Tag Archives: film

Book Versus Movie

I’ve seen this image floating around the interwebz lately and initially agreed with it. 

Book Versus Movie Iceberg

The obvious suggestion is that a book offers the reader more complexity and depth than a movie; that a movie is a passive activity without detailed narrative, skipping over the juiciest and meatiest parts of a novel.

However, the more I saw it popping up in my social media feeds the more I questioned it.

The image implies a superiority of the printed word over the celluloid film, that a novel trumps film for storytelling and attention to detail. It’s a simplistic interpretation; it’s elitist and fails to embrace the complexity of film as art.

I, for one, have been disappointed in book-to-film adaptations (The Hobbit) yet also greatly impressed by book-to-film adaptations (The Lord of the Rings). I read intently the hue and cry from LOTR fans who bemoaned the excising of large swathes of narrative e.g. Tom Bombadil for the movie adaptation. Peter Jackson’s reasoning was simple: does this section move Frodo closer to Mount Doom or take him away from it?

I tell my students that film narrative is different to book narrative; each has their own language and vocabulary required to tell the story. Great film making is an art requiring a control of language more than simply words: framing, movement, lighting, sound, music, symbolism, colour, allusions, editing. 

We learn to read the shorthand of film to understand the emotional depth conveyed (dialogue, camera angles, music, sound etc) whereas in the novel we rely on the author’s words to bring us into the interior world of the character or situation.

Auteurs are adept at constructing a narrative for the audience that doesn’t rely on words alone, building their narrative through their medium. This does not make it inferior to a novel. Nor is a novel superior to a film because it requires only the imagination to create a world for the reader.

There are great novels and great films. There are rubbish novels and rubbish films. There are flaws and weaknesses in each when it comes to the power of the narrative arc but we must learn to read them differently, with a different eye and ear, with a different vocabulary and language. We must be conversant with both.

We cannot be snobbish and declare, “The book was better” if we are not conversant with the language of the other medium. True communication comes through understanding and appreciation.

The Power of Creativity to Tell Your Story

The Power of Creativity to Tell Your Story

“What’s your story, boy?”

“I haven’t got a story.”

“Everyone’s got a story.”

The Saint of Fort Washington


I believe everyone has a story.

I believe everyone needs to tell their story.

Why tell stories?

Stories help you make sense of the world.

Stories help you imagine the possibilities.

Stories help you map the path you’ve forged or taken or destroyed.

Stories help you understand and question your own humanity.

Stories help you celebrate the good events of life.

Stories help you learn from the dumb mistakes you’ve made.

Stories help you question humanity when they do dumb things.

Stories help you to have courage, overcome fear and pursue goals.

Your story gives someone the knowledge that they are not alone in their experience.

What is your story?

When I meet you for the first time, I ask for your name.

I am asking for more than nomenclature. I am asking for the identity and meaning of who you are.

I am asking, “What is your story?”

Everyone’s story is valuable and interesting.

The collected snapshots on your phone are specific, potted memories that make for an opening conversation about who you are.

The chain around your neck is symbolic of your story.

The tattoo on your shoulder has a story behind it too.

Tell me who you are.

Tell me how you see the world.

You do not have to tell me the minute details of your life; I want to understand how you see and perceive the world.

How do you tell your story?

I choose to use words. But I will not be writing a memoir or autobiography.

I will write stories because they tell you how I see and perceive the world.

You may choose some other symbolic visual representation.

Your story can be represented:

  • linguistically (story, memoir, diary, poetry)
  • visually (photographs, film and video, painting, sculpture, art and craft)
  • verbally (song, performance poetry, recorded oral history, speeches)
  • physically (dance, theatre)

But it is your story. You choose the message. You choose the medium.

Your story doesn’t have to be a public document. It may simply be recorded in a journal for you and you alone.

You can choose to blog your story, give it away for others to read and learn from.


Find your voice to tell your story.

How you tell your story is up to you.

On the Creative Couch: Deane Patterson

Welcome to the first interview for “On the Creative Couch.” This is my opportunity to ask a range of creative people from different creative fields about what they do, how they do it and how they understand the creative process.

The first guest to the couch is Deane Patterson (@ReceiverITW); film maker, musician, writer, bibliophile and someone who has inspired me for many years.

How do you define yourself as a creative person?

Well, you got it in one. I’ve struggled since my early 20s to put a label on what I do. I have to write something on my tax return, business card, Facebook bio – but lately I’ve given up and tell people I make things up. I don’t get any respect for that, but it’s the truth. I’ve owned “Creative Guys” as a business name for well over a decade now, and while I might not always use it publicly, it is a reminder to me that it’s just about being creative.

The struggle really comes from trying to define myself by what I do, when really it should be about who ‘I AM’ is in my life. What I do should come from who I am – not the other way around, because circumstances, passions and jobs change, but you as a person need to be the anchor point, the launch pad of your ideas.

If all you have is what you do, and that gets taken away from you, you can get really depressed, angry or just plain unproductive really quick.

I have an expression that’s all but tattooed on my heart (I should do it on my hand so I see it more frequently): Reveal The Kingdom. Everything I do is filtered through that. If it doesn’t fit through there, I’m in trouble, as I’ve strayed from my true love’s purpose, and my own heart’s desire.

I spent a year and a bit trying to be a commercial photographer, and one day I woke up and realized I was just in it for the money. I’m still recovering from that nearly a year later, and I’m still a little wobbly – but you have to forget the money and love the people – then you’ll touch lives (and get the support you need to carry on).

All I know is to tell stories and do that through music and video – it’s great that they go together so well – but within that is an infinite scope of possibilities from just 2 ingredients of making a story. And there are a ton of sub skills like writing, sound engineering, lighting, editing, design, publishing (the list goes on) that you work your way through just trying to tell the simplest story with music and moving pictures.

What is your chosen creative medium and how does it allow you to express your creativity?

I shoot stills, motion picture (video if you want to dumb it down), write and record music, write stories and advertising, I’m frequently designing things in Photoshop. I love music and would choose that if I really had to pick one, but I’ll do that when I’m grown up, and for now I enjoy stories and words, particularly as it applies to film.

Can you explain your creative process.

Immersive. Method. Obsessive. Frequently splintered and distracted. I struggle with focus and finishing the most because everything is damned interesting and I keep exploring the tributaries. It’s hard to remember: be the river, not the swamp.

Who or what gives your creativity impetus and direction?

Is this a thinly veiled question about God?

Who has inspired you in your creative journey?

Community. I care more about the encouragement of my family, especially my wife, and friends than a paycheck. My wife is encouraged by the paycheck too – so please, give generously.

What are you currently working on?

A screenplay for a creature feature (giant bugs), short orchestral music compositions (moving out of ambient and into a more symphonic vibe), some short story comps and a couple of submission offers, building a film/music production studio in the new house, a short film with a script based on an award winning stage play.

Long term, I’m hoping to get a timeline of 3 or 4 indie movies underway. Each project is more elaborate than the last so I can get the most experience with the lowest risk. The first film is 4 actors and someone else’s play that I’ve adapted for screen. The next is 4 actors and my script in one location. The one after that is 4 main characters and a lot of bit parts on a lot of locations. And then I’ve got a story with 7 main characters, but back to mostly one location – that project’s really about learning to work with actors more than film production issues – so you can see there is a long term plan there to grow into.

I’m also really into creating music, and sometimes I wonder if the music should come first – you know, which one is the driving force is, and which is the vehicle? I could just make music videos for my compositions and film school would have been worth it. But I really enjoy story telling in all forms, and film seems to put a bunch of things I do in a powerful mix where the sum is greater than the parts.

I once read a publisher being quoted, “Never believe what a creative person tells you what they’re working on. Just believe what they’ve finished.” So I use that as my escape clause.

What I plan, and God enables (because it’s totally dependant on Him) may change as I follow His lead – but that’s kinda the plan. If I change my mind, it’s because I wasn’t’ listening and wandered from the path. It’s been known to happen to creative people.

I’m a wanderer.

How do you see technology impacting or affecting people’s ability to be creative?

It makes it easier for people to get published, distributed, and easier to create stuff. But people are consequently making easier choices and not putting the same level of effort and expertise in.

Any idiot can use technology to get a result – and all their sycophantic facebook friends might even ‘like’ it – but much of what I see in terms of film/video production, photography, music and even writing is crap. And I include a lot of what I’m doing in the crap pile.

My only defense is that I’m learning. Failing forward. Getting better. You should be too. Get better, damn it. When I started in film, you shot film, and it cost literally hundreds of dollars to buy the freaking film, let alone process it. I learned photography the same way – you shot very limited numbers of stills, and didn’t know if you had until it came out of the lab days later, and then you had to print it.

No one got their book published.

If your band had a 4 track recording on cassette, you were awesome – forget making your own CDs, or even being able to record yourself on anything other than cassette.

This has turned into a full on rant – but when we took away all the barriers to entry, and technology made it easy, we slumped back to the lowest forms of using those opportunities.

Those barriers meant you had to work hard for the opportunity to work hard on making something. And it forced the cream to rise.

Work harder, dammit! And learn your craft. Make the effort to improve.

If you are totally dependent on technology as a crutch, then at least pay attention when the little red and green lines start breeding like nymphomaniac rats on your screen. You at least learned spelling and grammar at school you lazy sons of motherless idioms!

What is a piece of yours that is representative of your creative purpose?

I once read a publisher being quoted, “Never believe what a creative person tells you what they’re working on. Just believe what they’ve finished. So I use that as my escape clause.

I have a children’s book published called “The Purple Pirate Pants of Peril” that I’m extremely proud of, and if I could find where it is on my hard drive, I will re-publish. But that’s something that sold well and the target audience raved about.

I get paid for my music, but never get told where it’s being used, and I get very little feedback, so at this point, I’m still developing that. But I do have some music online (http://receiverinthewild.bandcamp.com/ ) that represents what I like to do musically. I find the money keeps the wolves from the door, but it’s feedback that really rewards my ego. And I like my ego. I like to have it stroked.

I’ve not released any of my personal video work that really says what I’m about yet – my best work is so far on other people’s projects – but it’s my goal to address this before I’m too far gone. How about February next year? Maybe.

Anything else to add?

Only God knows who you really are, and if you really want to know, He’s waiting to tell you. And then you’ll know what to do next.

Find Deane on Twitter @ReceiverITW

Blog: http://www.dcpatterson.com/

Bandcamp: http://receiverinthewild.bandcamp.com/

If you want to be a part of “On The Creative Couch” get in touch with me via twitter @revhappiness or leave a message in the comments below.