Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Magic Mystery Box - with J.J. Abrams

In the clip below, filmmaker and heavyweight TV producer J.J. Abrams talks about his love of "Mystery", and how it is the catalyst for imagination. Of course, we all know that mystery is an essential ingredient in good stories, and can be a useful tool in the craft of storytelling.

With his involvement in the TV Shows Lost, Alias, and Fringe, and the films Cloverfield, Mission Impossible 3 and the recent blockbuster Star Trek, Abrams has mastered the art of creating mysteries, and perhaps more important, the withholding of information. Every week Lost unveils the mysteries behind the island (sometimes in maddening ways that perpetuate the questions!) but in a way that is tantalizing to viewers.

He also talks about something he bought as a child, "Tannen's Magic Mystery Box", a device used in many of the best stories,. So this talk is entirely appropriate for this blog, and for those of you who are storytellers.

Enjoy.


8 comments:

MeganRebekah said...

I love just about every project that Abrams takes on. Thanks for sharing this interview!

T. Anne said...

Wow I enjoyed that a lot. I esp. liked the constant infusion of humor! Thanx for sharing.

Lori Benton said...

Favorite quote: "Ultimately the mystery box is all of us."

Alexander Field said...

Lori, that is an amazing quote isn't it! : )

Anita said...

I absolutely love this. You are the best blogger ever, finding this stuff, sharing it. Thank you!

Samuel D. Smith said...

This was a very cool presentation. Thanks for hooking us up, Alexander. I am a fan of this sub-creative master.

His point is solid, but I wonder if there may be another level there as well.

I think there is also a sense in which revealing knowledge also increases mystery.

As with God, who becomes infinitely more amazing in our eyes the MORE we know him, not the less.

The infinite-knowable God is the fundamental mystery and paradox of mankind.

A delighted astonishment follows for those who KNOW him.

I don’t know if this is on subject or not, and I’m not challenging the fact that withholding information is a great story device (and is certainly employed by the great Author/Authority of the Universe). But I just thought this might be worth adding to the conversation. :)

Thanks, Alexander.

Janet said...

I am going to remember the Mystery Box. Thanks.

Rachel Marks said...

A writer friend and I were talking about this at a summer conference last year. So inspiring! Thanks for linking to it!