style are music conductors.

Picture this. You are in Carnegie Hall in NYC. You walk out onstage and stand between a 200 person choir and a sold out crowd. You are responsible for leading not only the tempo and musicality of the choir, but the emotional delivery and connectivity with the audience. This connection with the audience is most effective when the choir is working together as ONE. They are hitting the right notes, they are blending together, and working as ONE to create an experience for the audience.

It all stems from the Conductor.

As I am shooting and editing a film (whatever it is I am filming) I imagine myself as a music conductor. Every camera movement, every cut I make in editing, every bit of audio included in the film is created like I am holding a wand and conducting a choir. Sometimes I even close my eyes and listen for the music while I am filming. My goal is to film like a musician. That may sound strange but to me it is the essence of how I create imagery. The crescendos and staccatos in every film clip help guide the audience to connect with the film. If you are thinking like a music conductor only at the time a soundtrack is placed into a film; it is too late. You have to begin from the script writing stage all the way through post production. Thinking like a music conductor will assist in establishing a foundation in a film. Something you can return to if you are having trouble figuring out camera angles or script edits. Even when I am shooting a wedding film, during my initial meeting with a client, I start piecing together their story and connect with it emotionally. This way I can shoot the wedding day with a clear foundation of the essence of their story.


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