This week I watched a video essay looking at the storytelling structure in the movie Inside Out. This Disney Pixar animated film follows an untraditional story arc for a “children’s/family” movie. As this video essay points out, most “children’s” movies focus on happiness and encouraging people to be happy as often as they can. Inside Out goes against this line of thought, showing that people need to embrace all kinds of emotions in order to be healthy and eventually happy. The video essay looks at how the director and screenwriter of Inside Out struggled to come up with the final story. Both the screenwriter and director went through multiple drafts of the story before finally settling on the final story arc. While this process of rewriting probably happens with almost all films, the screenwriter and director of Inside Out looked at their own experiences (including their struggles with writing the film) in order to better understand themselves and the story they wanted to tell. In fact, this story started with a question that the director had about his own life regarding his daughter’s change in behavior when she turned Eleven. So the process of creating this film reflects the process that the director went through in understanding his own life and children. This filmmaking process seems really valuable. I am used to looking at films as ways of telling stories, but I often forget that making a movie can be a valuable process in understanding the real world. The film creators can simply start with a question that they have about their own lives, and use the process of making that film as their way of answering their own question. The same can be said about creating video essays. A video essay doesn’t need to give definitive answers to anything, but can rather just explore different questions.
This video essay mostly incorporated visuals from the movie Inside Out itself, or pictures of the director and screenwriter with their quotes shown in on-screen text and their audio levels from their interview shown on screen. This video essay also included video of some interviews and other behind the scenes footage with the director, co-director, etc. Most noticeably though this video essay also incorporated stills of concept art from Inside Out. These stills were powerful when they were used because the video essay focused on the development of Inside Out as a movie, and the ways it changed during production. Thus the concept art really contributed to the feeling of development and change in the story, because we could literally see the differences in character design. Besides these stills though, this video essay was pretty “traditional.” It focused mainly on the visuals of the movie, but also incorporated text, voiceover, and stills. What impressed me about the form though, was how seamlessly all of these forms came together to create an engaging video essay. I know that in our class for example, we often set specific parameters for ourselves for projects to help us focus our attention on certain aspects and ultimately create “better” video essays. By incorporating lots of different elements though, it almost seems more challenging to not make a confusing video.