Sunday, February 10, 2013

Response to "Writing Movies for fun and Profit"

The reading from "Writing Movies for fun and Profit" reminded me a lot of SAC 310, the screenwriting class here at UM. Except it was even less sugar-coated, if that were possible. People hate to think about movies as having such a clear-cut structure that is the same in almost every movie, but it's true.

In the article, though, they said the inciting incident appears exactly on page 10, and I had a problem with that. It's true that there is a structure that is followed, and it doesn't vary that much from script to script, but it DOES change a little. Things don't occur exactly on certain pages in every script, but they do appear around those pages.

Of course, this is kind of the point; they are embellishing just a bit for the sake of demystifying the process of screenwriting.

This article was a summary of a number of other screenwriting books I had to read for class (and some for fun) and it's always weird to hear everything laid out so plainly. Because the fact is, movie-making is not a mystical process, it is an industry, a well-oiled machine. You could argue that independent feature films are made a little differently, but when it comes to Hollywood, it is a business that has been around for a long time. That's why we keep getting movies split into two (I HATE THAT); as long as the movies keep making money, this trend is going to continue.

This reading felt like one prolonged slap in the face. For instance:
"Your heroine should be as real as your first crush--only she's carrying the plans to destroy the Death Star and she looks great in a bikini."
As far as I know, no one objected to this rule.
 These elements, the article argues, NEED to be there in the script. It's a strange dichotomy between "real life" and "fantasy," but you can't lean too far to one direction or the other or you'll lose your audience.

I think they're right, but the way they deliver their message, as I said, is like them saying "Dummy, look at how things are!" I haven't decided yet if I think this is effective or not, because reading this made the rebel in me want to argue with them, even though I think they make some good points.

Regardless, "Writing Movies for fun and Profit" is the definition of no-nonsense writing, and it made for an interesting read.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's interesting how different the tones of the film critic (Roger Ebert), the industry professional (Jan Roberts-Breslin), and the professional screenwriters (Lennon and Garant) are. Part of it is audience, I guess, although it seems to me like there might be overlap. But the tones seem so different, and, therefore, the values that they are trying to assert and connect with in the audience.