Cameraless filmmaking

Since last time, I’ve spent a significant amount of time writing a journalistic piece where I tried to take the reader inside the head of a meth-addict. It’s, by far, the longest and most detailed story I’ve ever written within the genre of journalism, and I’m very excited to share it with you all later this week. Stay tuned!

Here’s a sneak peek:

My source for the story, Cal. Photo: Maria Lavelle.

I definitely had to step outside my comfort zone with this piece, and it’s been a very interesting process trying to understand meth-addiction from the inside.

Believe it or not, but this type of writing actually nourishes my inner filmmaker because it allows me to tell stories with all my senses. I can explore what the camera can’t see, and I can create images with just words — which I believe are skills that can help me become a better filmmaker. I tell myself that if I can tell visually appealing stories with just words, I will be able to tell even more powerful stories on the screen when I actually do use the camera as a tool.

I often compare journalism and film to vegetables and desserts. (This will make sense, I promise. Just keep reading)

Photo: Village Inn.

– Journalism is like a carrot. You eat it as it is; either raw, boiled or roasted, but regardless of how it’s prepared it’s somewhat fresh, unprocessed, crispy and healthy. Even if it doesn’t taste like a dessert, you need the vitamins. The authenticity and enlightenment of a well-written journalistic story will do you good.

– Film is like a carrot cake. You usually need a recipe to create it, and it takes more preparation, processing, mixing and polishing before you can serve it to your guests, but the result is absolutely marvellous. A good movie needs a good story — hence the carrots — but it’s whipped together with carefully selected ingredients to create a well-composed product.

The conclusion to this extremely weird comparison is that no movie will ever be good without the right ingredients, and sometimes journalistic storytelling can be one of those absolutely crucial elements.

Oh my. I just sounded like a complete nerd. Well, I probably am, but I know you love me still.

I want to make films that leave the audience like this.

 Photo: Mike Shafer.

Bless you,
Maria

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