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Visual Storytelling for Short Films workshop by Yasu Tanaka

12 November 2013

  • Visual Storytelling for Short Films workshop by Yasu Tanaka
    Japanese filmmaker Yasu Tanaka explains the methods of writing a good script in his workshop.
  • Visual Storytelling for Short Films workshop by Yasu Tanaka
    The poster of his upcoming movie, Nota. Poster designed by CCC.

Japanese writer and director, Yasu Tanaka from 42nd Pictures conducted an industry talk on ‘Visual Storytelling for Short Film’ at the recent Short Shorts Film Festival Asia 2013 held at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Cyberjaya.

Japanese writer and director, Yasu Tanaka from 42nd Pictures conducted an industry talk on ‘Visual Storytelling for Short Film’ at the recent Short Shorts Film Festival Asia 2013 held at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Cyberjaya.

In his workshop, Mr. Tanaka explained the methods he uses when writing scripts, among them the concept of ‘MAP’ navigation where it simplifies the journey of writing. He also explains to the audience the basic concept of the three-act structure that is used in modern writing and storytelling. In this model, the fictional narrative is divided into three parts which are known as the Setup, the Confrontation and the Resolution.

Mr. Tanaka further explains on the acts where the first act is usually used to establish the main characters and their relationships as well as the world they live in. It is in this act where an incident will happen which leads the main character to overcome it. This leads to a second usually more dramatic incident and is known as the first ‘turning point’, where the main character’s life will never be the same again and sets the stage for the climax later. He also explains the second act or the ‘rising action’ where the main character attempts to resolve the issue that is a result of the ‘first turning point’. Mr. Tanaka later ends this session with an explanation on the third act or the conclusion of the story and its subplots. The climax of this act is where the main tensions of the story are resolved. This is where any dramatic questions are answered and the main character leaves with a new sense of self.

The audience were also taught to decipher and understand key elements in a scene. This enables them to follow and see the story differently as more details are picked up. Mr. Tanaka also showed that these details are all important to the plot and is a part of foreshadowing that is placed by the director. Other advice include camera work, meaning of colour and how to capture the audience’s attention.

By the end of the session, many students from Limkokwing University and guests learned the basics of writing a compelling script thanks to Mr. Tanaka’s educational and entertaining workshop. Yasu Tanaka is a Japanese filmmaker based in Malaysia. His works include the mini tele-drama series ‘Lari Sayang Lari’ on Astro as well as the highly anticipated feature film ‘Nota’ starring Hans Issac and Maya Karin.

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