The Yin and Yang of Short Film Storytelling

Richard Raskin

The Yin and Yang of Short Film Storytelling
Quid Pro, LLC
28 July 2022

The Yin and Yang of Short Film Storytelling

Richard Raskin

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In the first book to study the short film using the yin yang complementarity, Raskin proposes a new paradigm-describing major forms of yin and yang, redefined as ungendered, freed of patriarchal bias. Yin evokes such properties as holding back and an openness to interpretation while yang promotes structure, causality, and control. Ten exemplary short films show how the model illuminates their storytelling. Features richly illustrated, shot-by-shot breakdowns-many in color-and links.

Richard Raskin changed my way of thinking about short films twenty years ago with his marvelous book The Art of the Short Fiction Film. And now he manages to do it again! The Yin and Yang of Short Film Storytelling offers a totally new approach to analyzing and making short films. This beautifully written book is fascinating to read and gives valuable tools as well as enormous inspiration to all short film lovers, whether film makers or film researchers. Don’t miss this big little pearl!

  • Saara Cantell, Film Director, Script Writer, Doctor of Arts (Finland)

Short films are the laboratory of cinema. And no one is more comfortable in this laboratory than Richard Raskin. His book gives an entirely new and fresh approach to creating short films. Think different! Read it, study these ten case studies, and enter an entirely new and original way of shaping shorts armed with the advice of the master of short filmmaking.

  • Elliot Grove, Founder Raindance Film Festival and of British Independent Film Awards

Richard Raskin is a world-renowned scholar and filmmaker whose work has been foundational in bringing attention and respect to short films. His brilliant new book promises to be another touchstone that inspires shorts enthusiasts, scholars, and filmmakers. With its beautifully curated selection of ten case study films, it provides an original and fascinating framework that conveys the richness and depth that one can bring to the appreciation - and making - of short form media.

  • Cynthia Felando, Editor of Short Film Studies and Senior Lecturer, University of California, Santa Barbara

Raskin’s book is a must-read for any film-lover or scholar of film and literature. In this wonderfully lucid and creative work, the central concepts and thesis are carefully spelled out, brilliantly applied, and made truly illuminating. Raskin has also stripped the yin-yang distinction of its sexist pitfalls in a way that enhances its utility and appeal. The book is destined to be a classic!

  • Andrew Effrat, former Dean of Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

This is a fascinating read. Raskin has taken his encyclopedic knowledge of short films and created a tool, an analytical system, to help illuminate what makes a short film successful. I love that it’s a tool that can be applied to almost any piece of art for that matter.

  • David Greenspan, Palme d'Or for Best Short Film at Cannes in 2001; directed or edited numerous episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19, and other TV series

Richard Raskin taught hands-on courses on making short films to generations of university students; served on the juries of international film festivals in most West European countries as well as India and Iran; founded and for 10 years served as the editor of Short Film Studies, a peer reviewed journal published by Intellect in the UK; gave master classes on short film storytelling at film schools and festivals; wrote 2 books and many articles on the short film; organized annual short film symposia; wrote the script for an award-winning short film; and co-founded a new and highly successful filmmaker education in Denmark. He holds both American and Danish doctorates.

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