Scriptiments

Writing a Horror Script

Writing a Horror Script

In honor of Halloween, here’s an article by Karina Wilson posted on the Bluecat Screenplay website:

http://www.bluecatscreenplay.com/the-bluecat-screenplay-competition-blog/writing-genre-screenplay-horror/

“The final stage of the action should go all out, with the protagonist drawing on every resource they have to escape — or defeat — the Threat, which responds by attacking with a viciousness we haven’t seen before.”

The Mission Impossible Spoilercasts

The Mission Impossible Spoilercasts

Empire Magazine has a pretty terrific podcast, as I’ve just discovered. And one thing they’re making a habit of is long-form interviews with writer/director Christopher McQuarrie.

You can listen to him discuss (at length) the making of Mission Impossible: Fallout for nearly 6 hours! Most of it is gold. These were two separate interviews, so I forgive him for repeating one or two stories.

From a screenwriting point of view, it’s interesting to discover how much they back into, based on the globe-trotting action set-pieces. For example, they knew they wanted a helicopter chase. They found a country that would let them do it, then they came up with a plot reason for the characters to be there. So the screenplay was secondary to the locations.

McQuarrie’s approach to the villain was similar. Find out what he wanted him to do, then write the plot and motivations to support the end result. Not always the way screenwriters work.

Here’s Part 1.

Here’s Part 3. (There is no Part 2. Well, there’s a Part 2 episode, but it’s the Empire journalists gabbing, with a preview of the Part 3 interview.)

And if that’s not enough, you can go back in time and listen to McQuarrie talk Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation here.

Beware giant blocks of description!

Beware giant blocks of description!

Don’t get carried away with description. Remember, a page should equal about a minute of screen time. If you have a lot of action, be economical with how you describe it, and break up the key moments into new paragraphs.

Also, don’t let those characters monologue too often. There’s a difference between the style of speech in plays and movies.

Read more about “white space” at Screencraft.org

Your character’s voice

Your character’s voice

Each of your characters should have a unique way of talking. Writing a British character? Get the language right! Here in the USA, we might say elevator, apartment, and flashlight, but across the pond it’s lift, flat, and torch. This video from Vanity Fair gets into some other saucy slang:

Structure in Marvel Movies

Structure in Marvel Movies

I’ve been watching a lot of Marvel movies lately (lots of rewatches before going into Avengers 3, plus Deadpool 2). These movies are confidently written, and I always feel at ease that whatever bad stuff happens in the story, it will be resolved in a satisfying way. “Satisfying” does not necessarily mean a happy conclusion, but one that feels logical and earned thematically.

As bonkers as the Deadpool movies are, the structure and the emotional journey are unmistakable. You can feel the gears click as they move from one act to the next. And even if Deadpool is a sarcastic son-of-a-gun, he has an arc in each film.

I did some searching online and found some interesting analysis of the first Avengers. One, a video essay about whether the first Avengers film works better as three acts or five acts…

https://www.themarysue.com/avengers-three-act-structure-lessons-screenplay/

… and also an article about tracking its plot against Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet and John Truby’s Anatomy Of Story…

http://scriptfest.com/home/one-movie-three-structures-the-avengers/

Character is choice.

Character is choice.

C. Robert Cargill (screenwriter, Marvel’s Doctor Strange) had this to say on Twitter this week: 

A character’s backstory and affectations aren’t what defines them. They are defined by choices they make. The more interesting the choice, the more interesting the character. Backstory only matters if it informs a choice. Otherwise, it’s just window dressing. Character IS choice.

The vast majority of mediocre and bad stories out there suffer from one key flaw: the protagonist never makes an interesting, meaningful choice. Ask yourself: “What does my character CHOOSE to do that makes them interesting?” If there’s no good answer, you’ve found your problem.

Read the thread at https://twitter.com/Massawyrm/status/997252718535233536