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- March 23, 2017March 23, 2017Read more
Horror movies are obviously about fear. But the best horror movies are not just about scaring the audience. They’re about scaring yourself. About scaring your characters.
They’re about reaching into those unexplored corners of yourself left over from childhood traumas, bad life experiences, emotional and physical wounds, paranoias and nightmares that you know you should be over emotionally– but somehow just aren’t.
They’re about taking the childlike fears — the nonsensical monsters under the bed– we “know” we should dismiss — the fears just too bizarre, too unlikely to be real– and asking ourselves “what if they were?”
Allowing our worst nightmares to come to life on the page, and in that way to come to peace– not with the reality which we depict these stories– but with the real life experiences– the metaphors– that spawned them.
- March 15, 2017March 15, 2017Read more
One of the truly interesting things about Inception is that its structure is actually based upon the principles of hypnosis. In fact, the organizing principles of the dream within a dream within a dream structure of the film almost perfectly mirror the classical hypnosis training you’d receive during a basic hypnosis certification class.
Why is this important to you as a writer? Because as writers we all need organizing principles around which to structure our character’s journey…
- March 2, 2017March 2, 2017Read more
This week we’ll be looking at Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Which is about as far as we can go from last installment’s Oscar Winner Manchester By The Sea.
Rogue One is a silly joyride of a script, built with half-drawn characters, nonsensical plot twists, and a hundred other flaws. And yet, while clearly feeling a bit trifling in scope compared to the other Star Wars films, it nevertheless delivers in a big way what its audience is seeking.
What’s also particularly interesting about Rogue One for screenwriters is the way it dives into a moment that is literally just a blip on the radar in Star Wars: Episode 4, and discovers there an entire backstory, worthy of a film itself.
The ability to dive deep into any moment and find drama is one of the most exciting things about screenwriting (and one of the most important skills you can develop as a screenwriter). It means that truly anything– even just a little question like “how did they find those Death Star plans anyway?” can become a movie, if you’re willing to look closely enough.
But it’s also a reminder of how easy it is to get waylaid…
- February 16, 2017
- February 8, 2017February 8, 2017Read more
Like poems, screenplays are written in a highly focused format, where literally every word matters. Like poems, screenplays are not just about what happens, but about the rhythm and meter of how it happens. Like poems, screenplays invoke the visual and emotional senses, creating a kind of hypnotic state of hyper-awareness, in which words on the page start to take form and shape in your mind’s eye–playing out as if they were real on that little movie screen in your head.
Like poems, screenplays exist within specific genres and forms with specific rules. And, to be successful, like poems, screenplays must both conform to and break with audience expectations in relation to those rules.
And like poems, in the best screenplays, form = function.