On Film Production Courses vs. `Film Theory’

Film Production Courses vs Film `Theory'

A Response (by JT Velikovsky) – to a very thought-provoking (and, entirely commendable) article, written by the eminent short-film scholar/teacher, Richard Raskin, in the July 2018 issue of the SRN‘s official quarterly Newsletter… 

So first –

Some Helpful Background information, about Richard Raskin:

Richard Raskin is the founding editor of the (excellent) Intellect journal, Short Film Studies.

See also, Richard Raskin’s Personal Homepage for his many other career achievements!

Richard has also written this excellent book, which I highly recommend to all my Short Filmmaking students: (also, to the tall students; I am all for equal rights.)

The Art of the Short Fiction FIlm - Raskin

The Art of the Short Fiction Film (Raskin 2002)

And below is, a terrific short presentation (on: Short Films vs. Feature Films) that Richard gave at the the Screenwriting Research Network Conference, 2016:

And here is An Interview with Richard Raskin:

 And another video (Interview with Richard Raskin, Jan 2017):

And – this particular Response (below) was: 

Conceived, written, executed, illustrated, diagrammed, and then published on this Ph.D-weblog, by:  J T Velikovsky.

But first, before we get to my actual Response to Raskin’s short essay…

Some More: Context / Backstory…

So; as you may well know, the world’s leading international academic body solely devoted to the scholarly research study of Screenwriting (in all its forms) is:

The Screenwriting Research Network (The SRN).

And – a short excerpt, from the SRN‘s official website:

`The Screenwriting Research Network is a research group consisting of scholars, reflective practitioners and practice-based researchers interested in research on screenwriting. The aim is to rethink the screenplay in relation to its histories, theories, values and creative practices.’

Source: The Official SRN Website (2018, online)

So… (as an aside) – If you are a screenwriting scholar – and/or, a screenwriter interested to keep up with the latest research on screenwriting theory and practice – you should join the SRN-!

(…It’s free!)

And especially if you are a “scholar, reflective practitioner and/or practice-based researcher interested in research on screenwriting”-!

The Instructions on how to join the SRN are on the site:

Join the SRN webpage

How to join the SRN at (https://screenwritingresearch.com/)

I attended the 2012 Screenwriting Research Network conference in Sydney, Australia – it was a terrific conference, and the SRN are a truly lovely group of people! (I blogged and also vlogged about that 2012 conference, here.)

2012 SRN conference

The SRN also publishes a quarterly Newsletter:

SRN Newsletter 2 screenie

The SRN Quarterly Newsletter (#2, July 2018)

Below are the first 3 SRN newsletters (as PDFs), from 2018, for those who were not on the SRN’s mailing list (…once again, it’s free to join!)

SRN Newsletter March 2018 Nr. 1

SRN-Newsletter-July-2018 Nr. 2

SRN Newsletter Nov 2018 Nr. 3

In Newsletter Number 2, July 2018 (PDF, above), Richard Raskin published an excellent (and very thought-provoking) essay…!

Here it is again, if for some strange reason you don’t want to click the link to SRN Newsletter #2, above:

Thinking Film Production

From eminent short film scholar, and founding editor of Intellect journal Short Film Studies, Richard Raskin:

On why film theory has no place in film production courses

Colleagues sometimes tell me that it’s good our students get to apply in my production courses some of the principles they have learned in their courses on film theory.

That common misconception presupposes that although the learning processes may be different, the forms of reflection that are in play in a production course are essentially the same as those that are learned in a theory course.

This is not the case.

One major goal of a production course is for students to learn to think like a filmmaker (learning to make choices that deepen and enrich their storytelling), while in their other courses, students have ample opportunities to learn to think like a theoretician (learning the logic and vocabulary of theoretical constructs and their analytical applications).

A related misconception is that unless film theory is brought into play in a production course, then the students are learning only mechanical skills.

Consequently – it is argued – there should be a balance of theory and practice in a production course.

What I would suggest instead is that in a production course there should be a balance or interplay of storytelling know-how and hands-on craftsmanship, and that the learning of storytelling know-how involves developing forms of reflection that are intellectually worthy in their own right and should not be confused with film theory in the ordinary sense of the term.

Aspects of storytelling know-how and its strategic applications include, among many forms:

a) an ability to identify and resolve storytelling problems;

b) an ability to determine whether in any given narrative there are missed storytelling opportunities that might enrich the viewer’s experience;

c) an ability to generate a set of alternate ways of moving from Point A to Point B in a narrative, and an ability to gauge the advantages and disadvantages of each of those possible choices – that is, to carry out a kind of cost/benefit analysis for each of the options;

d) an ability to foresee whether or not viewers are likely to experience the meaning or importance of any given shot as intended;

e) an ability to enhance the enriching, engaging, gratifying, fulfilling, pleasurable and meaningful qualities of a given film so that it earns the viewer’s experience of the film as worthy of sharing and of watching again.

These abilities and corresponding forms of reflection are not normally learned in courses in film theory and are the proper substance of whatever “theoretical and methodological reflections” exam requirements may sometimes call for in connection with production courses or projects.

[Richard Raskin, in SRN Newsletter #2, July 2018]

This (great) essay by Raskin reminds me of a (rather amusing) dialog line from the (terrific) film, Berberian Sound Studio (Writer: Strickland, Director: Strickland 2012):

Stow the Film Theory please

Shots from the (excellent) film: Berberian Sound Studio (Strickland 2012)

(Side Note: For more on the giallo film genre, if you’re not familiar with it, click: here.)

At any rate:

In my view, Raskin is quite right…!

Film (so-called) “Grand Theory” of the kind below (for e.g., say, Culler 2011) has no place on a film set… (Nor even, in a Film Post-Production facility… Nor, in a screenwriting or movie/film production class…

Culler - Literary Theory - not useful to Filmmakers at all

Literary `Theory’ (Culler 2011). (Filmmakers have no practical use, for this kind of thing.)

It’s just not useful for Filmmakers…

`Grand Theory’ doesn’t solve any problems – creative, or otherwise.)

And, Creativity Science tells us that all creativity (including: making a successful short film) is just: Problem-Solving.

And so, now, here (below) is — my own Response, to the excellent short essay (above) by Raskin…

But, wait…

First – maybe we also need a little Context / Backstory (…about: Me) 

JTV shooting on BlackMagic

JTV and, a little BlackMagic


So I studied an undergrad (Bachelor) degree in Communication (Screenwriting major) at the University of Newcastle, NSW Australia, from 1991-3… I then worked in the screen industries (aka Creative Industries) as a film, videogame, TV, and transmedia screenwriter (variously also, often working concurrently as: a producer, director, actor, crew, script editor, creative consultant, etc) – for 20 years. During that time, I also became a million-selling transmedia screenwriter (film, TV, games, etc)…

JTV 20 years as a writer

(…But of course, “overnight success” takes ten years on average.)


StoryAlity #7 – On “the 10-Year Rule” in Creativity (in any complex cultural domain)

StoryAlity #8 – More on the 10-Year Rule” and Creativity, in Movie Screenwriting

Anyway… it was a wild ride~!

Although, many in the screen industries, have little idea, what they’re doing… (Maybe that’s why, 70% of movies lose money…?) If you want hard evidence of this claim (about film executives being promoted to the level of their incompetence) – then, take a listen to this (below), as just one amusing real-world example:

`The Accidental Film Studio Executive’ (The Moth Radio Hour) (6 mins 21 secs)

The Moth - Carlos Kotkin v2

And maybe sometime, maybe even try reading, these:

STORY NOTES FROM HELL – Collection of story notes screenwriters received from Hollywood studio executives. And general anecdotes from the trenches of screenwriting.

Here’s one amusing example of StoryNotesFromHell:

`Blake Snyder says

I was working on an assignment at a production company, whose owner, a competent storyteller, hired his brother in law as a story supervisor. Here’s the first email I received from him, after he read my work-in-progress.


You should read Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. What I was missing was a “save the cat moment”, where he does something that makes us like him. Also, the CATALYST should happen on page 12. I don’t see the catalyst on page 12 in the draft you sent me?

I really think you should check out Save the Cat.

Shortly after, I quit.’

(Story Notes From Hell, 2018, online)

Namely, there are the 2 key problems, of: ignorance (having inadequate information), and inexperience

And, furthermore – if you read this excellent book:

In it, you will find, factoids like this one (below), about the film industry:

`Individuals tend to attribute causality improperly. They tend to attribute their successes to ability, and their failures to bad luck. This error affects how they approach risk in the movie business. If executives attribute poor outcomes to bad luck, then they will overestimate risk… If they attribute good outcomes to their ability, then they will be inclined to take too much risk.’

(De Vany 2004, p. 97)

So, anyway: After 20 years of professional, international (US, UK, & Australia), screen industry experience (including as a judge for the Screenwriters Guild, and also for the Screen Directors Guild) — I then decided to go back to academia, to do a Ph.D on: Analyzing: Successful (i.e. Creative) Movie Screenwriting (in short, on, movie creativity…)

[A Side Note: Whenever I am writing, and you read the word “creative” you can swap in, the synonym “successful”. …And, vice-versa: “Successful”, in the screen industries, means “creative“. By the way, the standard bipartite definition of creativity is: new and useful.]

Specifically, in doing the Ph.D, I wanted to find, Answers to the two Real-World Problems…

Namely, why:

99% of screenplays do not get produced, as movies, (…true fact-!)

and — of the 1% of screenplays, that actually do get made into movies,

70% of movies lose money~! (…also, a: true fact-!)

…This (some would rightly say, serious) Real-World Problem, is called:

The Less-Than-1% Problem, in the Movie Industry.

The Less-Than-One-Percent Problem (Velikovsky 2014)

The `Less-Than-One-Percent’ Problem, in the Movie Industry  (Velikovsky, Ph.D dissertation on movie creativity, 2016)

And, the solution to that real-world problem, is actually inmy Ph.D dissertation…!

Compare top and bottom 20 RoI movies Zipf curve

In short, model your strategy on the 1% who succeed, and not: the 99% that fail.

…Here, (again), FYI, is, that Ph.D.  (It is free, online. Click here, for the PDF.)

JTV PhD Cover

The StoryAlity Ph.D on Movie Success (Velikovsky 2016)

Here’s a short video about it:

…Mainly, I did the Ph.D study, in order to “give something back”… So that others might likewise, succeed – and become one of: the 1%!

I also did the Ph.D., in order to communicate, what I had witnessed and learned (after 20 years of immersion) in the intensely-competitive (and often sadly ignorant) screen industry, for the benefit of screen media students, and, future aspiring screen-media practitioners

But of course: I was one of the “lucky” 1% (read: successful) ones, in my screen career….!

I made about 50 x short films (most of them, multi-award-winning), and, also created successful movies, TV, and videogames… (even music too, as it happens.) I even created a top 20 RoI feature film (i.e. a feature film that made over 71 times its budget; I wrote, produced, directed, and also starred in it. But I digress).

And, in looking back, if I had to attribute any of my success to just one single thing, it would be:

Creative Practice Theory.

Namely, a confluence of the creative:

  1. Person(ality),
  2. Potential,
  3. Process,
  4. Product,
  5. Place,
  6. Press, and
  7. Persuasion.

…Well; That, and,

The Anna Karenina Principle.


StoryAlity #131 – Why Things (like, some Movies) Are Popular – and – The Anna Karenina Principle

And a good book that summarizes all of this, in the light of Creativity Science, is:

Educating for Creativity within Higher Education: Integration of Research into Media Practice (Creativity, Education and the Arts) (eds: McIntyre, Fulton, Kerrigan, Paton, Meany 2018)

…And now, another brief FLASHBACK:

Here’s one of my own short films.

Rocket Man (1997): The incredible true story of Darwin Edward Cole, the serial killer who saved the world. (10 mins, Rated R)

Namely, that was my film school (AFTRS) graduation short film (Rocket Man – 10 mins, Rated R), which achieved the Best Film accolade at The International Congress of Film Schools, back in 1997. (At the Congress, all 117 film schools in the world take along the best graduation short film that students from their institution have produced, each year.)

And, I’ve also been lucky enough to have written award-winning feature films:

Caught Inside (2011)

And, have written and game-designed million-selling videogames…

Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal (2007)

And, have had movie screenplays optioned by Robert Watts (producer of the first 3 Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies)…

(And for vastly more detail, see the 100+ videos & short films, on: JT Velikovsky’s YouTube channel. …If, you like that sort of thing.)

And so now – with, the Backstory and historical Context, finally out of the way…

And now, for my:

Response to Richard Raskin’s excellent essay,

in the (July 2018) SRN Newsletter.

…Are you ready?

Because, here it comes…


J T Velikovsky’s

Response to:

“On why film theory has no place in film production courses” (Raskin 2018)

[…drum roll…]

Richard Raskin is quite right; it doesn’t. 

(…You learn filmmaking by doing it.

Because all of life is doing science:

i.e., (1) Expectation (aka, `Hypothesis’);

and then,

(2) Experiment… Via Trial-and-Error.) *

And a film that succeeds, was: A successful experiment.



A Response to

Richard Raskin’s excellent essay,

in the

(July 2018) 

SRN Newsletter.


Response, written by

J T Velikovsky, Ph.D.

(19th December 2018).

P.S.    * Read my (2016) Ph.D, (and, even this entire Ph.D weblog), to find out: Why: all of life, even filmmaking, is: doing science.

Thanks for reading…

Comments, always welcome.


JT Velikovsky, Ph.D

& High-R.o.I. Story / Screenplay / Movie & Transmedia Researcher & Consultant

& Human (& Computer) Creativity Researcher 

& Evolutionary Systems Analyst

For more details: See the research in my 2016 doctoral thesis: “Communication, Creativity and Consilience in Cinema”, elements of which are reproduced here for the benefit of fellow screenwriting, filmmaking and creativity researchers, and bio-cultural evolutionary scholars. 

For more academic articles by the exact same author, see https://aftrs.academia.edu/JTVelikovsky

See also: StoryAlity Screenwriting Masters course outline.

JT Velikovsky is a million-selling Transmedia writer-director-producer and game designer & writer. He has also been a professional Story Analyst (i.e., Screen Reader) for major movie studios, film funding organizations, independent film production companies and also for the national writer’s guild. He is also a judge for the writers guild and the director’s guild. Velikovsky’s Transmedia-Writing weblog: http://on-writering.blogspot.com/


DE VANY, A. S. (2004). Hollywood Economics: How Extreme Uncertainty Shapes The Film Industry, London; New York, Routledge.

VELIKOVSKY, J. T. (2016). `Communication, Creativity and Consilience in Cinema: A comparative study of the top 20 Return-on-Investment (RoI) Movies and the Doxa of Screenwriting’. PhD Thesis, University of Newcastle.


Okay, so; maybe you were expecting slightly-more of a Response than, that

….With that in mind, here is:

slightly-more of a: Response

J T Velikovsky’s

Slightly-longer, slightly more of a…

Response To:

“On why film theory has no place in film production courses” (Raskin 2018)

Raskin makes a great point.

Film (so-called) “Theory” is more for: academics, who aren’t filmmakers themselves…

Not so much, for: folks who are trying to become actual filmmakers.

David Bordwell rightly criticizes (or, demolishes?), Film (so-called) “Grand Theory” in the Introduction (pp. 1-7) to his (excellent) Poetics of Cinema (2008):

Poetics of Cinema - Bordwell - cover

Poetics of Cinema (Bordwell 2008)

(Bordwell also – quite rightly – demolishes the Modern Language Association: And see all ten of the Footnotes on it, in his Poetics of Cinema, as well.)

`Most humanists’ conception of theory – or as we should call it Theory, aka Grand Theory – is at once too broad and too narrow.

It’s too broad because it presumes that all human activity can be subsumed within some master conceptual scheme (even though some postmodernists advance the conceptual scheme that all conceptual schemes are fatally flawed).

The current conception of Theory is too narrow because it presumes a limited conception of how one does intellectual work.

The rise of Theory crushed theories and discouraged theorizing.

Grand Theory created bad habits of mind.

It encouraged argument from authority, ricochet associations, vague claims, dismissal of empirical evidence, and the belief that preening self-presentation was a mode of argument.

Proponents of Theory routinely play up the differences among theoretical positions, but they ignore what unites them – the idea that any program propelled by doctrines can be applied, via imaginative extrapolation, to one phenomenon or another. The cluster of doctrines isn’t questioned sceptically; the effort goes into diligent application. Or at least some of the effort.

A lot, perhaps the bulk of it, goes into rhetoric of a particular kind….

We have lived with this writing for 30 years. Its limping cadences, convulsive syntax and strategic confusions have dulled our senses.

Very likely, no one in the history of English ever published prose as incomprehensible as that signed by Theorists.’

(Bordwell 2008, p. 2)

In short:

Filmmaking is: hard…!

It is easy, to make a bad film.

Film storytelling (narrative cinema) is: a deeply-complex, creative, cultural activity

(Which is also why my 2016 PhD on SUCCESSFUL (i.e. CREATIVE) filmmaking, uses: Complexity Theory… and, Systems Science…!)

And, if all filmmaking is (complex), then Successful filmmaking is: even harder (i.e., even more complex)…!

For a start, most folks studying filmmaking aren’t even taught about The Scientific Study of Creativity, which is a vast body of scientific knowledge that has been growing ever since J P Guilford’s 1950 speech to the American Psychological Association, about the need for Psychologists to scientifically study creativity.

But – now, (since: 1950, onwards!) there are a selection of excellent (consilient) books and articles on the scientific study of creativity, listed online here. (By coincidence, it’s – mostly – the Bibliography of my (2016) Ph.D.)

My key point here, is:

There is Good Theory – and Bad Theory when it comes to: actual filmmaking.

Good Film Theory, is:

David Bordwell’s excellent work on film “problem-solution schemas”, and, theory from the scientific study of creativity, such as Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s, and D K Simonton’s and R K Sawyer’s and Mark Runco’s, and Peter Bloore’s work on: film creativity.  

For examples, see:

BORDWELL, D. [2008] 2010. What Snakes, Eagles and Rhesus Macaques Can Teach Us. In: BOYD, B., CARROLL, J. & GOTTSCHALL, J. (eds.) Evolution, Literature and Film: A Reader. New York: Columbia University Press.

Evolution Literature and Film - A Reader

Evolution, Literature, and Film: A Reader (eds: Boyd, Carroll & Gottschall 2010)

And, see:

BORDWELL, D. 2012. The Viewer’s Share: Models of Mind in Explaining Film [online]. Madison, WI: http://www.davidbordwell.net/.

At http://www.davidbordwell.net/essays/viewersshare.php

The above is yet another brilliant essay by Bordwell, which closes with this crucial paragraph:

`Academics praise interdisciplinarity, of the cooperation of the humanities and the sciences. Too often, though, that cooperation involves only interpretations.

Humanists join with social scientists in producing readings but not explanations.

The engagement of film studies with empirical psychology and cognitive science over the last three decades has come closer to providing the sort of “consilience” that Edward O. Wilson proposed: unified explanations that bring art, humanistic inquiry, and scientific inquiry together (Wilson 1998).

Film researchers invoke naturalistic models and findings from psychology in order to understand more fully how cinema works, and works with our minds.’

Source: Bordwell 2012, online

And, see also:

On Consilience, Evocriticism, (a.k.a. Bioaesthetics, Biopoetics, or, Literary Darwinism) – and StoryAlity Theory

  1. StoryAlity #71 – On Consilience in the Arts / Humanities / Communication
  2. StoryAlity #71B – Invalid criticisms of Consilience
  3. StoryAlity #71C – Consilience, and Vertical Integration
  4. StoryAlity #71D – CineMetrics
  5. StoryAlity #72 – Gene Theory and Story: G,T,C,A… (coincidence..?)
  6. StoryAlity #73 – The Hero’s Journey: It’s Not What You Think

And, see:

BORDWELL, D. 2011. Common Sense + Film Theory = Common-Sense Film Theory? [Online]. Madison, WI: http://www.davidbordwell.net/.

At: http://www.davidbordwell.net/essays/commonsense.php#_edn23

And see this excellent book, on screenwriting/filmmaking creativity:

BLOORE, P. 2013. The Screenplay Business: Managing Creativity in the Film Industry. London; New York, Routledge.

The Screenplay Business - Bloore

The Screenplay Business: Managing Creativity and Script Development in the Film Industry (Bloore 2012)

And, see also my Review of it, in The Journal of Screenwriting (2014)

VELIKOVSKY, J. T. 2014. Review of: `The Screenplay Business: Managing Creativity and Script Development in the Film Industry’, by Peter Bloore, 2013. Journal of Screenwriting, 5, 283-285.

And, see also:

THOMPSON, K. & BORDWELL, D. 2010. Film History: An Introduction, New York, NY, McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

And (as already mentioned) see also:

BORDWELL, D. 2008. Poetics of Cinema, New York, Routledge.

I love this section from the above book:

`The best means to produce reliable knowledge, it seems clear, is the tradition of rational and empirical enquiry.

By rational enquiry, I mean probing concepts for their adequacy of descriptions and as explanations of problems.

Problems are stated as questions to be answered; the more concrete, the better.

Empirical enquiry – not “empiricism” as humanists have to be told over and over – involves checking our ideas against the evidence that exists independent of our beliefs and wishes – and not evidence delivered in pristine innocence, without conceptual commitments on the part of the seeker, and not facts that “speak for themselves”.

What is evidence? It’s what is corrigible in the light of further information.

And to those who believe that facts are inevitably relevant to your standpoint, I’d reply that both concepts and evidence can cut across different research frameworks…

Film studies, like most of what is pursued in the humanities, is an empirical discipline. It isn’t ontology, mathematics, or pure logic. A beautiful theory can be wounded by a counterexample…

Some will say I’ actually aiming at “science”. I’d say, rather, that I’m trying to join the tradition of rational and empirical enquiry, a broader tradition than what we usually consider to be science. This tradition includes historical research and a mix of inductive and deductive reasoning that tries to fit the answer to the question.

My aim is to produce reliable knowledge, both factual and conceptual, about film as an art form, in the hope that this knowledge will deepen peoples’ understanding about cinema.

(Bordwell 2008, pp. 2-4)

By the way in case you wonder what “poetics” means: it’s basically the study of creativity. What works, (“rules of thumb” for solving creative and artistic problems) and what doesn’t, and why…

Bordwell explains:

`The poetics of any artistic medium studies the finished work as the result of a process of construction – a process that includes a craft component (such as rules of thumb), the more general principles according to which the work is composed, and its functions, effects and uses.

Any enquiry into the fundamental principles by which artifacts in any representational medium are constructed, and the effects that flow from those principles, can fall within the domain of poetics.’

(Bordwell 2008, p. 12)

I should note:

Bordwell (2008) talks about Bazin, Eisenstein, and Noel Burch… But – this doesn’t mean that he actually uses Bazin’s phenomenology, or Eisenstein’s materialism, nor the early Burch’s serialist theory of film… (see: pp. 19-20)

And Bordwell notes that, when you study art theory or music theory, you learn craft skills.

`To a large extent, poetics is a systematic enquiry into the presuppositions of artistic traditions. It’s a practice-based theory of art.

We want to know the filmmakers’ secrets, especially those they don’t know they know.’

(Bordwell 2008, p. 22)

And, see this entire book (below), too: (David Bordwell has two chapters in there…! I cite both chapters, in my PhD.) …In fact, I cited the book in my PhD many times. (…You should read it. Either the book below, or, my Ph.D. Or both.)

Evolution Literature and Film - A Reader

BOYD, B., CARROLL, J. & GOTTSCHALL, J. 2010. Evolution, Literature and Film: A Reader, New York, Columbia University Press.

And, see this great book:

MACDONALD, I. W. 2013. Screenwriting Poetics and the Screen Idea, New York, Palgrave Macmillan.

And see this post:

StoryAlity #150 – Key Findings – from The StoryAlity PhD on High-RoI Movies

And see:

StoryAlity #54 – StoryAlity Screenwriting Guidelines – for any aspiring Writer of High-RoI Films (but you really need to read the Ph.D in full, to understand all of these Guidelines, in detail… and, Why they matter so much.)

And, see:

StoryAlity #141 – The StoryAlity-Theory `Robo-Raconteur’ Artificial-Writer (Or: Can a computer do [story] creativity?)

And, especially, see:

Creative Practice Theory.

CPT General Model Diagram Very Small

Creative Practice Theory – General Model – 2D Animated (Velikovsky 2012)

Or, to save you time, just see my (2016) PhD – which, contains all of the above.

(…I cite all these above great works in there, anyway.)

And, on the other hand…

Bad Film Theory is, like:

Freud is outdated


Freud is outdated now, it’s been superseded by Cognitive Science and Neuroscience.

…and, “Freudian film so-called) Theory” is: not even wrong

(See here and also, here for just 2 examples of: Why Freudian “Theory” is outdated, and, was never even right in the first place, anyway… Essentially.


StoryAlity #90 – Freud was wrong about Oedipus (Sugiyama) 

StoryAlity #94 – Freud was wrong  (Easterlin)

And see the recent advances in Cognitive Science!)

From SSoL‘s site:

`Broadly interpreted, literature is defined as all cultural artefacts that make use of literary devices, such as narrativity, metaphoricity, symbolism.

Its manifestations include novels, short stories, poetry, theatre, film, television, and, more recently, digital forms such as hypertext storytelling.

Scientific Study of Literature (SSOL) publishes empirical studies that apply scientific stringency to cast light on the structure and function of literary phenomena.’

See, also, this great journal:

And, for lots and lots of details of Why most film (so-called) “Theory” is so bad, see the excellent (1996!) book:

BORDWELL, D. & CARROLL, N. (1996 ! ). Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies, Madison, University of Wisconsin Press.

Post-Theory (Bordwell & Carroll 1996)

(…That great book by Bordwell & Carroll was over two decades ago, back in 1996…! …Why are some people still doing “SLAB Theory” (Saussure, Lacan & Freud, Althusser, Barthes, and, anti-scientific Continental Philosophy, etc…?) in film studies?

All of life is doing science

Especially: making films-!)


A filmmaker has a Theory (an: Expectation) that their film story will appeal to audiences….

…But: Every new film story is, a new creative problem!

And every film is a real-world scientific experiment (in: Will the audience like this…(?)

The filmmaker/storyteller has a screen idea, and then constructs their screenwork (their film), thinking: “I have a Theory, that, audiences will like (and, will understand, and appreciate) the film story I am creating, IF I do it: THIS WAY…

Then, they have to release the film “into the wild”: namely, put it in front of Audiences!

And thus, every filmmaker, has to test their own Hypothesis, and thus, FIND OUT:

IF THEIR “HYPOTHESIS WAS CORRECT, (about what other humans might like, namely, about: Human Nature) and thus – whether their EXPERIMENT [the film story, as they have told it onscreen] has SUCCEEDED – or, not…! (Or – something in-between…!)

(…And, 99% of the time, the experiment fails…!)

See biological Evolution: 99% of species are extinct…! (See this post for more on that.)

So: Do whatever you can, to gather all of the right information and experience, so that you (as a filmmaker/screen storyteller) can be in:

The 1% that succeeds!

And, as for why most Film “Theory” is not useful, see also:

StoryAlity#129 – Post-Modernist `Theory’ is dead as disco

And, either way,  if you want to succeed in movies, (or even: in film, and, they are not quite the same thing) – then, I suggest:

Read my (2016) Ph.D, on movie success (i.e. movie creativity).

As, a lot of what you have been taught about film success is: empirically wrong.

For details, see:

JTV PhD Cover

The StoryAlity Ph.D (Velikovsky 2016)

There is also an article about my (2016) Ph.D, in my article in: The Journal of Genius & Eminence (2018).

See also: Heroism Science!

Anyway, so; Richard Raskin is right.

(In his short essay, in: the July 2018 SRN Newsletter).

But – it is complex, subtle, and nuanced.

In short:

There is Good Filmmaking Theory, and, there is Bad Filmmaking Theory.

The Good stuff tells you how to do: Creativity, scientifically.

The Bad stuff, is: mostly a waste of everyone’s time

Also, filmmakers really benefit from understanding: Information Theory and Human Nature, Cognitive Science, and Evolutionary Psychology

(e.g. How are you as a filmmaker, going to convey, your story information to the viewer…? Those domains of science, tell you: What works.)

See, for example:

StoryAlity #148 – Why’s Movie Screenwriting So Tricky, Anyway?

See also, these 3 x blog-posts: 

A brief Literature Review (from: my 2016 PhD)

StoryAlity #27 – Narratology since Plato – A brief Literature Review

StoryAlity #28 – Screenwriting Manuals since 1911

StoryAlity #126 – Miller’s Compendium of Timeless Tools for the Modern Writer (2015)

I also admire this brief explanation (below) from Bordwell (2008, 2010) on why a knowledge of Evolutionary Psychology (thus: Human Nature) is crucial to effective (or successful, or creative) filmmaking:

`What processes enable us to perceive, comprehend and respond emotionally to moving pictures? Here, in gross outline, is one answer.

As humans we have evolved certain capacities and predispositions, ranging from perceptual ones (biological mechanisms for delivering information about the world we live in), to social ones (e.g., affinities with and curiosity about other humans).

Out of these capacities and predispositions, and by bonding with other conspecifics, we have built a staggeringly sophisticated array of cultural practices – skills, technologies, arts and institutions.

Moving pictures are such a practice.

We designed them to mesh with our perceptions and cognitive capacities. What hammers are to hands, movies are to minds: a tool exquisitely shaped to the powers and purposes of human activity…

If we consider culture to be an elaboration of evolutionary processes, there’s no inherent gulf between “biology” and “society” in this explanatory framework.

(Bordwell 2008, pp. 78-9)

And, Bordwell (2008) notes, the seminal work in Evolutionary Psychology is the essay by Tooby & Cosmides (1992), `Psychological Foundations of Culture’, in the (great!) book The Adapted Mind (1992). And rightly notes that, in the last decade (1998-2008) the field has exploded (Bordwell 2008, p. 443).

Check all these great Ev Psych books out! (I also cite most of them in my Ph.D.)

Anyway, so Raskin is quite right.

…But – there is Good Theory, and, Bad Theory.

Random Side Note: Back when I was studying at film school – (in: 1996) – Csikszentmihalyi’s now-legendary book, Creativity (1996) came out…

Creativity 1996

Creativity (Csikszentmihalyi 1996,                   & reprinted in 2013)

The film school (AFTRS) library actually had 6 copies of it. And in 1996 I read them all. (…Maybe, that’s the reason why I succeeded…? You really should read it. It’s a great book!)

Also there is now, this great book:

Systems Model of Creativity - Csik

~JT Velikovsky

(19th December 2018)



This Bordwell quote nails it:

`Narratives are built upon not philosophy or physics but folk psychology, the ordinary processes we use to make sense of the world.’

(Bordwell 2008, p. 173)

Finally, to examine each (excellent) point of Raskin’s, in light of the fact that:

All filmmaking is doing science:

And noting that Bordwell (2008) phrases it, like so:

`Filmmakers are practical psychologists.

They have been viewers themselves, and they are more or less accomplished practitioners of their craft, so they have many ideas about how to shape the cues to provide experiences of a particular sort. They can fail, or succeed beyond their initial hopes, but they organize the film so as to solicit a range of effects. Like all humans, filmmakers can’t anticipate, let alone determine, all the effects that may arise from their endeavors.’

(Bordwell 2008, p. 41, bold emphasis mine)

All of life is doing science:

(1) A Goal (aka a `Creative Problem’),

(2) Hypothesis/Plan for achieving that goal (i.e., Expectations: If I do it this way, then it should work), and then

(3) Experiment – via Trial and Error. (Testing your own Theory about your film by Releasing the film, to the wider world…)

Raskin rightly notes:

`Aspects of storytelling know-how and its strategic applications include, among many forms:

a) an ability to identify and resolve storytelling problems;

In short films, (as well as longform) there are always countless (creative) problems…

First of all, the basic algorithm (or, recipe, formula, pattern) for any story is:

`Story = [Character] + [Problem] + [Attempted Extrication]’

(Gottschall 2012, p. 52)

(For details, see: StoryAlity #23 – Define “A Film (or, Movie) Story”)

(And see also: StoryAlity #21 – What Makes A Film Succeed? – The Story!)

And as Bordwell (2008) phrases it:

“What characters want – Once again, facial expressions, gestures, and other cues for mind-reading are brought to us through narration, as is the larger pattern of activity in which the characters participate. In mainstream cinema, that activity is defined through desires and intentions: A character seeks to achieve a goal, finds that goal thwarted, and thus is plunged into some form of conflict.’

(Bordwell 2008, p. 34, bold emphasis mine)

(Raskin does rightly note: Short films don’t necessarily need, conflict.)

But then, noting The Anna Karenina Principle, and narrative complexityyou also have questions of:

Story Hook – What’s the “hook”? Give us some tantalizing information! (i.e. …Why should we care…? Life’s too short to experience bad narratives; let alone, badly-told bad narratives. See the Bottom 20 RoI Movies for 20 examples.)

Genre – Some people like some Genres, and hate others. (e.g. Dramas almost always lose money at the cinema box office, because: movies are escapism/entertainment, not: just more (depressing, sad) real-life problems… See my Ph.D for more on all that.) […Films are art. Movies are entertainment.] Either way, you need to be an expert on the Genre(s) you are planning on telling a story in… Otherwise you won’t be able to tell a creative story in that/those Genre(s). [Again – The standard bipartite definition of creative is “new and useful’; the tripartite definition is an artifact (e.g. a STORY) that is “new, useful, and surprising“. See What Science Says About What Creativity Is.]

Premise – The setup: i.e. Character-A in Situation-B has Problem-C… (…Do you want to know, what happens next-? Or does it make you wonder: What would I do, in that situation?)

Plot – This is where most (new) storytellers come unstuck. Every scene has to do lots of things, at once. Deepen our interest, develop character, convey information, and propel the plot along. Every Scene has to have its own (mini)-Problem(s) that the protagonist needs to solve. (If not there is no conflict, tension or suspense. And so: Who cares…? You just lost the audience! Ouch.)

Theme/s – Have something (or, lots of things) to Say. Otherwise, what’s the point? And maybe try not to speakthem aloud in dialog: “Show, Don’t Tell.” (See The 1,000 Rules of Screenwriting)

Structure – What’s the best (most interesting) order to arrange these Scenes / Plot Points in? Shuffle them around. It’s about (1) What information you’re giving the audience (and: What you’re holding back, for a later surprise/twist/reversal)… and, (2) When... Try to be: creative the with story structure. (i.e., New, useful, and surprising!)

Character – What is the bio-psycho-socio-cultural makeup of your character/s? Why is this interesting?

Characterization – How do you reveal to us, what kind of person each character is? What information have you presented us with so we can draw the right conclusions / make the right assumptions about a character?

The Exposition of the Character’s “Problem” in this story – as a rule of thumb, this should be buried in conflict and/or action, not “explained obviously” (as: otherwise it insults our intelligence)

Dialog – In short films by new filmmakers, usually every character sounds like the writer. Learn to listen for – and write – dialog differently for each character. Try having “table-readings” of the script with actors. See if the dialog “works” (i.e., Doesn’t sound: contrived).

Pacing – Pacing is crucial. Look at slow-paced films, e.g. by Kubrick and Ozu and P T Andersen, and the like.

Mood(s) – Camera Angles, Editing, Lighting, Casting, mise-en-scène, Costume and Production Design (and, Sound Design) all combine to create this… How are you going to create it? What are all the exact parts, that combine to make the whole?

I note: Bordwell is very much an Andrew Sarris fan, not so much a Pauline Kael fan. (Me too!)

Bordwell (2008) states:

`mise-en-scène… Sarris defined as:

`All the means available to a director to express his attitude towards his subject.

This takes in cutting, camera movement, pacing, the direction of players and their placement in the décor, the angle and distance of the camera, and even the content of the shot’. ’

(Bordwell 2008, p. 255)

Bordwell (2008) argues that Sarris is actually (in, the above definition of mise-en-scène) talking about visual style in toto… The whole shebang.

Bordwell also suggests Sarris’s major insight was that cinematic beauty comes from expressive style. (p 255.) I also suggest that Kubrick’s films (after Spartacus) are perfect examples of this.

Also – other elements that filmmakers need to think about:

Tone – What is it? Is it “Straight”? …Satirical? …Ironic? …Edgy? …Dark? …Funny? …Heartwarming? A blend of some or many of these? (…etc). How will you use the tools of film, to create this specific, desired Tone for the story you want to tell-?

Atmosphere – What’s “the feel of the world” of the film? …And: Why? (Does it reinforce: your Theme? …How?)

Visual Style and Sound Style – Make informed choices about these… Namely, which: Directors, Cinematographers, Film Editors, Production Designers, Titles & Credits Designers, which Actors/`Stars’ etc – do you, personally, admire? – Why? What techniques are they employing? How can you use those inspiring ideas (and, combine them with your own “Filmmaking Voice”), to great effect-?

So, given: `Hook’, Genre, Premise, Themes, Plot, Character, Characterization, Structure, Dialog, Pacing, Mood, Tone, Atmosphere. etc – there’s “a lot that can go wrong”, there…!

And especially, on a short film budget…!

You will often need to “think outside the box”.

Namely: Come up with LOTS of alternate ideas / creative solutions, and then – weigh each one, against all the others (examine the `Pros and Cons’ of all), and then, pick the one with the best cost/benefit ratio. The best: bang-for-buck. That’s how creativity works. It’s called “Blind Variation and Selective Retention” in creativity. (See: D K Simonton’s great research articles on it!) And see his terrific book:

Great Flicks - Simonton 2011

Great Flicks: Scientific Studies of Cinematic Creativity and Aesthetics (Simonton 2011)

See also,the great book: On The Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, Fiction (Boyd 2009) on cost-benefit ratios in creating fiction (in any media)

On the Origin of Stories (Boyd 2009)

On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction (Boyd 2009)

Boyd (2009) also dismisses (so-called) `Grand Theory’:

`…in the Humanities in general, a biological approach to the human has been anathemized for the last four decades by the recently dominant paradigm that calls itself “Theory” or “Critique”.

But after announcing decades ago first the death of the author and then the death of the “subject” (the individual), Theory has recently raised the question of its own death…’

(Boyd 2009, p. 2)

Boyd (2009) also rightly notes:

`As part of Theory’s dismissal of the individual, it has repudiated the notion of genius, both because it prefers to locate the source of outstanding works in the social energies of their time and because it rejects awe and reverence before genius. (With characteristic self contradiction, Theory also spawned the star system in American academe, bestowing unprecedented adulation on its heroes such as Derrida and Foucault: genius was ousted, in theory, from literature, to be reinstated, in practice, in Theory.)

But genius exists. Statistics confirm that a few people of exceptional creativity have an impact far beyond their time and place and a vastly disproportionate contribution to make to their field [10]—and even Theorists who repudiate the notion of genius prefer to write about the work of authors of genius.’

(Boyd 2009, p. 351)

The funniest (and wittiest) and most devastating quote in Boyd (2009) about capital-T Theory is:

`In capital-T Theory, critics rarely turn their critiques on themselves.

A Theorist claims, in effect: “Meaning is endlessly irresolvable, but I expect you to understand precisely this point when I make it”;

or “The author is an outmoded concept, but please quote me on that.”’

(Boyd 2009, p. 395)

For actual useful film theory (that works, in practice) see also, David Bordwell’s work on problem-solution models & schemas, in film!(See also: my PhD, where I cite both him and Boyd on it, a lot.)

Anyway – back to Raskin’s 5 key points:

Filmmakers also need to learn and develop –

b) an ability to determine whether in any given narrative there are missed storytelling opportunities that might enrich the viewer’s experience;

Namely: As a storyteller – Are you “missing any tricks”-?

You really need test-readers of your script, and also, test-audiences of your film for this…

Show the work-in-progress (e.g. early-draft scripts, and rough-cuts of the film) to people whose opinion you trust and value – and see what works – and, most importantly: What isn’t yet working…

As, after all – All of life is doing science:

You always have an Expectation (a Theory) of what will work well as a story/film, in your own mind…

Then, you have to do the Experiment… and try it, (or as they say: “Suck it and see”! Even infants have theories/expectations, and do experiment via trial-and-error on, what might be nice to taste… They do: Science!)

So you have to test out your film story, on test-audiences.

(See if, your Theory/Expectation worked, by doing an ExperimentMaking the Film!)

Namely – the scientific process of Trial (and hopefully not, Error)… (But if so, Error-Correction, in the fine-cut of the film!)

(i.e., Fix: whatever isn’t working… Whether by: Editing, or via ADR, or (egad) voice-over, or even re-shooting some scenes, or – even by adding Intertitles – or whatever solution works!

…As Kubrick (see Youtube video below) says: You never stop “writing” a film, while you are making and editing, and re-editing it…)

Raskin also rightly notes, Filmmakers need to acquire –

c) an ability to generate a set of alternate ways of moving from Point A to Point B in a narrative, and an ability to gauge the advantages and disadvantages of each of those possible choices – that is, to carry out a kind of cost/benefit analysis for each of the options;

As above, see Boyd (2009), and David Bordwell (and Ernst Gombrich!) on problem-solution schemas. And, cost/benefit ratios, of different solutions.

As Bordwell (2008) notes:

`For the storyteller, choosing between narrational vehicles always has both costs and benefits.’

(Bordwell 2008, p. 92, bold emphasis mine)

And, since there are over 500,000 feature films in existence, other filmmakers have (previously) faced the same kind of (creative) problem (meaning: filmmaking/storytelling task, or goal, or aim, or objective), as you are facing right now…

So, ask: How did they solve it?

And – Will you choose to solve it, in much the same way?

Or, maybe, in some new, useful and surprising (i.e., creative) way…?

See also:

StoryAlity #13B – Creativity, Cinema, Stanley Kubrick & Genius

And note also, just how often, Kubrick uses the word (creative)problem” in this interview-! (That’s: How a genius filmmaker thinks.)

Note also everything Kubrick says in this set of interviews:

I note, some of the text of those interviews was transcribed and edited: see Ciment’s interviews with Kubrick (edited transcripts) But – I much prefer the original texts! (i.e., Hearing how Kubrick actually talks…)

See also this list of: Stanley Kubrick Interviews. And, this site of Kubrick resources.

On the topic of problem-solutions and cost/benefit ratios, Bordwell (2008) also writes:

`Often it’s useful to conceive the artist’s purpose in terms of problems and solutions.

At a mundane level, a filmmaker wants to achieve some pattern or effect.

Something blocks this, so the filmmaker contrives a way to achieve the effect he or she wants. The result may turn out to be more complicated than what was initially planned…

Or an adventurous filmmaker may actually court problems, laying down self-imposed constraints in order to stimulate her or his imagination…

We should therefore remember that functional explanations can sometimes make things too tidy.

Every decision is a trade-off, yielding not only benefits but also costs.

(Bordwell 2008, p. 25, bold emphasis mine)

And, see also these posts:

  1. StoryAlity #9 – How To Be More Creative
  2. StoryAlity #9B – Creativity in Science (and – The Arts, and Film)
  3. StoryAlity #10 – About The Creative Personality
  4. StoryAlity #11 – Wallas and the Creative Process
  5. StoryAlity #12 – Combining Practice Theory – and the Systems Model of Creativity
  6. StoryAlity #13- Creativity and Solved Domain Problems
  7. StoryAlity #13B – Creativity, Cinema, Stanley Kubrick & Genius
  8. StoryAlity #14 – On some Romantic myths of Creativity
  9. StoryAlity #14B – Creativity – the missing link between “The Two Cultures”

Anyway – back to Raskin’s fourth point:

Filmmakers also need to acquire:

d) an ability to foresee whether or not viewers are likely to experience the meaning or importance of any given shot as intended;

Namely, you need to watch (and analyze, and study, over and over) lots of great films…

And, lots of bad ones!

See what they did right, and wrong…

Ask: How could they have done that specific Shot, better? (And… Why?)

See also Bordwell’s Poetics of Cinema (2008)! It explains creative problem-solutions in filmmaking. For example – Bordwell writes:

`Shot/Reverse Shot: A Convention?

The problem of convention in filmic representation can be strikingly posed by considering one filmic technique.

What is called “shot/reverse shot” editing typically involves displaying two figures in face-to-face interaction. The camera shows each one alternately, with either the other character absent or only partly visible…’

(Bordwell 2008, p. 57)

Bordwell also notes: He can’t find it (the Shot/Reverse Shot convention) in: comic-strips, paintings or lantern-slides, and notes that, it wasn’t used in the first 15 years of cinema. He (rightly) notes, that it deserves to be called a stylistic invention. (p. 58). Bordwell then goes on to say:

`In the early 1910s, some fiction films used the shot/reverse shot device occasionally, whereas by the end of the teens it was common in American features.

Fairly soon after this, shot/reverse shot cutting was adopted around the world. It continues to be one of the most commonly-used techniques in film and television.’

(Bordwell 2008, p. 58)

The point is, given creative problem-situations, we are (all) most interested in a scientific theory, or, a poem, or a play, a novel, a movie — if it works!

…If, it solves problems.

(e.g. The problem of: How to tell this story, in a way that satisfies the audience?)

And – also, remembering, that, as a filmmaker:

Practise makes: Less-imperfect…!

The more films you make, the better you get at doing them… as the more Shots you will execute (and: you will see, each time, if, the audience “gets” what you were trying to do with that specific Shot…)

And finally, to Raskin’s fifth point:

Filmmaking students also need to acquire –

e) an ability to enhance the enriching, engaging, gratifying, fulfilling, pleasurable and meaningful qualities of a given film, so that it earns the viewer’s experience of the film as worthy of sharing and of watching again.

These abilities and corresponding forms of reflection are not normally learned in courses in film theory…’

In short, Raskin makes great points, all the way in his SRN Newsletter short essay…

So, I can’t argue with (i.e. against) any of his points! I can only support them.

And – thankfully – (for Film Studies, and, for Filmmaking), David Bordwell – (in my view, the greatest living Film Theorist) – has (quite rightly) utterly skewered the kind of (irrelevant) Grand “Theory” that Raskin (quite rightly) rails against…

Bordwell (2008) expresses perfectly, how this (unfortunate) situation came about:

`Film Studies also got off on the wrong foot methodologically.

Instead of framing questions, to which competing theories might have responded in a common concern for enlightenment, film academics embraced a doctrine-driven conception of research.

Academics embraced a scholastic conception of their work, holding that certain theorists had revealed core truths and that their gospel could be applied, in a more or less mechanical fashion, to particular movies.

First came Laura Mulvey’s “gaze” theory, then postmodernism, then versions of identity politics, multiculturalism and “modernity theory” – none weighed as candidate answers to a puzzle or problem but were accepted unskeptically, then used to churn out interpretation of film after film.

Film studies remained, in a word, dogmatic.’

(Bordwell 2008, pp. 79-81

None of it (that “Grand Theory” guff) helps filmmakers to tell a good story.

So – all of that other (so-called) “Film Theory” can be: committed to the flames…

And (quite obviously) should never be mentioned – either, in a Filmmaking class – or on any Film Set.

Mainly as: It’s all just a waste of time.

Bordwell was always very clear on his position on that kind of Film (so-called) “Theory”:

Post-Theory (Bordwell & Carroll 1996)

Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies (Eds: Bordwell & Carroll 1996)

…There was never any need (or, even use) for: structuralist Marxism, Cultural theory, nor the psychoanalytic ideas of Freud and Lacan in Film Studies. (This 1996 book shows why!)

`Interestingly,  [Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies, Bordwell & Carroll 1996] remains the only anthology to mount such a critique within film studies, as Carroll’s Mystifying Movies is the only monograph to take this position.

Film scholars have been remarkably reluctant to criticize the foundations of this paradigm, preferring to switch over to a rival framework, that of Cultural Studies.’

(Bordwell 2008, pp. 449-50)

So – if you want to be a filmmaker, and, if you only ever read one Film Theorist, then read: David Bordwell! Truly fantastic stuff.

It has helped me as a screen storyteller, and certainly helped provide a great theoretical framework for my PhD study of film success.

Poetics of Cinema - Bordwell - cover

And so, in closing this Response, I’d note that Bordwell (2008) summarizes the situation perfectly:

`Stories are designed by human minds for human minds.

Stories bear the traces of not only local conventions of sense making but also the constraints and biases of human perception and cognition.

A film, although moving inexorably forward (we can’t stop and go back), must manage several channels of information (image, speech, noise and music).

It must work therefore particularly hard to shape the spectator’s attention, memory, and inference-making at each instant.’

(Poetics of Cinema – Bordwell 2008, p. 187, bold emphasis mine)

…This is also why, good (or even great) filmmaking is: hard!

One reason for this is:

There is so much information, in a film!

(Even in: A short film. …Even, in: a 30-second TV commercial-!!!!)

(See this post for how much information is in a film. …There is: a lot.)

Remember how, I mentioned that learning (and, thinking) about Information Theory was important, in: successful screen storytelling-?

As an aside… I also have a chapter on all this, in the Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology (2017):

Encyc of IS&T 4th Edn

StoryAlity #144 – The structure of the meme, the unit of culture (in: The Encyclopedia of Information Science & Technology, Velikovsky 2017)

See also, a reprint of it, here.

And in short:

Yes. Raskin is right. About: Everything.

~Thanks for reading!


JTV on a film set

Random photo of JTV, doing: Continuity/Script Supervisor (and also, Production Stills Photographer) on set, on a feature film (2012).

Random other photo of JTV… Citing Arnold Schwarzenegger: Get to da (eco-friendly) choppa

JTV - get to da choppa

And here’s a picture of him getting a PhD.

Here’s one of him, getting ready to fight fires:

Here’s one of him playing in a band.

Here’s one of him sitting at a desk, something he has always had a natural talent (some would even say, a gift) for.

Smiley face JTV

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