When the painter, Jackson Pollock, spoke of a painting as having "a life of its own," he underscored the core insight and action of every creative artist. To create anything (as opposed to merely "copying") is to work as a MEDIUM.
The workings of the Mediumistic Filmmaker/Artist/Storyteller present a way of Being that is familiar to anyone that has overcome the fear, stagnation and unfocused idleness of habit (read: technique, method, formula) that is antithetical to every act of authentic creation.
Stop thinking of film, costume, words, paint, clay as mediums of artistic expression!! - they are the MEANS of expression - the tools employed in the act of expressing the MEDIUM, which is always the ARTIST and the artist's VISION as it tears out of his/her soul.
As such, "the position of the artist is humble; (he/she) is essentially a channel." (Piet Mondrian)
To work as a MEDIUM is to ACT as character, in concert with all the other characters necessary for finding the drama.
Storytelling is an act of Love. The imposition of formula, method or template to the finding of story is invariably unsatisfying, not because structure and pattern are unimportant but because formula is NOT structure, anymore than the numerals on a paint-by-numbers canvas board are the painting. The resort to formula is too often merely an expression of the fear that renders love impotent.
There are no methods or sure-fire techniques for dealing with these fears and anxieties other than stepping off the cliff, or entering the belly of the beast, or spending 40 days and nights in the desert. The most difficult part of any journey is taking the first step.
The long dark night of the soul is not merely a condition of salvation, but is an act of openness, of faith, of love.
No matter how desperately one manipulates the playing pieces to win a game, the game itself is not worth winning so long as transformation has been left out. Art is not about self-expression, so much as it is about self-transformation, and in the art of finding the story ALL of the characters - including the storyteller - are transformed.