Creativity can be channeled in many directions, expressed through many mediums. At the heart of it all, however, there’s always an emotion to communicate or a story to tell.
Filmmaker Dena Seidel might, for that reason, prefer to be known as a visual artist. Her work is anchored in moving pictures, but her perspective is much broader than the silver screen alone. As she explained to the Copyright Alliance for its Creative Works series:
“There isn’t a website out there that isn’t using video content. There isn’t an NGO that doesn’t need a narrative.”
Seidel sees filmmaking as very close to writing, in the sense that you need to be able to tell a story and have it keep people captivated. She explains the filming process in terms of using tools to tell that story, her camera the writing implement.
By capturing segments of the story, she is able to piece together the most important parts and use her acumen for visual media to express the narrative in the most effective, expressive way.
Her latest project, Antarctic Edge: 70° South, is a wonderful example of this.
Science can easily become a dry set of studies and research results, unless you have a talented storyteller on board. Dubbed a “science-in-action feature film,” Antarctic Edge focuses more on the story behind the science of climate change and those who play a crucial role in developing it.
This is especially important when we consider how controversial even raising the issue is to some people. Promoting a story first, message second approach avoids the immediate conflict that a direct political style would raise, giving viewers time to consider different perspectives before responding to what they see. This offers another route for cause-based creators to travel in order to get their message across.
When it comes down to motivation and creativity, however, Seidel is clearly all about the story. The distinction she makes between her medium and her art is an interesting one, and something that could be helpful to other creators who are feeling limited by their tools or the category of art in which they find themselves lumped.