Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Timpanogos Storytelling Festival

Katherine Farmer (who is one of my heroes) invited me to be one of her assistants for her workshop at this year's Timpanogos Storytelling Festival! (WOO!!!!) I was also the photographer for the event since no one else showed up with a camera. Katherine was presenting her research on the Story Code which she has been developing and writing about for the last 28 years. It's fascinating stuff and no matter  how many times I hear her talk about it, there's always something new to learn. This time was no exception. There is a bulging folder nearby of all my notes, but there were a few quotes that I can't keep from sharing.

"Most work of narrative comprehension seems to occur in what Freud called the preconscious, the realm of elements 'capable of entering consciousness.' The spectator simply has no concepts or terms for the textual elements and systems that shape responses. It is the job of theory to construct them, the job of analysis to show them at work."
David Bordwell (Narratologist)

"If a plot is too complex, Audiences say it is boring. If it's too simple, they say it insults their intelligence." Katherine

"When we are sitting in an arm chair reading or a theatre seat viewing, our brains are behaving oddly. We know that we ourselves cannot change the story, movie, play, tale, or poem. Somehow that knowledge changes our brains. We go into a trance-like state. We become 'absorbed.' We no longer pay attention to our bodies or our environments and turn off our natural defense mechanisms, and this is not normal." 
Norman N. Holland (Neuroscientist)

"Serious dramas will succeed everywhere, but more especially with a people whose manners are corrupt. They will go to the theatre in order to escape the evil-doers by whom they are surrounded in life; there they will find people with whom they would care to live. They will see mankind as it really is, and they will become reconciled with it. Good people do exist, though they are rare."
Denis Diderot (18th Century French Philosopher)


K said...

Funny. Our favorite movies have people in them we like to visit, wish we knew. Like the guys at the restaurant in Return to Me. You find yourself wanting to be on the card game, just to hang with the guys =

But this Frenchman you quote - I would imagine that in his time things were fairly hopelessly self-destructive. I think there are a lot of good people around - but you don't get to see that much of their lives in reality. In a movie, you are introduced into the inner circle of strangers and find yourself, sometimes, wishing you could know them. G says it's not fair that life has to compete with scripted conversations, though. And I agree.

Laura said...

I imagine by good people he means those who are heroic in their honesty and willingness to stand against the social winds to cause change when it is needed. Those are the types of heroes that are featured in dramas. And those people ARE rare. It's much easier to go with the flow and live with injustices, corruptions etc. when it's generally accepted.

I agree with Guy, but I don't think they're competing - they're feeding off of each other. And movies are boring if they are a literal slice of life. They cut between the interesting and important conversations so that you get the story and the characters in the essence for that story. Kind of like OJ concentrate of life, maybe? Mix in three cups of time and menial tasks and you'd have a truer representation of life. :)