First the point, then the background.
In empahsizing short film, mini stories, we are appealing to a dark side of youth culture. Young people like stories but they have a mentality that has no habit of connecting stories into larger truths. We will have to teach them to make stories and the teaching will have to involve improving their worlsdview.
I give my students an assignment to pick a Fable (like Easop) that has a dialogue between two characters (think the Hare and the Tortoise) then use motion type to enhance the story's meaning. I use Fables because they are compact but meaningful stories (have all the components necessary for a story: context, characters, conflict, resolution). Some of them whine a bit about the content so I have expanded the Fable restriction to include short joke instead. Again, most jokes have a story structure. This year they asked if they could choose a movie dialogue instead. I said maybe, but warned them that a dialogue is not a story, it is a fragment of a story. Here follows an excerpt of my email telling one of my students why he couldnt use his proposed dialogues:
FROM MZ EMAIL TO STUDENT
"Most of these are too fragmentary to make sense. The first one from 28 Days Later for example, suddenly introduces “Frank and Hannah” but we know nothing about them and therefore their relevance and meaning for this dialogue is meaningless, and therefore disruptive. The third one from Ed Wood has little meaning because the user knows nothing about the characters, Ed and the Producer. Why would they say these things? Why is Ed so careless with details and how might that matter to anything.
Context is key to meaning. Finding or having meaning is the quest of life. These fragmentary dialogues may (or may not) make sense in the context of their films, but cut out they are not very meaningful, or interesting. My life is too short to spend on disconnected meaninglessness... Which may be why I don’t watch TV news!
I am not attacking your interest in movie dialogue at all. What I am pointing out is how important context, in these examples, the context of character that has been developed throughout a film, is for understanding, meaning and enjoyment."
END OF MZ EMAIL
Young people today have smorgas board mentality toward truth (they pick what seems attricative to them),
have no awareness that there might be an overarching truth (metanarraive) it's just not a possibility they even know exists,
are content (resigned) to live in a work of disconnected, disassociated 'facts' (pseudo data - sound bytes).
The internet supports this. The multi-tasking they are so proud of evidences this. This worldview makes story telling difficult. Good stories have conunity and result in meaning. Young people today are unaware that there is meaning and are content with collections of sound bytes.
This is driving interest in mini narratives, but if we aren't careful we will feed them another potpouri of disconnected narratives and leave them in the dark about meaning - God - the ultimate metanarrative.