Visual Storytelling: An Introduction for Directors, Writers & Producers

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Visual Storytelling: An Introduction for Directors, Writers & Producers

Sat, 3 Sep 2022 to Sun, 4 Sep 2022

Times: 10.30am-5.30pm
Duration: 2 days
Capacity: Approx. 20 participants
Fee: £250

How do you tell a story visually? What makes a film a film, and not TV? We could say a "real" movie is one that's mostly comprehensible with the sound turned off. But where do we start? In this 2-day workshop, director Josh Appignanesi takes participants shot by shot into the heart of cinema by introducing the following issues:

  • What choices make a shot tell the story your way? How do you use composition, framing, blocking of actors and their position to camera? Background, palette, costume, lenses, light, camera movement?
  • How do you juxtapose this shot with your other shots through editing, to create suspense and involvement?
  • How do you create a system of images that, by repetition and inversion, build tellingly into a moving and memorable visual story?
  • Audiences are already saturated in the visual grammar of other films - collectively known as "genres." How do you refer to and exploit the assumptions every audience brings to a film in advance?
  • What is it that makes a given filmmaker distinctive?
  • How do you apply these ideas practically in your prep and on your set, getting your ideal shots as well as your coverage?

With inspiring film examples, practical storyboarding exercises, and analysis of participants' own films, this workshop will give you the tools you need.

Taxi Driver exercise

Though introductory in nature, the workshop would also benefit those with some prior filmmaking experience. Part of the workshop will be dedicated to analysing participants’ own work. Participants are therefore encouraged to bring along an example of their own work - preferably a short film in DVD format with a maximum running time of 10 minutes. Josh will address as many projects as he can within the allotted time.

(Please note: It is by no means compulsory to bring a film for Josh to analyse. It's merely an option for those who'd like to get some feedback.)

Recent Feedback:

"The subject matter and the level was exactly as I'd hoped. Neither too technical nor too basic. I make ads and short films with no training and felt I needed to venture beyond instinct. I wanted an introduction to the vocabulary of directing, hoping to learn the basics of how composition, action, choice of angles, shots etc feeds into editing and storytelling, and the course delivered just what I wanted. Josh is a great teacher who kept us all engaged throughout. His depth of knowledge and understanding is worn lightly and shared keenly, and he enthused the class with his love of the subject. Great examples, insightful explanation, inspiring exercises and lots of energy. It was a diverse group but Josh included everyone and was sensitive to different people's needs. A great intro to the magic – and magic tricks – of telling stories with moving images." 

Frank, Participant 2019

Watch the trailer for Josh Appignanesi's latest feature, FEMALE HUMAN ANIMAL. 

“Unnerving, riveting, and mesmerising.... The unity of Appignanesi’s brilliant cinematic vision and Aridjis’ compelling and vulnerable performance makes Female Human Animal resonate.”  Hannah Clugston, Little White Lies




Tutor profile: Josh Appignanesi, Writer, Director

Josh recently directed the feature FEMALE HUMAN ANIMAL, "a #MeToo thriller for female surrealists set in the real life art-world", which Little White Lies called "Unnerving, riveting and mesmerising" and The Observer called "A Triumph." It premiered at Sheffield Doc/Fest.

Previous features include acclaimed documentary feature THE NEW MAN, the ethnic indie comedy THE INFIDEL (Tribeca), scripted by David Baddiel and starring Omid Djalili, Richard Schiff, Archie Panjabi & Miranda Hart, and his debut feature SONG OF SONGS, a religious psychodrama written with Jay Basu and starring Natalie Press (award winning at Edinburgh, London, Rotterdam and BIFA nominated).

Josh also co-wrote romcom ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME starring Sarah Jessica Parker, and has directed talent such as John Malkovich, Tom Hiddleston, David Tennant, Sarah Kestelman and Michelle Dockery, and collaborated with artist Martin Creed among others. He makes commercials at Independent.

His teaching includes London Film School, Roehampton University, Film London’s Microwave, Guardian Masterclasses, and the Met Film School.

"Very very moving and revealing.. Told with great honesty and love."

Mark Kermode, BBC5

“Appignanesi jumps, in one beautifully executed move, to join the front rank of new British directors. His timing is perfect, his feel for the rhythm of moral action is bracing.”

“Startlingly, for this second project, Appignanesi shifts gear for something more confrontational and taboo-busting... a broad comedy that gleefully and repeatedly stamps on the tender toes of liberal correctness.”
Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN

"A cinematic milestone… a challenging, unashamedly intellectual rigour to it. In both style and content, the film reveals a distinctive and bold new voice in British cinema."
Jason Solomons, THE OBSERVER

"A daringly original debut."
Wendy Ide, THE TIMES

"A powerful and confident work and shows that Appignanesi is seriously committed to cultivating a real cinematic language."
Peter Bradshaw, THE GUARDIAN

UK Agent: Matthew Bates at Sayle Screen
US Agent: Abram Nalibotsky at Verve