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- December 11, 2016December 11, 2016Read more
Our language, and the metaphors of our films, have the power to change us.
They change us as writers and they change us as audience members. They shape the conversation and the way we see our world. They shape our trust in our institutions or our distrust of them. They shape the way that we see heroism and the way that we see cowardice. They shape the way we see inclusion or exclusion, the way we deal with our fears and open our curiosity.
The language that we use as screenwriters changes our audience. And the wider the audience for your movie, the more people you have the ability to affect. That’s why we as screenwriters, particularly if we are writing movies with mass appeal. If we are writing action movies, horror movies, thrillers, sci-fi’s, fantasies, romantic comedies, and of course television, we have such a responsibility, because the language that we use as we write changes us. And the language that we present to our audience changes them.
Our movies teach people how to live and how to interact with the unknowns of their lives.
In this way every movie is a political movie.
- November 17, 2016November 17, 2016Read more
This week we’re going to be talking about the series, Transparent.
This is a series I’ve been wanting to talk about for a very long time. And we’re going to do so from a different perspective than we usually do when we talk about TV series.
Oftentimes on this podcast, when we’ve spoken about series we’ve talked about big picture stuff. We’ve talked about theme and engine and structure. But today, what we’re going to do is zoom in really close on one particular episode.
We’re going to look at Season 3 Episode 5, and we’re going to break it down to its fundamental craft elements: the way that the scenes are actually constructed.
- October 27, 2016October 27, 2016Read more
This week we’re going to be looking at Doctor Strange. And one thing that is inarguable, whether you loved Doctor Strange or hated Doctor Strange, is that this film is succeeding in a huge way not just at the box office but also critically.
This is pretty amazing when you consider all the incredibly silly things about Doctor Strange!
After all, this is a movie in which the country of Nepal seems to be populated almost entirely with American action heroes, and as far as we can tell only one Tibetan of consequence.
- October 20, 2016October 20, 2016Read more
One of the things that’s really cool about Hell or High Water, and one of the things that’s really cool about this script by Taylor Sheridan is the way it uses a twist on an old genre to deliver a movie that far exceeds our expectations of the genre.
Hell or High Water isn’t just a cops-and-robbers-heist-movie, even though it falls into that genre. Hell or High Water is actually a pretty powerful political film.
I want to take a moment to talk about how you write a political film. Because, oftentimes, when we sit down to write a political film, we end up standing up on a soap box and screaming our opinions. We end up making the movie about the opinions, rather than about the story.
- October 8, 2016October 8, 2016Read more
Those are the goals that I care about when I am on a vacation, just like it’s my goal to focus on being present with my characters when I write. That’s my real goal. I just want to have an adventure and I really don’t care what happens. I want to experience a culture that’s different from mine. It’s about meeting people who are different from me. That’s what’s exciting about my trip.
So that’s why it doesn’t matter if I make it to Angkor Wat; it doesn’t matter if I spend my whole time in Phnom Phen; it doesn’t matter if I end up on a random beach somewhere for four days. None of these things matter because I don’t care what happens to me once I’m there. And that’s a way to build a script. We’re simply following your character’s objective in the moment rather than trying to build their super-objective.