Tom Stempel has a fabulous series on Understanding Screenwriting.
James Berardinelli thinks Nolan should avoid a third Batman movie and laments the pitiful state of this year’s Oscar-bait.
Two important questions about the financial crisis:
1) What Would George Bailey Do?
2) What Would Charles Dickens Do?
David Bordwell on Categorical coherence: A closer look at character subjectivity
Narrative is first and foremost a prodigious variety of genres, themselves distributed amongst different substances—as though any material were fit to receive man’s stories. Able to be carried by articulated language, spoken or written, fixed or moving images, gestures, and the ordered mixture of all these substances, narrative is present in myth, legend, fable, tale, novella, epic, history, tragedy, drama, comedy, mime, painting (think of Carpaccio’s Saint Ursula), stained glass windows, cinema, comics, news item, conversation. Barthes’ essay, along with other Structuralist studies, initiated the academic field of “narratology,” the systematic study of storytelling as it is manifested in many media. From the 1970s to the present, this became a vast, varied, and exciting area of inquiry.
Alexandra Sokoloff on Creating Supsense
A good story makes the stakes crystal clear – from the very beginning of the story. We know right up front in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS that there’s a serial killer out there who will not stop killing young women until he is caught or killed. How do we know that? The characters say it, flat out, and not just once, and not just one character. Harris makes us perfectly, acutely aware of what the stakes are. The story ups the ante when a particular victim is kidnapped and we get to know her – we really don’t want THIS particular, feisty victim to die.
Unk on Concept and Execution
Perform your DUE DILIGENCE. We’re selling something, right? They say KNOWLEDGE is 90% of the sale and boy does that ever ring true with spec screenplays… How many times have I finished reading a spec where it was obvious the writer trying to sell me didn’t even have 50% covered. LOL. 50% does not a sale make unless you’ve already made a sale.
Danny Stack says Blogging is Good for your Career
Now that blogging, and in particularly, scriboblogging, has been officially endorsed as a positive way to promote yourself, it’s interesting to see more and more people willing to tip their toes in the blogging waters to see what it’s all about. Is it geeky? Needy? Pointless? Who reads them? Who writes them? How? Why? What should I write about? How do I get people to read? Will I get any work from it?
Mike Le has a Rock Star Moment
Hollywood Survival Rule #83:
Your agent is only as good as the script you wrote.
If your agent/manager had the power to sell 110 pages of crap, they would all be billionaires. Your reps cannot perform miracles. They cannot turn water into wine, part the Red Seas, or sell a poorly executed script. Humbly take notes from your reps, but do not DEPEND on them to tell you what makes a good script. Agents don’t know what makes a good script, producers don’t know what makes a good script, and studios don’t know what makes a good script -- which is why it’s your job, the writer, to show them what a good script is. So what is a good script? I don't know. Just write the story you want to tell, and tell it well.
The four latest from Ted & Terry:
- Situation-Based Writing
The most important bit of writing advice for the beginning writer.
Do not write only to your talent level. Your job is to imagine something that you can't yet imagine.
- Scene Character
It's not that you've done a good job or a bad job, you haven't done the job at all if you haven't characterized the scene.
- The Second Concept
Bad news, one great killer concept is not enough. In today's competitive market, you might need...
Julie Gray on Kurt Vonnegut and Story Graphs
I was especially delighted by the story graphs in Chapter Three. They are so basic and make such sense. The Kafka graph made me laugh. Start low. Proceed downward...to infinity. For those of you who may not have seen these graphs, click HERE and enjoy. Kurt Vonnegut passed away in April, 2007 and I just have to say that Kurt is up in heaven now. That's something he found very funny and I just had to say it.
Scott’s mantra: “The only way out is through”
The only way to find the story is to go through the entire writing process. If you don’t, you won’t.
Tim Claque gives The best single bit of advice for new writers – EVER!
For each character know what they want. And know what they need. They may think they want to get through the working day. But we all know they need to change their home life priorities. They may think they want to survive the shoot out. But we all know they need to discover their partner is a rat.
Chris Fujiwara on the melodramas of Vincente Minnelli, master of illusion and disillusionment:
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) has, no doubt, its "melodramatic" aspects, but it lingers in the mind more as a celebration of the energy of its unregenerate producer-hero (Kirk Douglas), and that of Hollywood, than as a condemnation of them. The remaining "Minnelli melodramas" are diverse in tone and concerns: Tea and Sympathy (1956) is a delicate coming-of-age story, The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963) an often boisterous comedy-drama; and one could add the unclassifiable A Matter of Time (1976), another European excursion for Minnelli and his last film. Furthermore, Minnelli's musicals and comedies have so many links to his melodramas that it is hard to separate them.
Diverse as they are, the Minnelli melodramas share this common ground: their mise en scène of excess and release happens inside what looks like a blandly normal and conventional framework. Minnelli specializes in plots that revolve around institutions (hospitals, movie studios, schools) and deal with conformity. The young heroes of Tea and Sympathy and Home From the Hill must learn, not necessarily how to be men, but how to act like men. Fear of community opinion paralyzes Frank (Arthur Kennedy) in Some Came Running. The viewer of these films becomes sensitive to the film frame itself as a measure that determines the value of its contents (the characters and the objects in their environment) and limits their circulation.