On Friday December 1st, a few students from the Eastern Meditteranean International School (EMIS) started their weekend participating in an intimate workshop with NYU Tisch Professor, writer, director, and producer Tzipi Trope. After a brief introduction explaining her diverse background as a filmmaker including documentaries, features films, and series, Tzipi dove into the workshop describing how nearly everything in life can be understood as storytelling. Looking into the structure and composition of a story has been a question that humans have asked for generations, the most famous historic example likely being Aristotle. For a film, the general storytelling arc begins with the exposition in act one, establishing and grounding the characters and giving the audience a general idea of what is going on. By the end of the second act the confrontation occurs, followed by the third act where usually a moment of realization takes place.
While Tzipi detailed the technical and conceptual structure of films, what was truly inspiring was her unique perspective on the power of film. Tzipi explained that behind each film or story the creator must identify their intent. What is the point that they are trying to convey? What story are they trying to tell? What question are they trying to answer? Crucially, however, Tzipi cautioned that while being an artist and telling a story one must remember to be a human being. By this she means approaching the story without any preconceived notions and allow the process of storytelling and capturing to unfold in a way that is honest to the story and its characters. This also means not trying to be for or against something, and instead give the story more power and truth by telling it from an unbiased perspective.
In any story there are multiple layers of understanding and reality that the storyteller must try to illuminate and navigate to fully appreciate the complexity of any human experience. Keeping in mind their intent, amongst these layers the storyteller must try to appeal to the universal emotional cords, which requires an appreciation of their own emotional cords. Additionally, a good storyteller must also conduct extensive research to comprehend the context, background, and characters of the story.
Tzipi showed clips of some of her works and asked students to share stories that they want to tell. She explained how she would approach such stories and encouraged them to dedicate time and energy into projects that they are passionate about. In today's world of technological advancement, Tzipi told the students that anyone can make films and utilize their ability to impact and influence positive change in the world. The students left the enriching workshop thinking of ideas and possibilities of how their creative endeavours can take on new and elevated meaning!