Emily McDeed is a young storyteller IDEAS has worked with in the past, she’s written fiction for the past 10 years and enjoys analyzing animated films. You can follow Emily on her on her portfolio and new blog, Films, Falls, and Free-For-Alls.
When I was 12, I was mesmerized by a huge, spinning ball of fire. Not the fantastical kind, like from a dragon, but the rustic ones you see spinning on a pole from a glass blower’s hand. Seeing them, I felt like I was in the 19th century, as the crucible looked like a brick oven within the room at the Murano Island of Italy. As a kid, I couldn’t imagine how someone had enough patience to blow into it so, so many times, or how it could somehow transform the ball into a beautiful work of art.
Now, as an artist, I do. I realize that glassblowing is a lot like building a story: You have to keep your piece, the purpose or message behind your story, constantly fueled by the crucible, your passion, while you’re molding it together with tools and assistants, your talent. If you don’t nurture these components while it’s created, something about your glass piece, or finished product, will be off. Whether it’s a sharp edge, a misguided design, or a broken piece entirely.
In the case of fiction or films, the mishap could be anything from the dialogue, character development, or visual parts of the story. To me, that’s the underlying reason for why an audience will leave your story before it’s finished—because the passion behind it is lost from the other components not working together well. Sometimes it is just because someone loses interest, but it’s still the artist’s worst nightmare. That’s why we spend hundreds of dedicated hours, sweat, and tears on a production to make sure everything works without the audience noticing anything but the story—so they can go away with fascination after feeling that passion themselves.
It sounds so simple, but the ingredients that make up the story can be as complicated as they are intricate. Even when writing a story, you have the basic structure—setting, characters, and plot progression—but adding in personality, context, and your own voice is what makes it unique, much like the colored pieces a glassblower will roll into their work. As tedious as it is, spinning and molding in all of those pieces can make your work that much more exciting. All you need is the right balance of creativity, passion, patience, and perseverance to keep going until your story’s complete.