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Theme as the Key to Movie Storytelling

Movies are the most complex art. They combine actions, characters, places, talk,, things, plot, sounds, and light. The challenge arising from this richness is finding coherence. In his classic book The Art of Dramatic Writing Lajos Egri advises that writers start with the theme. By theme, Egri means the one big idea that audiences will remember. While Egri’s focus was theater, his concept works equally well when it comes to movie storytelling. Conrad Mess illustrates the power of theme in the trailer for his new short movie “Time to Pay Off Debts.”

While often the theme is implicit, in many great films the theme is articulated. A famous example comes in the last line of “The Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy says: “There’s no place like home.” Conrad Mess employs this strategy at the end of his trailer. (No spoiler alert. You’re going to have to watch the trailer. But we guarantee you’ll like it.)

“Time to Pay Off Debts,” shot using an iPhone 6S+ and FiLMiC Pro,  will have its premier at this year’s Mojocon International Media Conference held in Dublin. You can learn more about Conrad Mess’s breakthrough mobile moviemaking in this MMM post and at Mess’s official site.



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