Structural Constellations for film projects – Radziejowice (PL) and Sigtuna (S)
Master Class 2015
Matthias Varga von Kibéd and Marc Wehrlin
The Structural Constellation of a film or transmedia script is a process which uses a group’s spontaneous movements and discussions of the resulting changes in their perceptions, to reveal surprising discoveries about the structure and dynamics of their characters, the scene or the story they represent/perform.
Structural Constellations for a script and its main characters are presented and explored on the basis of key scenes, themes, the story, plot knots, and relationships between characters. The participants pose all the questions that arise. These questions are also examined from the perspective of creative blocks and personal development.
This approach, called Systemic Structural Constellations – SySt®, was developed by psychologist Insa Sparrer and Matthias Varga von Kibéd, professor of logic and philosophy of science at the University of Munich and the head of the Master Class. Systemic Structural Constellations have been applied to film scripts and other audiovisual/transmedia projects since 1993.
Target groups of this Master Class were directors, screenwriters, producers, script consultants, and new media designers. All participants had several years of professional experience and had film (fiction or documentary) or transmedia projects in development. Selected out of 41 applicants were 7 teams (including 17 persons) and 5 individuals for a total of 11 projects from 10 countries, including all Partner countries.
The first module of Structural Constellations took place in Radziejowicze – Poland, from Tuesday 10 March to Saturday 14 March 2015 and the second module followed from 30 November to 3 December 2015 in Sigtuna – Sweden.
During the first module the participants had the opportunity to experience a Structural Constellation hosted by Matthias Varga von Kibéd for all eleven projects. For this purpose the film teams had to formulate their specific questions about the film projects they had under hand. What did they want to know better? The character traits of the main character? The interaction between the different roles? The orientation of the story to different target groups? The balance between different perspectives? Or was the purpose rather to know more about the interaction of the producer, the director and other professionals involved in their project?
Each Structural Constellation started with an interview between the team and Matthias, exploring the objective of the Constellation and defining the elements (persons, topics, places and so on) that had to be represented in the Constellation.
The elements of a script constellation in Radziejowice
Once the elements were defined, the film team chose the representatives for the elements from among the other participants. After the Constellation, which lasted between one and one and a half hours, the results were discussed in the plenum and questions asked.
The feedback of the participants proved that they got new insights and new inspiration for their film projects. Structural Constellations does not teach a method for writing scripts or making films. Rather it permits new perspectives in the artistic work and gives valuable hints for the further development of the film projects.
Insa Sparrer and Matthias Varga von Kibéd perceive SySt® as a grammar or a transverbal language going beyond verbal and non-verbal language. A substantial part of the Master Class was dedicated to explaining the basics of this grammar or transverbal language and to making the participants familiar with the different formats SySt® offers and the techniques it requires. A Master Class in SySt®, given by Matthias, offers as a side benefit a broad insight into many philosophical and ideological schools. Matthias discloses the roots of SySt℗ openly and generously sharing his deep knowledge of important thinkers of this world. (The participants acknowledged this additional benefit gratefully in the evaluation.)
Roots of SySt®
The theoretical explanations were enhanced by many practical exercises with the purpose of empowering the participants to use the simpler formats of SySt® back home.
In module two, the participants came back with their film projects. During the eight months that had passed they had reworked their scripts or had made progress in other ways. They came with new questions. And for all these questions Matthias again hosted Structural Constellations.
The theory and the techniques were refreshed. A special focus was set on the empowerment of the participants themselves to host Structural Constellations for film projects of their colleagues. Marc was coaching these sessions and supporting the hosts. These exercises proved to be highly profitable for the participants being hosts for the first time and the participants bringing their questions or acting as representatives in this context. It proved that the method works not only after long experience – on an expert level as Matthias offers – but is useful at all stages of the hosts’ development. The “new” hosts did marvellous work. They just needed the opportunity to apply this transverbal language themselves.
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