Demystifying Filmmaking with Olaf de Fleur
- Yulia Chumak’s Session Summary

Demystifying Filmmaking with Olaf de Fleur - Yulia Chumak’s Session Summary

3 min read

September 2021

I've always enjoyed watching movies. At some point, I realized that I clearly understood which moments I got hooked on, and which were frankly weak. Many

years and professions have passed since that discovery, but this love for the analysis of films has not left me.

In 2014, the creative impulse haunted me until I enrolled in my first online storytelling course. There were many more along the way focusing on things like screenwriting. In every one I tried, I was faced with monotonous and standardized education experiences. The emphasis was typically on form, format, and structure instead of the essence of story. I felt like they did not suit me and they created an internal block inside me. I just could not start writing.

Then a live private filmmaking session with Olaf de Fleur changed everything.

I am a fan of Olaf’s work. I think he has a truly unique directorial perspective! Olaf’s stories are constructed in such a way that they completely enthrall the viewer, making them watch in one breath. I found Olaf’s Learn Indie Filmmaking by Making a Short Film class on Skillshare incredibly rewarding and inspiring. So when I found out later that he was starting a new course of Zoom seminars, I did not hesitate to enroll. But I have to admit that, for me, these sessions are the most challenging and, at the same time, the most helpful learning experiences that I have gone through so far.

They are challenging because Olaf's approach is unconventional. He teaches us to hear and connect ourselves with the inner story so that the script begins to write itself. This is a completely new education for me. Before this, I was always taught that you need to create according to a certain structure, fit into the canons, distinctly write while switching from one act to another, and so on.

This, of course, is very necessary knowledge, but the more I studied these rules, the more fear grew in me: “I don’t know much. I won’t be able to do this. I will stumble.” I just could not start writing my story. A story that is not only ripe, but overripe inside of me. Only Olaf has helped me with this.

In his sessions, Olaf skillfully reveals our inner voice to ourselves. He teaches us to listen to the other members of the group in order to hear ourselves more clearly and establish emotional connections with our stories. Olaf pulls a thin thread of story out of us.

Olaf helped me realize that I did not know how to listen to myself.

The voices of all my previous teachers echoed in my head, constantly berating me for being "wrong." And the voice of my inner critic, who was raised by all these teachers, sounded stronger than anyone else. This inner perfectionist gave me no chance for a mistake. It has filled a cemetery of untold stories that were all ‘wrong.’ But Olaf is helping me realize there is no real ‘wrong’ in storytelling. There’s perhaps just the unique authorial voice that every screenwriter is always searching for, and sometimes allows the inner critic to be it.

Thankfully, I have ceased to be so afraid of writing. I have written more for my story after a few weeks of Olaf’s seminars than I did in the past year. His simple and uncomplicated tasks have given me incredible results! The inner critic is silent now – powerless because I am not writing in a classical sense. I am watering my story inside myself and it is sprouting. Now, I am not blocked. I have no fear of the blank page because it is so full of useful text for my story.