I was watching a show about how they made the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and they were talking about how they created the character Gollum. For the uninitiated, Gollum is a wizened little creature who once lived above ground and had a normal life. Then he found the evil One Ring and was corrupted by it. He killed to get it and, because of this, was driven away from his family and friends. Kept alive by the power of the Ring for centuries, he lived underground, growing paler and thinner and more demented, more like the Goblins and Orcs and evil creatures who lived nearby, more and more addicted to the Ring, his "precious."
Of course, it took the talent of the animators, the directors and multitudes of others to bring that character to life as well. And each of them was, in his own way, an actor, too. Each of them, from the set director to the sound designer and everyone in between, had to use his skill and craft to portray character, to make the story live.
What does that have to do with fiction? In their own way, writers are actors. They have to be able to perform each character in the story, to get not only their words right but their gestures and their expressions and their emotions. Beyond that, writers have to be directors, getting from their actors the best performance they can, not letting them be self-indulgent or shallow. Writers have to design the sets and the costumes and, while making them fit the scene and enchant the reader, not let them overwhelm the story. Writers have to carefully balance each element of the story to make a pleasing and effective whole. And, like producers, they have to provide the finished product on time.
Fortunately, as long as they can afford a pencil and some paper, writers don't have to worry about the budget. The most amazing sets, the most elaborate costumes, the greatest actors and a cast of thousands are at the writer's beck and call for only the cost of a little imagination.
I carry a repertory company, complete with props, sets and costumes, around in my head 24/7.
I'm never bored.
What have you learned about storytelling from film?