intentional storytelling

 

I love shooting film.

You’ve probably heard it said many times, but film is different than digital photo shoots because of how intentional you have to be with each shot. It’s true – plain and simply, each shot costs money. I’m still very new to this game, so let me be the first to say, I waste a lot of money. Finding the right kind of film, getting the perfect settings, making sure the camera doesn’t malfunction, making sure the time of day is right – it’s all so much to keep in mind, I often screw up several pictures on a roll of film. It can be honestly overwhelming. Digital is easy compared to this; I can take 300 shots and not have to worry about losing a penny.

I used to be a part of the newspaper at my community college. The professor who ran it always said, “A picture is worth a thousand words, unless you have a thousand words.” He probably got that from someone else, to be honest. But this statement has proven true again and again for me – so long as those thousand words are intentional.

Have you ever written flash fiction? I love it. I had a professor in undergrad who challenged me to write a story every week under 750 words. Seems easy, right?

Wrong.

I found myself cutting whole paragraphs and sentences of what already felt like a too-short story. Those cuts are a lot like the settings on a film camera – you have to be precise with that shutter speed, the aperture, the focus, in order to get the image you want. Intentional writing is a lot like film photography. If your challenge is to write a thousand-word short story, you have to have complete and total control over every single word that goes into your piece in order to create the exact image you want your readers to see.

This summer, I want to shoot a lot of film. My goal is to have an entire roll of perfect shots. Yeah, that sounds crazy. It is crazy. But my hope with this isn’t just to improve my photography skills – it’s to improve my writing skills. It’s to train my brain how to be intentional with every single piece that makes up the thousand-word portrait of my story.

Want to join? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.

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