To be succinct these two movies have exactly the same plot

Friday, 26 April, 2013

Compress the plots of movies down to ten words, or less, and it becomes all too easy to see just how similar many films are.

For instance, which films does the storyline “a disgraced professional guard proves himself worthy after he becomes the only one who can save a group of hostages” bring to mind?

Paul Blart: Mall Cop, and Olympus Has Fallen, of course.

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A glimpse of Pixar’s screenwriting guidelines

Wednesday, 13 June, 2012

A collation of the story basics used by Pixar Animation Studios, stitched together from a series of tweets by Emma Coats, who works there as a storyboard artist.

Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

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Daniel Craig’s quantum of screenwriting experience

Monday, 19 December, 2011

British actor Daniel Craig, in an interview with Time Out London, while talking about David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, also discusses his James Bond films, and offers a possible explanation for 2008’s less than spectacular Quantum of Solace, whose production coincided with the screenwriters’ strike of late 2007 and early 2008:

On “Quantum”, we were fucked. We had the bare bones of a script and then there was a writers’ strike and there was nothing we could do. We couldn’t employ a writer to finish it. I say to myself, “Never again”, but who knows? There was me trying to rewrite scenes – and a writer I am not.

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Is there an intelligent formula for making blockbuster films?

Tuesday, 6 September, 2011

Blockbuster films with intelligent scripts can work just as well arthouse productions argues British film critic Mark Kermode.

But the fact remains that, if you obey the three rules of blockbuster entertainment, an intelligent script will not (as is widely claimed) make your movie tank or alienate your core audience. Even if they don’t understand the film, they’ll show up and pay to see it anyway – in just the same way they’ll flock to see films that are rubbish, and which they don’t actually enjoy. Like Pearl Harbor.

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Has the internet brought about the writing off of twists in films?

Tuesday, 28 June, 2011

Is the rapid communication that is facilitated by online channels (Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, for example) forcing film screenwriters to change the way they write, specifically by dispensing with game changing style twists, as seen in “The Crying Game” or “The Sixth Sense” for example, for fear of them being publicised before most people have seen their films?

“I’m not saying that surprise endings aren’t amazing and powerful, and that the culture of spoiling them doesn’t suck,” notes Kyle Killen, creator of the short-lived Fox drama Lone Star and the Mel Gibson vehicle The Beaver. “I’m simply saying that if your whole premise is so dependent on a ‘punch line’ that having it get out would tank the story, then the story itself probably needs examination. The Sixth Sense ultimately works because it’s a good movie even after you know the twist – [it has] solid story, character, and emotion, all before we get to the reveal. It’s when your story is nothing more than a twist-delivery mechanism that you run into trouble.”

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Hasta la vista, what happened to film’s classic one liners?

Monday, 25 October, 2010

Pretty rare are films that produce witty one-liners such as – “go ahead, make my day” from Sudden Impact, part of the “Dirty Harry” film series, or “life was like a box of chocolates” from Forrest Gump – that go on to be quoted and requoted, but such movies have become almost non-existent in recent times.

“Machete don’t text,” from “Machete,” written by Robert Rodriguez and Álvaro Rodriguez, also traveled well on the Internet this year. But “can you imagine comparing that to ’round up the usual suspects?'” said Mr. Mark, invoking a much-quoted line from “Casablanca,” the 1942 film that marked the golden era of movie quotations.

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Original movie ideas just too expensive for the film industry

Thursday, 29 July, 2010

Say what you will about Inception (over-hyped, ridiculous), but it is an increasingly rare example of originality in filmmaking. Yet most film producers are loath to try new ideas, fearing they will not be popular at the box office.

The outlook therefore for movie audiences? More sequels and remakes by the looks of it

The reason movies based on new ideas aren’t being brought to market (and the reason why dearly beloved old TV and film franchises are therefore being prostituted) is that new ideas represent a gamble: you can never be sure the public will actually like them. Old ideas are, on paper, safer. And in recent times film-making has become a risk-averse business.

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Art imitates life, here’s how you find screenwriting ideas

Tuesday, 27 July, 2010

This one has been doing the rounds, but if you’ve ever wondered where screenwriters find inspiration for TV shows, read on

The stories I love often involve world-building. But most people working in the tv business are terrified of building worlds. They want shows that are relatable and recognizable. They want real worlds with real people that will under no condition make viewers uncomfortable or remind them of anything remotely strange and unknown. No Ordinary Family is a perfect example of this: the family is Absolutely Ordinary until they’re NOT. And when they’re NOT, they respond to that very NOT-ness just as any other Ordinary Family would.

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Clone yourself online with smart email auto-reply and nag scripts

Thursday, 27 May, 2010

Hilary Mason has written a couple of scripts that can identity and auto-reply to email messages that are of a certain subject, and also send follow up messages to people who have not replied to your emails.

Mason wrote a series of scripts that auto-respond to email with particular content, and auto-nag folks she’s emailed but hasn’t gotten a response from yet.

Once she has perfected the code, she will post the open-source scripts online.

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Oh yeah, Star Wars, I just made that up as I went along

Thursday, 20 May, 2010

While the original “Star Wars” film, A New Hope, was always going to spawn sequels (being the Original trilogy), I had the feeling that the idea for the prequels (the Prequel trilogy), plus another three films (the Sequel trilogy), that take place some years after events of the Original trilogy, were ideas that came to George Lucas after production of the first film had started:

Don’t tell anyone … but when ‘Star Wars’ first came out, I didn’t know where it was going either. The trick is to pretend you’ve planned the whole thing out in advance.

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