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- August 27, 2016
- August 17, 2016August 17, 2016Read more
This week we’ll be looking at Suicide Squad. What’s interesting about Suicide Squad is that this is a very bad script by a very good writer (David Ayer also wrote Training Day). So instead of looking at the script like most critics have done and simply bashing it, I want to look at it as I would if I was working with a student.
It’s really interesting to see that even some of the greatest writers go through exactly the same problems, and can bump up against exactly the same causes of problems that many new and emerging and student writers deal with.
The biggest problem with Suicide Squad is not Jared Leto’s method acting antics. It’s not the egos of all the many stars that were involved. It’s not even the many places where the logic of the script just doesn’t make sense.
The real problem with Suicide Squad is the problem of too many good ideas.
- July 14, 2016July 14, 2016Read more
If you seen Swiss Army Man and the way the film develops from an off color joke to a deeply moving personal story, you can see that the structure of the film mirrors the process: the process by which the Daniels created it.
They start with a really unlikely premise, that certainly doesn’t seem like it should sustain a scene, much less a movie. And by running towards it, end up with a meditation on the connection between shame and loneliness, a meditation on love, on friendship, on sex, on attraction, on the way that we hide in plain sight, on what’s really important about life, about the strange and sometimes uncomfortable lines between love and friendship, and about the personal journey that we all have to go on in order to figure out who we really are.
In one of the most beautiful lines in the movie, Daniel Radcliffe’s character, Manny, asks Paul Dano’s character, Hank, “You want to go home so you can have love, but you ran away because nobody loves you.”
The structure of the film forces Hank to come to terms with that dilemma, and with the nature of that loneliness: not the loneliness forced…
- June 9, 2016June 9, 2016Read more
The other thing that’s really great about Captain America: Civil War is everything is very clear. And this is important in an action movie, where you are reaching out to a vast vast audience. We understand what the goal is, what the intention is of each character and at each moment. We understand where each character stands in relationship to the overall goals driving each side in the movie. We understand what each character wants and we understand why they are fighting each other. We understand what the goal of those fights are, and I do think these writers did a very good job of keeping the love in these relationships alive between these characters. These are all characters who love each other, who have been pushed against each other in an ideological crisis.
This is exciting. And yet, the movie is not moving. The movie does not hit you emotionally. It makes you think a bit about politics, which is more than we’ve come to expect in an action movie. But you are going to shed no tears during the movie, and about an hour and 45 minutes in, even though you’re still being dazzled, you are starting…
- May 24, 2016May 24, 2016Read more
It’s interesting to talk about superhero movies because there’s been a big change in the way these movies are built. One of the things that we’re starting to see is that superhero movies, just like other big budget action movies, are actually being built more like TV Drama Series than they are like Feature Films.
Just like TV Dramas (and TV Comedies), rather than being built around a traditional character driven structure, these huge budget superhero and action movies are built around a concept called an engine.
In a TV Series, the engine is a kind of unique formula, developed by the writers, that guarantees that the series can run for a very long time, creating the same feeling in each episode in a slightly different way.
In these mega-budget franchises, the engine works similarly, allowing each “episode” to set up the next. A byproduct of this effect is that an individual action movie is no longer designed to create a cathartic effect that leaves the audience with a sense of completion. Rather, it is designed to leave the audience craving more, with untied strings in each installment setting up the next episode in the franchise, which will once again replicate the…