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Essence: Events

Lesson 9 from: The Ultimate Photo Storytelling Workshop

Finn Beales

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Lesson Info

9. Essence: Events

In this episode, Finn teaches you how to use obstacles to build events, crafting a journey and incorporating product into a story.

Lesson Info

Essence: Events

We have our location and we have our character, that brings me neatly onto events. What's gonna happen? I like to use what I call the desire and obstacle rule. So you've established the desire in your character. Let's introduce some obstacles. If we take this shoot as our example, what is a surfer's ultimate desire? It's finding the perfect wave, right? That perfect right hander peeling across a beach between two rocks, something like that. That's our end scene, our end goal. You could think of that as your end image. That's where you want to end your story. So tracking backwards what can we introduce that might prevent him or her from achieving that? So I have an end scene in my mind, an end image. I'll try and describe it to you. Golden sunset and a feeling of space, escapism, relaxation something like that. What obstacles can I put in the way of my surfer that can prevent him or her from achieving that goal? We could go off in all sorts of tangents here, and there are a multitude of...

plot lines that we could introduce, but we're not making a movie. We have no verbal clues, and we only have three days to shoot. So I don't wanna get crazy complicated on that front. It's actually quite important, when you're just dealing with stills, not to get too bogged down in complex plot lines, because it's very easy to get lost or one's audience to get lost. A little bit of research before I got here into board shaping showed me that it's actually quite an industrial process. It's noisy and dusty and all happens inside. So it's artificially lit. That scenario contrasts completely with my ends scene. So I've got a great starting point. Inside, dimly lit, or harshly lit environment, already an obstacle to that feeling of escapism at the end. So this surfer has to go through this process to get here. Well, that's kind of what he, there's a journey already starting. I'm already crafting a journey from beginning to end. I also need to keep in mind my client, my ultimate client, which is called Vintage Land Rover Company. How can I incorporate their product, the Land Rover, into the story as well. And can I introduce an obstacle that we can overcome using the Land Rover 'cause that really reinforces the value of that product. Again, let's keep it simple. Searching for the perfect spot is gonna take time. You know, this is a place that's deserted. There's no crowds of people learning to surf on their surfboard. This is like the ultimate spot. So I'm thinking like, you know, traveling up and down wind blown coast, axle grinding, bumpy roads, something like that. The Land Rover is the enabler of the desire. He's gotta overcome obstacles. He's gotta travel down inaccessible roads in order to reach his desire. And the Land Rover can help him do that. These are gonna be really beautiful scenes. I'm a massive Land Rover fan myself. I have one of these vehicles at home. If you follow me on Instagram, or you follow, my Land Rover actually has an Instagram account. I'll mention him. Hector the Rover, go check him out. It's a Series 3 Land Rover. So this is a story that means something to me. And I think that's really important. Involve yourself in your plotting or introduce something that you are really interested in. 'Cause I think that will come across in the pictures that you are making. If you love something then you're gonna pour time and energy into it. And that will come across in the end product. We can also introduce some vague uncertainty or danger. Thinking maybe cutting away to a big brooding ocean. Maybe some close ups of the sea. Something that feels a little off and that sort of unsettling nature will make a viewer sit up in anticipation that something might go wrong. Keep your audience in tune by adding a layer of suspense. For example, that wave shot that I'm talking about, that will make my audience concerned something might go wrong. Even if it doesn't actually happen, it's keeping them in check, keeping them in tune.

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Ratings and Reviews

Brent Morris

Fantastic My thoughts on the storytelling workshop. The short is; it’s fantastic. The long is I loved all the details covered, from shot types and the ideas behind them to the call sheets and shot lists, and the whole process. I felt like I had a better understanding of how to schedule a professional shoot and I really felt like I had a much better grasp on many ideas and concepts, and I believe I’ve been able to improve my photography with them, so thank you and Finn. It really is fantastic.

Oswaldo Martinez

A path to better stories Very happy I got this workshop. Finn and Alex do a great job at teaching highly useful methods and specific advice to help you improve your own work, and more importantly, tell better stories that are meaningful to you.

Tommaso Selleri

Simply the best This is simply the best workshop out there on photography and storytelling. Finn is awe inspiring and so real and authentic. A pleasure to watch, a joy to learn from such master. I really hope a volume 2 is coming soon! Thank you for this one!

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