While surfing YouTube, I came across this short video:
Well, okay, I actually found a fan-version where they played the song “Something Just Like This” by Chainsmokers, ft. Coldplay, over this video. But then I found this video right after.
This may be a short story, but a great one nonetheless. Why is it great? I’m glad you asked:
1) Everything is simple. Now, simple does not mean that it has no point, or is boring, or is childish. It just means that there are no excessive characters, moments, or elements. The story is easy to understand and follow, with enough twists to hold your attention – if they had added an extra character or tried to include a second location, I would have been confused and would have lost interest. And the art style has enough detail that you can see the worn stones in the street and the different fabrics in the clothes, but not so much detail that it is unappealing to the eye or eclectic.
Whenever you tell a story, you have to keep things simple. Don’t introduce any characters that aren’t important to the plot in some way. If you want to include a particular scene or moment, always ask yourself, “Why is this important to the story?” If you can’t come up with any reason, or you can only say, “It looks cool,” then you should ditch the scene.
2) The plaza makes me want to visit. From the first shot, I felt that this took place in Italy/somewhere in the Mediterranean, which helps to set the stage for the rest of the story. There is a certain aura, or idea, that people attribute to different locations; for me, the Mediterranean gives off a sense of romance, adventure, and friendships. But I also got the sense that this town was a different place, more whimsical and romantic than any Italian village. The video is set in a place that feels familiar, yet out of this world.
In any story, it is important to relate to the audience. While people will relate most to the characters, they can also feel close to the story if the setting reminds them of home, or one of their favorite places. If a fictional place is portrayed well, your audience will feel like they are at home, or can easily visit there. You can use real places in your stories, or make up entirely new ones – as long as you make them reachable. If you don’t think anyone would want to visit the place you created, either make it more identifiable or scrap the location altogether.
3) The video has a distinct design. Everything, from the settled buildings around the plaza, to the scuffed radar in the Wish Granter’s residence, looks like it all belongs in this world. No one expects to see anything Gothic, or from a Western movie. There is not a single element in the story that feels out of place – even the magical items seem like they belong there! And the art style is fantastical and charming to view over and over again!
This point stands out especially for me, because there are so many different art styles I like that I try to use as much as I can…but using more than one style at a time often looks very busy in a design, or in any story. Think of an art style as a puzzle – the design would be how the puzzle fits together. Whether it is how many colors or shapes you use, the types of characters you include, or the structure of the story overall, a good design is key to a good story.
4) This is a student project. You read correctly: this video was made by students!! I’ve never met any of them, nor have I attended this college, but I still feel like this is an important enough point to share. Sometimes it feels like good stories can only come from certain people who “made it.” Like, only famous people or those who rose from the ashes (so to say) are the ones worthy enough to tell amazing stories.
However, the “great people” all started off as students. They all had to learn to craft meaningful stories, too. And sometimes, the smaller projects that students work on are just as well-made as a full-length movie from a larger production studio. Never feel like your story isn’t good enough because you haven’t “made it yet.” Your story is unique, and nobody can tell it but you.
That’s it for the July SOTM! Thanks for reading!