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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Weekend
US producer shares secrets to great stories
    2017-December-8  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Yang Mei

yangmei_szdaily@163.com

NOWADAYS, people are often mentioning how human beings are focusing on their cell phones instead of spending quality time with their beloved family and friends, who we often take for granted. In the eyes of Paul Brown, an award-winning writer, director and producer from the United States, this problem is rather serious, especially for students who aspire to become great filmmakers.

As one of the judges of the 8th China International New Media Short Film Festival, which was held in Shenzhen from Nov. 25 to Dec. 2, Brown was invited to South University of Science and Technology of China on Nov. 29 and gave a lecture on storytelling in films.

“In this business as a writer, a producer, a director, you have to develop your feelings, heart and connection to other people. Only if we don’t lose ourselves in technology and keep evolving as human beings can we imagine what other people are going through,” the producer said at the beginning of his lecture.

Later Brown illustrated his view points and insights by using “Wall-E” as an example of a film that truly brings its characters to life in an emotionally powerful way.

From his perspective, a great film should create characters that audiences care for and feel connected to. To create such a character, screenwriters should first figure out what the character wants or is going after (or in Brown’s words, “the external journey [physical world] of a character,”) at the beginning of the script-writing process. “For example, Wall-E is programmed to compact trash and clean up the planet. That’s what Wall-E wants. When we make a movie, we should think about what are the traits that you are giving to the characters that make you care,” he explained.

As the movie goes on, Wall-E begins to feel lonely and a need to be loved develops, which signifies the second element of great stories, according to Brown’s definition — the inner journey of characters: their minds, feelings and needs. “A movie is a mirror of the secret inner life of a character. Wall-E is a robot who is evolved over 700 years and now he needs love. We not only care and connect to the world of the character, but also connect to his loneliness,” he said.

When Eve, the heroine of the movie appears, Wall-E establishes a relationship with the outside world, which Brown deems as pivotal to the movie plot. “Relationships are the key in great stories. Because of relationships, people in great films change and transform through hardships, anger and love,” Brown said.

The fourth element to great stories is the “soul of a story,” the point during which the character “... has to decide in terms of the action line, according to Brown. Are they gonna change their action? Are they gonna do something new internally?” In the end of the movie, Eve chose to overwrite her program and rescue Wall-E, who had been destroyed by a robot in a ship accident.

“Main characters are put into a situation where every part of them is at stake, so they have to make a choice in order to survive,” he said, adding that “I think a great movie will entertain, inspire and awaken audiences and make them do some soul-searching.”

Having worked in film and television for over 25 years, Brown has produced over 100 television dramas, pilots and movies including “The X-Files,” “Quantum Leap” and “Star Trek Voyager and Enterprise.” He co-created Disney’s world-wide smash hit “Camp Rock.” He has also received nominations for three Emmy Awards and three Golden Globes in addition to winning the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for best TV drama.

A total of 4,799 short films from 115 countries and regions gave submissions to the festival for three major events, namely, the Kingbonn Awards, the National University Students Short Film Competition and the Shenzhen-Themed Short Film Competition.

The Best Kingbonn Short Film went to “Timecode” by Spanish director Juanjo Giménez Peña.

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