I have always felt that my first job as a photographer is to tell a good story, even for my commercial clients, but over the last couple years I have been exploring the idea that film (movies) can communicate more complete thoughts than my still photography can. (Don’t get me wrong, I will never stop my still photography work – I’m just expanding on my passion) This summer, I have dedicated my free time to exploring storytelling through the moving image.
Writing has always been a passion of mine, and if you ask my parents I can tell a good story. Those stories used to consist of tales about where I was (though I wasn’t there) and who I was with (though it was someone totally different). Though they are my parents, and, well, they will like just about anything I do as long as it’s not morally wrong and no one was injured in the process.
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship,
stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
~ Philip Pullman
The question I’ve had is how do I tell my own stories? As a producer and/or director, I can tell stories that others have written or wanted to tell. But I want to tell my own stories with a faithfulness to the subject and in a way that can hold an audience’s attention for 20 minutes or 90 minutes. This led me to explore screenwriting.
Though my summer has been a busy one with client work and travels, I set aside three books to read: I plowed through Save The Cat!, by Blake Snyder, and story ideas seemed to just flow out into my journal. My second book was Save The Cat! Strikes Back, also by Blake Snyder. That, too, was quite the easy read with Blake’s conversational style of writing. Yesterday, I began reading Story, by Robert McKee.
I may never be a good screenwriter, or even have a screenplay made into a movie, but these three books have led me to think deeper into the stories I’m telling as a still photographer than I ever thought I would.
Kevin Michael Reed is a theatre maker from New York City living in Dublin and London. His production credits have included producer, director, playwright, dramaturg and designer. He is Artistic Director of Squire Lane Theatrical UK, a theatre production company specialising in developing new works for the stage. He holds a BFA in Photography from the Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY), a MA in Playwriting from City, University of London, and a MFA in Theatre Directing from The Lir, National Academy of Dramatic Art, Trinity College Dublin.