Three rules to learning digital storytelling (Part I)

Ever stared at the metaphorical white page in MS Word pondering what to write? In my second storytelling class I learned that the biggest constraint for creativity is the infinite number of possibilities from having no constraints (the white space).

Rule #1: Set Rules
Every week, for the last twelve weeks, we had to produce a video – a self-imposed requirement. The most successful videos came from an assigned theme or a rule. Having a rule or parameter was the biggest jump-start to creating a video, but I didn’t understand why until we watched The Five Obstructions (2003).

The film depicts a director (Lars Von Trier) who makes his mentor (Joergen Leth) redo his movie — the Perfect Human (1967) — five times, following different constraints each time. In every instance, Leth outsmarts the limitations and produces an incredible film. It was amazing to watch the same film rendered in such different ways, and every time it was jaw dropping good. This was only possible because Leth had to follow the obstructions imposed on him by Von Trier.

Rules give us something to press against and therefore movement happens. When a dancer needs to jump, he must plié to press against the floor so he will spring into the air. Without applying the pressure into the floor there will be no jump.