An Edit Contest Reveals A Story
Every episode of Into the Storymaze = writing ideas or writing-in-progress; something creative I’m excited by; a highlight from my comic book writing; and then a quote that’s worth a think or two.
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LumaFusion is an amazing app that runs on iOS (and soon Android). It is a video editor — and what it can do on phones and tablets is extraordinary. Multiple tracks of video and audio, titling creation, keyframes for animation, a deep library of clips, music and sound effects. If you're a video creator — or want to be — it's really creative inspiration (and ability) on the go. I so love it.
One of the cool things they do as a company is now and again sponsor edit contests for their fans and customers. Each has a theme. This latest was the 24 Hour Edit. Starting from nothing, the challenge was to create a new video that incorporated 5 edit techniques: 3 layers of video. 3 layers of audio. A fade. A "J-Cut" (Where the music or sound comes up before a scene changes.) And a Match Cut (Where the cut (or edit) moves between two similar visual elements.)
Now, because I wasn't paying attention, I got wind that the contest was on 8 hours too late — so I was automatically enrolled in the 16 Hour Edit instead. Where to start? Should I start? Didn't I have deadlines? (Yes!) The process here was decidedly Storymaze — starting with finding myself deep in the maze, wondering and worrying over that match cut.
I had no idea what the video itself would be. But the Match Cut caught my attention (and mind's eye) most strongly. Instinctively I knew that whatever those matching visual elements could be — they would give me the hook. And show me what else this maze had to offer.
Clock's ticking. Now it's the 12 Hour Edit. Clock's going round and round and — what else is round? The dial on a safe. That could be an interesting visual. Spinning around and spinning into — the cylinder of a revolver? That's a cool match cut, isn't it?
Who cracks a safe and then pulls a gun? That gave me a character *type* to think about if I was going to build a story around this. A thief? An enforcer? The opening line “What do I do for a living?” might as well have been me asking myself where this would all go — as it got down to the 6 Hour Edit. But that “innocent” inquiry also gave me an idea for a “fake out” of sorts — two people seeming getting to know each other on a first date.
It was all very organic and freeform, testing out connections and letting the twists take me along — in other words, very Storymaze. In truth, I think going with the flow worked out so much better for this for me than having a set “plan.” (Beyond “Make it make sense!”) Writing the rest of the one-sided narration, searching on images that connected back and shifted the tone from light to dark, finding sounds, matching up muzzle flashes, recording the Voice Over…done at the 2 Hour Edit mark!
Deadlines aren’t always this fun. But they definitely get you to “done.”
Know someone who appreciates a good edit? Send them this link…
Movies, books, short stories, comics, games — all expected treasures to find, and between what I’ve got stacked, stockpiled and what I’ve yet to discover, there will be no shortage of things to share in these episodes. But sometimes you get the just unexpected observation or essay that equally qualifies as word magic. This essay from Tumblr on the subject of Boromir is epic.
Not “epic” as in the sense of Lord of the Rings, home to Boromir in book and movie form. If you’re having trouble picking him out from the Fellowship of the Ring, he’s the man from Gondor, played on screen by the awesome Sean Bean. Confronted by the needs of his city under siege and a frail humanity, he weakens under the dark pull of the Ring of Power. It’s his greed for it (or it’s sense that he is a “weak link”) that most directly contributes to the breaking of the Fellowship.
Because he falls early in the long tale and as a consequence of his own actions, it can be easy to appreciate his character fully. (Made even easier up against LOTR’s tapestry of increasingly colorful characters) But this would be a mistake — thankfully corrected by the author on “Call Me Lot’s Wife.”
While I think I’ve always seen Boromir for what he is and what he represents in the story, there’s just a whole lotta wonder in the the way this essay elevates him and — for all his flaws — reveals him for his richness:
I got older, and I learned how temptation comes for us all, in different forms, and how we hurt people without meaning to, and how sometimes for all our regret and tears and apologies, we cannot mend what we broke.
I got older, and I leaned what it is to be forced into a role I didn’t want, to feel I’d hit a dead end, to struggle against those who had different views, to feel like people could look into my heart and see the anger and fear that I tried so hard to hide.
I got older, and I realized: I’m Boromir.
It’s just fine, fine writing. Get all the feels in the full read: https://letmetellyouaboutmyfeels.tumblr.com/post/184447780833/if-you-ask-i-will-write-a-whole-goddamn-essay-on
(Thanks to author Christopher Golden for posting a jpeg capture of this. Glad I was able to find the original to share with you.)
Boromir once said, “One does not simply walk into the Storymaze.” What say you?
I'm sure editor Ralph Macchio and assistant editor Pat Garrahy thought I was joking when I pitched the story. Or barking mad. Daredevil has to thwart a city wide conspiracy to steal a fortune in…restaurant kitchen grease? Listen, I can't make this stuff up — well, actually I can. And did. That's the point.
But I've always enjoyed a real-world springboard, and it was my often NYC Muse, the city newspaper New York Newsday that put the idea in my writer's head. A rash of robberies from the secure dumpsters in restaurants across town were netting a particularly slick breed of criminal big dollars in stolen grease. It had profitable uses as a recycled ingredient, so thieves were profiting — and I could, too, with a silly 2-issue story arc.
Maybe it was because we were about to roll the dice on a far bigger risk with Fall from Grace — or maybe because we actually made the story work. Either way, Ralph and Pat okayed and embraced the tale, and artist Scott McDaniel got appropriately mad, mad, mad, mad world with his pencil. It was and remains a decidedly oddball exercise in storytelling for the usually dead serious man without fear — but sometimes you have to follow the lead and see where it takes you. (Storymaze, anyone?)
Considering I've recently been interviewed twice about this one in the last 6 months (the latest described it with the awestruck labels of "bonkers" and "admirably insane") — it is clearly a story that has stuck with the right someones. But grease does have a tendency to congeal… (Bleech. Shudder. Yuck.)
"The creative adult is the child who survived." — Ursula Leguin
Thanks for taking a break from the dark web to check out this share-out of projects I’m working on, plus things that have me jazzed. I’m D.G. Chichester. If that looks pretentious, feel free to just call me “Dan.”
I earned my word-cred writing comic book titles like Daredevil, Terror Inc., Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD and Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, along with digital widgets in the world wide web of advertising. I keep my storytelling cred by trying new things — this is one, with more on the way. I like weird tales, so if things here bend that way — now you know why!
Folks seem to like the comic book adventures I’ve written, so if you haven’t checked one out — please do. Many are now available in fab collected editions.
For the lonely moments between these emails…
@dgchichester — 280 characters from the Twitterverse
@dgchichester — images + context via Instagramland