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- May 5, 2016May 5, 2016Read more
In Part 1 of this podcast, we discussed the structural elements that allow Everybody Wants Some to overcome the challenges of its meandering plot and nearly total subversion of every rule of screenwriting. But there are other reasons, beyond structure, Everybody Wants Some succeeds, in spite of its complete disregard for the rules. And whether you’re a traditional Hollywood writer, or a rule defying auteur like Richard Linklater, they’re concepts you can use to great effect in your own writing.
As we discussed, the first thing that makes Everybody Wants Some succeed is that the characters all want something: everybody wants some.
The second thing that makes Everybody Wants Some work is the specificity of the approach Linklater takes to every moment we spend with each of these characters. From the first moment we meet these characters, there is no detail unobserved in this film. There is no detail unobserved in who these characters are. Linklater locks in each character from the very first moment, using a powerful screenwriting technique called Vignettes. If you’ve taken my screenwriting classes, you know how vital Vignettes are when introducing characters, and how they can become the organic building blocks of structure as you discover…
- April 21, 2016April 21, 2016Read more
This week we’re going to be looking at Richard Linklater’s new film Everybody Wants Some. Richard Linklater has called this film a spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused. He has also referred to it as a sequel to Boyhood, his brilliantly structured (although very unusually structured) film, which basically ends right before this film begins: at the end of boyhood and the beginning of college.
Everybody Wants Some picks up the baton where Boyhood left off, and centers around a college baseball player who is just starting college, and the other guys on the team, in the days leading up to the first day of his freshman year. And though the main character may be different from the character in Boyhood, and while the structure may be entirely different than the structure of Boyhood, confined to a few days, rather than evolving over many years, Linklater is once again building a sprawling, multicharacter journey around young kid in a different kind of family, at defining point of discovering his identity and what gives meaning in his life.
But the question remains: is Everybody Wants Some actually a good movie?
Because Everybody Wants Some basically does nothing that a movie is supposed…
- April 14, 2016April 14, 2016Read more
If you go to see Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, you’re going to have a very mixed experience. There are elements of this movie that are truly beautiful, and then there are elements that are just so incredibly dissatisfying. So WTF is wrong with WTF? Why did a movie with such a stellar cast and compelling concept fall so flat both critically and at the box office? And what can you learn from Whiskey Tango Foxtrot about your own writing?
Every movie makes a promise to its audience. If you deliver on that promise, you can get away with almost anything. But if you make that promise and you fail to deliver, the audience is going to eat you alive. And that’s very much what happened with Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
When you see the trailer for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, and you see Tina Fey, the first thing you assume is you’re going to laugh your ass off for an hour and a half. As you know if you’ve seen the trailer, there’s a reason for this. The trailer excerpts only the very funniest moments of this film. But the truth of the matter is, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is barely a comedy. It’s…
- March 18, 2016March 18, 2016Read more
Where we want to be looking is inside the content of the screenplay itself. We want to be looking inside of what we’ve already written to figure out where we need to go.
All of the answers for where we need to go in your story already exist in the initial pages of your screenplay. The structure of your movie can grow organically simply by looking at the things that exist in your story, and saying, “If this is true, what else must also be true? And if this is true, what else must also be true? And if this is true, what else must also be true?”
In this context, by the time we make it to the end of the movie, in some way, everything possible must happen…
- March 10, 2016March 10, 2016Read more
It’s interesting that we’re looking at Room because, as screenwriters, we often lock ourselves in our own little rooms. Like the main characters of Room, we get bound up by other people’s rules, by our own comfort zone as screenwriters, by the movies that we have seen before. And we forget that every wall has another side, that there is actually something out there bigger than the story we know how to tell, than the movie that we’ve seen before, than the structure that we’ve been handed down, than the rules that have been imposed upon us…