Logo – Viken Filmsenter

Fullt hus hos Fernanda Rossi

NB! Artikkelen er flere år gammel!

Kinoen på kunstnernes hus var stappfull da dramaturg Fernanda Rossi gjestet Viken filmsenter med sitt heldagsverksted «Storytelling strategies for documentaries» mandag 18. september.

Arrangementet hadde 85 deltakere og filmskapere på venteliste. Fernanda Rossi, som har base i New York, har holdt dette fortellerteknikk-foredraget i over 40 land. 18. september kom hun til Viken filmsenter og kinoen på Kunstnernes hus.  Hun ønsker ikke å gi deltakerne en fasit, eller en oppskrift, på hva som er bra eller dårlig, men derimot å gi deltakerne verktøy til å jobbe med en større bevissthet rundt struktur og dramaturgi. Underveis i foredraget inviterte hun også til deltakelse på ulike måter.

Dagen etter, tirsdag 19. september, veiledet Rossi filmskapere i små grupper. Dette var et tilbud Viken filmsenter ga til filmskapere som har motatt utviklingstilskudd, eller deltar på vårt utviklingsprogram; Veier ut av Viken.

Vi håper å få henne tilbake i 2018.



Her kan du lese Rossi sine svar på noen av spørsmålene hun tok opp på verkstedet:


I’m in my first week of editing and I have this horrible feeling that in 100 hours of footage there won’t be enough even for a short. How can I stretch my film beyond the short format?


Most likely you are suffering of first-week-of-editing-jitters rather than a real short versus long format dilemma. Sometimes it seems like: “Do I have enough to tell the story?” Other times: “Oh my God I have so much amazing material I need a six-part series.” Neither reflects the reality of the situation, but more a projection of what story structure issues you are having with your film

The decision between short and long format shouldn’t be based on how much footage you’ve shot, but rather on the story elements that are available and evident in that footage. Some questions to ask yourself, preferably much earlier than the first day of editing, are: How many characters do I have? How many of those characters have a goal? How many characters are just expositional? How many aspects of those characters can be expanded and revisited? Many characters with strong story arcs call for long format, while expositional portraits with few angles are generally best suited for shorts.

You might have gone into your project with the intention of shooting a long format film and the topic or character wore thin. Although the opposite scenario is more common, going from long to short can be tough to accept, and even tougher to explain to investors and/or funders. Maybe you have to wait and shoot more, or embrace the great possibilities and rewards of a short.

Given how small screens are bountiful in short films, the format is not something to dread but to embrace.



I have many ideas for a documentary—how do I decide which idea to go with, and how do I develop a story out of an idea?


Choosing which ideas to pursue is where all filmmaking starts. You have a very important decision ahead of you so before you pull out the latest box-office numbers and make vector calculations of the future, I recommend you test your passion.

I suggest to write down all your ideas on separate index cards. (Yes, there is value in working analogically rather than digitally! Long story will tell you when I see at the workshop) Lay them out on the floor and build a pyramid, with the idea that you like the most at the very top. Try to imagine which one of these ideas you would enjoy thinking about, shooting, and editing every day for the next (at least) three years. An idea that intrigues and amazes you will do the same for your audience.

While shuffling your cards, you may be happy to discover that ideas for different films are actually just different angles of an overall concept. Feel free to redo the cards to illustrate these changes.

Then choose one or two ideas out of that pile – the ones that resonate the most. To check for story development potential, ask yourself as many questions as possible about each idea. Also what do you see happening to the characters? Then take imaginary photographs of that imaginary story. Are you overwhelmed by images or can you not get past the still photo for the poster of the film? How about sound? Can you listen to many people commenting or do you hear a voice-over explaining abstract concepts?

These preliminary exercises can help you get started in asking core questions about your future documentary. Budget, marketability, co-production income, comparative financial analysis of similar films, and even distribution totals are all equally important numbers. But when the work has to be done day in and day out, there is only one number that really matters: one-self.


Les hennes tanker omkring det hun kaller den første myten. 

Myth 1: “If you don’t have a conflict you don’t have a film.”


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