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Wednesday
Aug172011

Walter Cronkite: "Find Your Voice"

Tip of the week from our podcast: "Find Your Voice" (download episode on iTunes)

If you are going to begin writing, speaking or directing film, or even just building relationships socially... the way you communicate is the primary key to gaining an audience, large or small. It can be tempting as young artists to see other filmmakers who are successful and to attempt to copy them. But as Michael Hartnett says in our podcast: "I don't want to be the RC Cola of filmmaking".

So if you want to tell stories (and we assume you do), and you are in a place of writing down your ideas, or wearing yourself out doing 48 hour filmmaking marathons with your friends, or even if you're an established professional looking to grow creatively; ask yourself this: "Am I being honest?"

If the stories you are trying to tell are shaping themselves into wannabe versions of "The Social Network" (but it's about the origins of Grooveshark!) maybe it's time to go deeper for inspiration. What can you do to find your unique voice, even as you expand your universe of influence?

A few starting points:

1) Don't be intimidated.

Take your favorite films, and go beyond infatuation. Get to know what the director's inspirations were, and read the earliest version of the script you can find. Chances are it wasn't spit onto paper quite as awesome as the cinematic masterpiece you just fell for.

2) Broaden your influences.

If you haven't watched a variety of types of films you are going to be narrow in your style and won't have a lot to pull from when attempting to solve problems with your script. You are still lean if you haven't surrounded yourself with stories and life experiences that give you a connection to what you want to communicate. Read classic literature. (And listen to our podcast, duh!)

3) Do what YOU like, or you will hate what you do.

The biggest setback in the creative process comes when you no longer like the story you are writing. That can happen for a variety of reasons, but the BIGGEST buzz kill for a creative comes when he/she tries to do something that isn't them. If you are trying to be exactly like someone else, no matter how inspired you are by their work you will only set yourself up to fail (or become a hack!) if you aren't being true to your own unique voice.

—shepherd

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