Early movies were shot with an unsophisticated camera anchored to a heavy, immovable box. Since the camera was static, actors provided the motion. They entered, exited and performed within the angle of acceptance of the camera lens. What early viewers saw was a fixed frame of reference. The tripod which enabled the camera to pan and tilt came many years later, as did lenses that made it possible to zoom in and out. In fact, film making predated editing by about 20 years.
As the visual techniques evolved, directors expanded the viewer’s perception by making the frame feel larger. The corner of a building at the edge of the screen suggested an entire building existed outside the frame. As sound evolved, the frame was expanded further with voices and sound effects “off camera” suggesting a complete 360 degree environment. These techniques created the perception that the frame represented only a portion of a more complete world. Artful film makers manage viewer perception by manipulating what is within or without the frame.
Reality is a different story.
We know that films are representations. But we continuously make assumptions when we accept how our reality is framed. We accept the context, the trend, the inflexibility of the characters or concreteness of conditions as permanent.
Creativity demands that we reframe situations. Refocus our lens. Pan, zoom, tilt or shift our point of view until the context is no longer fixed. When all the parts, factors and personalities become variable, real change can occur. Our challenge is to move our internal camera from its fixed point and explore situations as if shooting with it hand-held. What if you could temporarily release all assumptions long enough to view alternatives? In the end, most of the fixed points will regain their concrete positions. But, in the interim, you may be able to dramatically alter the scene by viewing it ththrough an expanded frame.
Creativity is a process of ignoring boundaries and moving beyond the obvious or the visible to focus on the unknown.