There is no doubt that film has evolved tremendously over time; a great example of the evolution would be evolving from traditional linear storytelling to integrated flashback sequences. And who can really deny the beast that has become CGI (computer generated imagery), and these don’t even include all the new methods of story-telling let alone the advancements of technology in film making that are used that most audiences have no idea about. All of these film making techniques, technologies, and special effects have changed the way we choose to produce films and have made a tremendous impact on the audience by allowing access to content world-wide.
With so much progression happening across the film industry, how can the independent filmmakers compete with the behemoth budgets that can be conjured up by the big studios with their flashy productions and seamless use of CGI? Have all the old techniques disappeared in this modern age? What if we went back to some of the truly amazing aspects of more traditional techniques and styles of storytelling? What if we challenged filmmakers to really strip down the films and told their stories like they did, back in the day and brought back silent films? Well, silent films aren’t quite extinct as we saw most recently A Quiet Place, directed and acted by John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, that used the technique because it also was a part of the story, however; it is rare to see a silent film being promoted and circulating in festivals, let alone in a theatrical release. We have grown to expect sound, dialogue, and big bangs of action. These are not bad things by far but they’re not the only things that make a film great either. This progression of stepping out of bounds and being innovative is what has led us to the films of today which would make us question why we would want a silent film, but let me give you my argument.
First, without dialogue, you don’t have to have language translation if you want your film to be shown in other countries that have different languages. Second, facial expressions and body language are great methods of communication. Facial expressions and body language are mostly identifiable to many people with of course some differences in some cultures, but overall it conveys feelings and motivations quite well. Third, if you think about great actors, they also can provide story and narrative by what they don’t do, don’t say or the way that they move. This type of movie, with no sound, would truly allow an actor to stretch their talents and craft as well as challenge a director to get the absolute best from them. The film would be seen and have the same experience for every person around the world without having to hear a language or dubbed voices and even those that are hearing impaired.
There are questions, such as is the filmmaker up for the challenge? Would the actors be able to carry the film just with their actions alone? Would dramatic acting through body language be enough visuals for a satisfying and successful silent film? Would the silence be too unusual for the audience to be able to sit through? Will the ambient noises in the theater be distracting? Do you think music would help? Silent films require the utmost attention because you are only using your vision to help you follow the story, so is your story engaging enough? If you are able to answer these questions and other questions that you come up with, then you are up to the challenge.
This is great news. Your film in its entirety will receive the undivided attention it deserves. As it should. It is a pretty bold move to produce a silent film but, you could certainly consider that the budget would be greatly reduced and you would have an excellent marketing story to tell. Take a look out there and see if you can find an excellent silent film. Maybe you’ll find one that really impresses you. That would really prove that the film was exceptional with the acting, directing and all the visuals on the screen that truly kept you engaged. I hope you consider my challenge. Haven’t you seen that message that sometimes comes on before the film starts? You know, the one that tells you to turn off your mobile?
“Silence is Golden.”