Hillman Curtis Artist Series

I am a fan of the work by artist Hillman Curtis.  The artistry in his videos is both beautiful and inspiring.  When I initially viewed his short videos featuring several graphic artists, I admired the fluid movement of the camera and post production techniques.  The same craftsmanship is present in his short films, such as Embrace and Soldiers.  If you’re looking for a lesson in storytelling through video, his work is a good example of how to visually captivate your audience.

Screenshot from the short film Embrace

Screenshot from the short film “Embrace”

Embrace is undeniably my favorite.  The story builds up slowly, causing anticipation,  The viewer is not immediately aware of the context of the story.  We only see a male and female, breathing heavily, embracing each other.  My first thoughts were, are they breaking up or did they just finish having a make-out session?  The camera moves slowly around the characters, allowing more context.  Following are a series of shots, close-ups of each character, and shots of their hands as they embrace one another.  These shots, coupled with the heavy breathing and short choppy sentences, paint a vivid picture of the two panicking. Eventually we discover the characters are attempting to comfort each other, presumably because something catastrophic is about to happen. It becomes even more clear when we hear emergency sirens in the background.  The two characters seem to calm each other as the breathing becomes a little less heavy and intense. The video cuts of at that point, leaving the viewer wanting more.

Soldiers is another one of my favorites. Something so short and simple aroused emotion. Again Curtis successfully keeps the suspense by not revealing the plot immediately.  There are just two soldiers and an older lady kneeling by a tombstone.  As one of the soldiers begins to walk toward her, he appears to be alive and the viewer anticipates a reunion between the women and the soldier.  However, we eventually discover he is dead.  The scene seems so real, and the music adds to a solemn feeling.

Hillman Curtis mastered the art of compelling story telling. Every time I watch one of his videos, I learn something new that can be translated into my career. I urge any videographer to view his work.


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