Friday, February 27, 2009

Let me tell you a story...

Please humor me for a moment will you? I'd like for you to spend 4 minutes of your life watching something. Just press play and watch, we'll talk when its over...

Did you see the fancy laser effects? Wha...? You didn't see them? Oh but you did! In your mind!

Spielberg once said, "A movie is 49% visual and 51% audio." He was right. You heard the laser, saw the flash and you bought the fact that those cap guns could kill someone. You saw people die. No laser beams were necessary.

In a comment I left for a friend on a another blog I mentioned the BBC TV series "Blakes 7." The clip above is the final scene from the final episode of that show. As a refresher, here is that comment:

I'm reminded of an old sci-fi series on the BBC. It was called "Blakes 7." They shot it mostly with video equipment on a sound stage with "little" to no effects, and the little was very cheap. Occasionally they would shoot at a landfill or some outdoor location that was supposed to be a planet. If they shot outside they used 16mm film because back then video was not portable. The effects were less than the quality of the original Trek series and the sets were cardboard.

The stories were superb!

The series ran for several years and ended in a cliffhanger that fans still talk about.
The thing is, that series could be shot by anyone with the passion to produce it and common consumer equipment, today. Might even look better! And it would be just as good. The characters were interesting, the stories were good science fiction, and the audience didn't care if it had Star Wars quality effects.
Blakes 7 is still a good show. People need to stop thinking blockbuster effects and start concentrating on the story. I'd rather watch one good 10 minute show that is compelling and thought provoking than sit through two hours of stuff blowing up and a predictable ending. But, that's just me.


The clip above shows the sets and simple effects. The guns shot sparks and smoke. There was only one blood squib on Blake. Cheap and simple. But the drama was breathtaking especially if you had watched the whole series and had come to know these characters.

Notice how it was cut together. The lighting and no music. How each character had their moment to die and raise the bar on the drama. And you were left with wondering just what Avon was about to do when it ended. To this day fans are still wondering what happened next.

My point? You don't need millions of dollars and tons of effects to make a movie. You need a compelling story, interesting characters and the passion to make it.


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