FILMMAKERS and writers emphasized story-telling as the “spine of good films” in the Sampung Sulyap Film Workshop held at the Beato Angelico Audiovisual Room on Nov. 23.

Balaram Ochangco, a filmmaker and communication arts alumnus, said translating a good story into a visual output is the main challenge in making movies, not good shots or “perfectly panned” scenes.

“The story is always the master. It is the spine of good films, not the technicalities. This is why you should always choose the highlights when conceptualizing,” Ochangco said.

Palanca awardee Eros Atalia tackled the long process of screening stories. “The synopsis is not always the starting and ending point of the story. It still has to go through a screening of its sequences and details to study how to treat the story,” he said.

To write a good plot, the writer has to formulate a strong conflict, he said. “Conflict is always important. In short films such as the 10-minute entries [required for Sampung Sulyap], the conflict should be unmasked earlier. The earlier the conflict is introduced, the better,” Atalia said.

Writer and director Richard Cawed, who produced “Butas,” a short film that was one of the finalists in this year’s Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, stressed that detailed research should be done to properly lay out a film’s advocacy.

“In researching, know who to interview and ask them deeper and more specific questions to be able to emphasize your advocacy in the film or documentary,” Cawed said.

In coming up with visuals to support the story, budding filmmakers should know their gear and how to use them properly, he said.

“You don’t necessarily need a high-end camera. What’s important is your knowledge on how to use it,” he said.

Ochangco discussed basic shooting techniques such as choosing camera lenses for landscape shots and the balancing of color temperature, which should match the mood of the story.

“Cool colors are for depressed or melancholic scenes while warm colors are used to represent the welcoming feel of happiness and contentment,” he said.

The annual workshop seeks to hone the skills of students who are interested in joining the Sampung Sulyap film competition, an annual short-film festival organized by Becarios de Santo Tomas.


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