I’m an aspiring filmmaker. Like every filmmaker out there, I have a lengthy list of films that have inspired me along the way. This series will examine twelve of the films that changed the way I looked at movies forever. Films that have greatly influenced the filmmaker I hope to become someday…
The Shawshank Redemption
Over the years, I’ve become a huge fan of character driven dramas. Movies that span decades, introduce us to remarkable people and show us worlds we’ve never seen before.
Thankfully, I’ve never been to prison so I’m proud to say I’m not familiar with what goes on within the walls of a penitentiary. Having said that, I’m more than happy to watch Andy Dufresne and Red’s journey within the walls of Shawshank.
This was a film that I watched when TV movies were an event you couldn’t miss.When world and network premieres would cause people to curse if they ever forgot to set the timers on their VCRs. Of course there were also people who cleared their schedules because they simply had to watch. After all, the VCR record could still fail right? Better safe than sorry.
Back then, I didn’t follow movies as closely as I do now so I knew very little about the film’s story. (Other than the conclusions I drew from the film’s slightly obvious title.) It was the perfect storm.
Different movies inspire different people in different ways. I’m addicted to that feeling. Every time I see a movie that inspires me, I’m thankful that I took the time to see it. The beauty of film is that you never know when a movie will hit all the right notes and inspire.
That’s probably why I watch so many movies. I’m always looking for the next GREAT film in my life.
A truly inspirational film can impact you in very personal ways. In my case, it ignited my commitment to write better stories.
The Shawshank Redemption introduced me to a writing style that I adore. The movie takes it’s time and sets up the setting and the relationships in a fascinating way. It’s a slight of hand that’s rare in films. The movie grips you with interesting characters literally fighting for their lives and sanity within the walls of a brutal prison. The magic sets in when you realize that while you were being entertained, the filmmakers were setting up a remarkable twist you never saw coming.
Before you know it, the slow moving story kicks it up a fifty notches and doesn’t quit until the credits roll. I wish I could have seen my face when the film ended. It’s brilliance has stuck with me to this day.
That’s good story telling.
Scratch that. It’s fantastic story telling. Creating original characters that exist within a fully realized world is an art and requires great care, planning and dedication to the story you’re telling. No single moment is wasted. Everyone has something interesting to do and in doing so, they plant the seeds for the following scenes in natural ways.
But that’s what incredible films are meant to do. They resonate. They stay with you. Long after your first viewing you dissect every detail in your mind until you simply HAVE to watch it again.
It’s all in the details
Before you know it, you HAVE to watch it once ever year. (At least) That’s when you realize that a movie has changed you.
It certainly changed me.