The Art of to Tell

Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender on A Dangerous Method. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender on A Dangerous Method. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

First of all, I would like all of you to take a very good look at the pictures which are going to accompany this text. No, I can assure you there is not any hidden metaphor on them. In fact, they have been chosen after to have finished this text yesterday. After, finally, to have found a gap on my crazy writing day routine full of some sort of mysticism and “secret communications” or “punishments”. Life for everybody cannot be seen with the same shade of glasses. I think for that reason, certain folks change them constantly. But, hey, this is a hypothesis. Maybe it is a metaphor too and a vapid mind like me have not had noticed.

Let me tell you a short introduction of how the symbols and metaphors arrived at me. They were there, always, surrounding me and I did not notice until I arrived at college and they almost kill me with the sudden shock. It is what it has to… Finish to study sciences and to land on what they called a social degree. Because, supposedly, that was what I had to do if I would like to write and to make films. As I have said, mind-blowing.

How many of you have hated, at school, the following physical problem? “Two trains depart each one from a different station on opposite directions. The Train A travels at an X speed. Meanwhile, the Train B travels to a 2X speed. If the distance between the two stations is D. In which point of the route they will cross?” I know, annoying. You only want to know if the train will arrive on time. No, where it will cross with the other. But you have got the point. You are studying that and suddenly you arrive at Wonderland. Yes, I am not crazy. It is just my world is very different than yours.

On the new study plan, it arrived… several fellows and they told us that on that problem that we are tired of to resolve there is not any train. That everything was all a metaphor created by the writer to hide a deep meaning. Then, you are like Robert Langdon in the wrong film calling Houston to say that the Apollo 13 has a problem. Alright, now you are in antecedents.

Meanwhile, those fabulous years on Wonderland passed. The poor Alice felt more lost than the white rabbit outside Matrix. Wait, some of you are new on this. Well, another of my quotes for to remember: “Don’t follow white rabbits they can lead you to Wonderland or worst, to Matrix.” Yes, I call myself Yoda for something.

Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender on A Dangerous Method. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender on A Dangerous Method. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

The case is I got a job at that times, a very funny one. Basically, my job was what publicists and HHRR use to do in huge companies: to read newspapers. I am not kidding. They are paid for to do that and for to other things too but basically, the work is to read the press. This company was quite small but… Let’s say they do not need that but the needed it for the kind of business they made. I had also studied some months of that degree -my apologise to everybody; I quit when I heard that I was going to pay for to know to which side must be put the cutlery on an official event; also to choose the right colour for the flowers: that is extremely important-. So, it seemed that my presence was the indicator for that job. What do people do in that job position? Well, we use to go to the press stand, to buy the WHOLE PACK of the press. We go back to the office. We sat on a chair and we start to read everything from the first page until the last one. Thankfully, we are allowed to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea for to have to suffer this torture. That is the real reason why coffee and tea brands love so much publicists and they make to us awesome deals. A kiss, from here, if it would not be for you, most of us at the publicity departments will have died on that misery daily press torture. Because if there are several working at the same department you can make turns, except on Mondays. Everybody hates Mondays for a very good reason. You should not only read Monday’s press if not the press from the weekend too with extra magazines included. Well, lucky the ones whom could make reading turns…

In between you are reading, the obligation of the department is to look for cues which will talk about your business, company, the sector in which your company is involved… E.g. this company made sports shows but you cannot limit yourself to the sports section because maybe the information about a new building or sporting complex is not in the sports section. I am trying to make it easy but this was how it worked on the paper times. Now is easy to Google but a lot of information gets lost or missed in between.

Each time that there is an important cue. It was obligatory to cut that piece of news, date it and to archive it on an album where all the things keep tracked in chronological order. No one uses to consult that albums except Elisabeth Salander -you have seen the film or to read the books- but they must keep there. With the rest of the newspaper, you can do whatever you want, at less you have a picky boss who likes to read it after. So, you know… You must iron the newspaper to give the impression it is brand new and when he will open it… It would be some sort of classic Spy film’s scene with a paper with gaps. The bosses NEVER will consult the album but they like papers ironed.

Viggo Mortensen on A Dangerous Method. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

Viggo Mortensen on A Dangerous Method. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

In another hand, there are times in which no one reclaims the newspaper and here it comes the funny part. Do you want to know how they started that “Anonymous secret letters” on films which were sent to make some sort of demand? The kind of elaborated letters made with letters or words of newspapers which had been cut and glued to other paper… You know what I mean. All of that started somewhere in a publicity department with a bored fellow. Things like: “I have your lunch. Pay me the following coffee or you will never see it.” Those things are part of the publicity department jokes.

Today is more boring with all this digital stuff. Still, I know there are some other Anonymous out there who like to mess up. But take care with the publicity department folks, we were the ones who invented the brands, the coffee addiction, the twist and shake and the anonymous letters asking for ransom. Really, have not you see Mad Man? It was not a metaphor.

Still, let’s go back to the main theme here: “how to tell a story” because that is a field in which I am afraid a bunch of kids are a bit confused. In special, with the “metaphor”.

I am shocked. I must confess it. It seems that on these days there are Easter Eggs everywhere and everybody is looking for the Easter bunny. Now, they think everything hides a “secret meaning” and it is their responsibility to open their eyes to the world and to reveal that “mystic meanings” to everybody using the new technologies.

Sadly, I am afraid I must blame for this to the DVD generation. Someone decided to create the Easter Egg to show hidden content about the film and, since then, everybody keeps looking everywhere until points in which people like me, the VHS generation, start to doubt if they are in Wonderland again.

But first, let me explain to you what these people understand by “metaphor” because that has changed from my times to the present too, and I am feeling terribly old. Nine hundred years or more…

Let’s take a film all of you have watched. And if not you watch it: “It’s an order.” Like it could be… Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock. No, no, no… Forget about The Dangerous Method. It is only there because we are going to talk about Freud and Jung very soon.

So, you take Vertigo you watch it and you tell me what the film is about. Then, they tell you: “No, it

Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender on A Dangerous Method. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender on A Dangerous Method. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

is not about that.” And you check back if you were talking about the same film. You are doing it. Then you let the symbotellers explain to you what the film is about. And they have a nine hundred pages book which explains it. On short version I am only going to tell you that it is all a metaphor about the weakness of the new hero style who is slave of his own insecurities and fears until the point that he is put on a double side situation in which he only breaks himself wishing and lusting something which he will never could have: a dream. A dream about Madelaine which was not only the portrait of a ghost if not the metaphorical picture of how a woman can drive a man to make him believe what he wants.

On this moment you REALLY start to ask yourself if you have seen the same film than the person who is giving the explanation to you and the problem is that: indeed, both of you have seen the same film. Which makes everything more creepy and scary that even the fact of to do not understand anything at all. It is worst than the train problem. And the thing starts to get complicated when you study a new film, and other, and other, and other… Then, they tell you why Funny Games is fun. And it is not. I swear. They look for explanations and metaphors to everything for to explain things that sometimes do not have an explanation like it could be: “sarcasm or jokes” but they look for an Easter Egg on that too. Until the point that you cannot be sure if s/he is going to the right or to the left but you know you are not making storytelling at all if not Freud applied to filmmaking.

Do you know a bit about the old pal Freud and Jung, who followed his previous work? Well, I call symbotellers to this new storytelling version because they do not see the stories like a constant line if not like a bunch of separate shots or symbols to which they must give a full interpretation based on the background of the filmmaker, the title of the film, the dresses… Nothing is excluded of to be interpreted, even if an actor makes a wrong wink or it is not his best scene, that has an explanation and a meaning too. Feelings are not involved at all on this, neither the intention of to create sensations. It is pure basic symbol/ meaning and all are “metaphors” of something small or bigger.

Let’s say that they take “literally” the philosophy of to interpret the dreams applying the Freud techniques and they consider everything must be read like that in some way. I do not want to put myself on waters in which I am not sure at all. Still, I keep wondering if all of this symboteller tendency was born because someone had the idea of to interpret that way. Or, in another hand, because someone heard that old Disney quote about “A dream is a wish your heart makes” then, someone added that films are dreams come true… And everything got bad mixed and interpreted. Honestly, I do not know. What I know is that I am tired that they do that with my stories but, even that, they do not allow that I explain that is not what the story is about.

Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender on A Dangerous Method. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender on A Dangerous Method. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

I mean, it is alright, you can think whatever you want. You can interpret whatever you wish but do not make me believe that what I was trying to write was not what I had in mind if not what you are interpreting that I had in my mind because this is not how it works at all.

Before my Wonderland experience, I was for ten years combining the train problems with music. Usually, when someone feels s/he has something to tell it is because there is something which feels closer. Maybe you had a very bad day and you write F* the Police, a problem with a girlfriend and you write Crazy but it is rare to find an artist who writes things because “they want to say something”. Not on the personal aspect talking if not like they want to send a “metaphoric” message to see who are the clever ones who get it. Or are all of you doing it and I have just discovered today? Oh dear… I am afraid my whole life has been a lie and JJ Abrams will never explain me the secret meaning of the polar bears. *Gollum voice* There was a secret message sent there. Tell me, Gollum. Tell me.// My precious you already know what the secret message means.// We know? // It’s about to remember us to save the planet and the Artic which is very important.// Ahhh *Gollum voice off.* I am sure the polar bear was not for that but I am sorry. I had to put my “Save the Planet” message here. Put to read in symbols even McGuffins, at least let’s make it for a good cause. Well, most people already know my personal jokes with the bears, polar ones included.

Still, this is the point which I pretend to arrive. I have taken a simple polar bear and I have twisted the interpretation of its appearance on a whole series to say that it was for to save the planet but what would it happen if I would have said it represents “the dangers of the unknown”. You cannot really know what is going on, isn’t it? It looks very academic and extremely twisted which, immediately, people who do not understand of storytelling may think that person is more clever than them. But is s/he?

It is like the red coat on Schindler’s List. I have heard so many “metaphors” and interpretations of it as the duration of the film. That if it represents: “life”, “blood”, “the lost of the innocence”, “the cruelty in difficult times”, “the injustice”… It is so abusive the whole pack of different “metaphors” which people want to see, that I travelled to America to see if someone could teach me how everything worked and, even there, I found a group of annoying people from Europe asking for the metaphorical meaning of the dress colour. I loved the answer: “I just put the colour the director chose. Next time, when you see him, you ask him. He is the one who knows what all is about.” Sure, like you can find the director so easy… But I got the point, sir. Someone asked me the same question with certain green shot I had to create for a film… That is a very good answer.

However, I think the most shocking of all of this text is going to give you the “academic” explanation that they gave me about why Funny Games is fun. It is because it represents the enjoyment of a society which has found themselves without any feelings, lethargic, to the constant violence which hits their lives, in special television -for this reason the rewind and frame freeze styles, until the point they can find the most everyday diversion on the constant enjoyment of the violence. Oh dear… And I think when I saw the film that those lads were insane, wasn’t them? Answer: “No, they aren’t because it is a film and it is a metaphoric representation of another reality.”

Michael Fassbender on A Dangerous Method. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

Michael Fassbender on A Dangerous Method. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

Wonderland enough? I have not finished yet. Because there is also a film for which I was scolded without to even have had the opportunity to express my “metaphorical” interpretation. That film is Apocalypses Now and… Dear Hermione, If you had come to my Hogwarts you will not have sit on the first rows. I did, and… After this, I went to the back sits to join Malfoy.

Not need to tell you what Apocalypses Now is about. You all know. If not you must do what they told me: “Which kind of people who want to learn to make films are YOU! YOU come here and you have not even seen some of the most important films! You should WATCH IT and until you will do it, I DON’T explain anything.” Worst than Snape… Really.

He asked me what did I thought of the film and I simply could say: “I think it has a tempo lento…” To that, he raised his voice making an interpretation of my “metaphorical” answer giving for obvious that my “lento” meant “boring”. So I got the most terrible scolding in front of a class for to say that. NOTE: I did not raise my hand to offer voluntarily to answer. I was the chosen one.

So, the point here is simple. If you want to have a degree which later it is useless because people do not have an idea what you have studied. You must make symbolic films and symbolic television shows. You know, the kind of ones which really have a meaning… If not, well, you will NEVER pass.

For a person like me, who has been almost all her life writing stupid fairytale stories, the brand new news on those times where quite shocking. In special, when people started to look for the “metaphors” to my work too. Still, what I did not understand is how I made it to arrive in America and to find myself in the middle of a huge communications mess in which it seems the fun is to find all the Easter Eggs to my work. I mean, which is your problem folks? That two otters cannot have fun on a text without a secret meaning is involved? Is that I am not explaining the “secret meaning” or the “metaphor” right? Tell me, because I do not understand. I have never been like you. I do the things on a different mind wave format but later, do not come to me complaining because my format arrives more to a lot of people than yours. And you get jealous. It told you which is the format that I use and you told me that I was wrong and you tried to re-instruct me again on the right “symbotellers” path. So what the heck is going on with you?

Viggo Mortensen on A Dangerous Method. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

Viggo Mortensen on A Dangerous Method. Picture courtesy Sony Pictures Classics.

Well, like I have assumed that Freud and Jung are going to go after me my whole life on this Storytelling path which I have taken which is going to result in A Dangerous Method way of living. I have decided: “I Rebel”. So, yes. I know it does not have so much sense but I am really watching that I am going to have the fault of everything, even of JJ polar bears… So, I will apply the twist and shout and when not I will disappear. And that’s it.

Now, for the ones who are really interested in the creation and real storytelling. I have bad news for you that most of you are not going to like: “You do not choose what you want to be. We simply born this way or with this curse.” Still, if you are really interested in storytelling methods and to train yourselves in the Jedi arts. Please, toss away all you have learnt about symbols/metaphors and all of that. Read Zen and the Art of Writing by Bradbury. He is one who has taught me more in my life about storytelling than no one else with the exception of Sidney Lumet.

Follow the method and practise a lot. Write so much. You do not have an idea of how many words I write at day. I am afraid certain people are even annoyed that I do that and I write so much but it is on me. I cannot do anything about that.

Whatever others tell you, they are simply trying to confuse you with the “independent” and some strange stuff that they use to excuse themselves. Most of them accuse the classical filmmaking/music model of to be commercial and for that reason, their “truth symbolic creations” cannot have the same opportunities that the other commercial staff. It seems there is some sort of “conspiracy” also behind all of that. We are working on it. We have decided to make a film about it. Although, personally, I think it is a cheap excuse they use to justify why their work is not understood: as they wish to be understood, and they have the correspondent sales which are not the ones the audience says if not the ones they believe it corresponds to them. It is very complicated.

So, let’s go to basics again. If you feel/want to be a writer: write. If you want to make films: go out with a camera and film everything. Just film, do not look for metaphors and hidden meanings. That would be what it will do your fans for you. And when they will have turned you insane enough they will accuse you of to do not have any talent. So, on that moments… Just call Scottie and tell him to beam you up. Disappear in other dimension or galaxy until you think you had enough. Then come back and tell the story of your adventures on the otter space. So simple like that.

Still, before to finish, I want to mention something else. It is addressed to all the Premier organisers but especially to the ones at LA area. Do not lie to us. On California, it is not always warm and sunny. Can you please close the windows and doors of the Hollywood area when there are Premiers involved? Because mine was at the Egyptian Theatre and the dress was very fancy. Everybody wants to take pictures with a bunch of different cameras and you are frozen and you start to think: “but why do not they take one picture and after they share it?” All of that meanwhile we must keep with our perfect pose and smile. Then people tell you: “I want to talk with you after the event.” And then they disappear and I keep without to have seen them again… I mean, it is not so fancy. Really, it is not.

Well, there is not any “metaphor” hidden on this text. The last paragraph… I just needed to say it. Good luck to everybody trying to find Easter Eggs and metaphors.

EXTRA: On the case, anyone keeps doubting about what is to find “secret meanings” click here as an example. Thank you, for to have revealed me Guillermo del Toro is obsessed with shoes. It has been… Shoeking.