Friday, May 12, 2006

Japanese Greetings!


"HAI!"

This is the proper response to STAR1's nonsense...

Quick movie update:

We have yet to get dropped by the mini-major. They are jumping in with us full force to try to find a replacement for STAR1 - and still make our September shooting slot.

Go figure. I wouldn't have bet on that for anything.

But they were very honest.

Greg - we really love this script. But to tell the truth - this film is falling apart. We just need to buckle down and find someone else.

So anyone with connections to a really bankable 20 something male actor who is looking for work - let me know. The trick is - although it's an incredible part where the guy is gonna get to act with 5 other great great actors - and the kid carries the entire movie on his back covering the full gamut of emotions -

He gets to do all this for the price of a favor... :)

So we still might be SOL. But you never know...

BACK TO POST:

So here is something that Ryan and I argued about tonight. Two points - and I'll make the arguments for both.

ONE:

I have been told twice in pitches that audiences don't like to be manipulated or misled.

I take great exception to that.

There are few things I like better than to be misled and manipulated when I am watching a film. Especially if it is done well. To be misled and manipulated poorly - well... For that there is no excuse. But when it is handled correctly - it is a great great feeling.

Did people riot in the theater when they found out Bruce Willis was dead in Sixth Sense?

Or when you first saw that Guy Pearce was killing innocents in Memento?

It was masterful manipulation. You thought one thing was true - only to find out you have to reshape everything you thought about the movie upon finding out the new information.

Now granted - maybe most people just like peanut butter and jelly... But come on - in every script ever written - we manipulate people. We tell them - this is true love - to email each other across the country and then meet at the empire state building. Every horror and thriller is built around manipulation. We are manipulated into thinking its fun to crash wedding and sleep with many girls and still be a good guy...

All film is manipulation - and all of us as audience members go along with it because we want to be entertained. And maybe I am in the minority - but I love to be misled. How can you say that we don't like that? How many freaking Law and Order and CSI shows are on the air? There is a reason that the term McGuffin is in the vocabulary.

Magic is based on misdirection... And so are movies. If you figure out who did it in the first minute of the film - why watch the rest? To prove you were right? It takes all the fun out of it.

To make the best choice means to make extreme choices. And that requires manipulation. When we write - we don't do it just for us - it is for the reader and the audience. What moves them? Makes them scream? Cry? We go for the universals - and the collective experience. The more vested we get the audience in our characters - the more we can take them to places they don't want to go.

You can have them eating out of your hand - or spitting in your face...

But to say an audience doesn't like to be manipulated or misled?

I think this is just plain old horsepucky....

TWO:

In my pitch - and in the film that might go before cameras with the mini major in September - I have lead characters that have a central flaw. Each of them are set up with a mistake that they make right off the bat. And they see that they did wrong.

During the course of the film - they repeat that mistake - at least three more times - till at the end - they remedy it.

I was told that is stupid.

Here is where I take exception.

I agree - if you read those things in the script - you wanna yell at the character - you idiot. Didn't you learn anything? What is wrong with you?

But I contend that as characters - that is what we do. Our shortsightedness is what makes us who we are. As humans, we are destined to repeat the same set of mistakes over and over - until finally - at the point of exhaustion for those around us - we either learn from our mistakes - or we knowingly continue to make them.

Ryan says that the point of a script is to watch a dramatic change... And I agree. And I by no means want the audience to be yelling at the screen telling the character what an idiot they are - unless that character really is an idiot - and then it is highly appropriate - BUT I do think that we are slow learners - and by repeating patterns of behavior - we see in different ways how that affects us and how we not only need to change - but have to change.

Granted - I am the last one to say that because it is real - therefore it is ok. Because my uncle did something dumb just like this character - and he did it again and again - my character can do it too cause it is "real." Listen - there is no "real" in scripts. There is only the movie. Does it work or doesn't it? I don't care what your justification is - or what happened to your uncle - just make it come together on the page.

But I still think we continuously screw up and it fine to see that... real or not!

In both instances - there is a very very fine line that divides a really nice way to handle problems in writing and ways to create and exacerbate problems in writing.

I leave it to you to decide which is which.

But remember - right answer gets you flowers.

Wrong answer - HAI!

3 Comments:

Blogger HORACE said...

yes, when i read the script...i thought that this guy could be me, repeating the same decisions that lead to trouble -

*sigh

one day i will learn - perhaps from a few seasoned vets

8:54 AM

 
Blogger glassblowerscat said...

I think perhaps I will start a blogging war with you on this subject. Because it'd be fun.

And because I hate you.

And you're gay.

Okay, I'm just kidding (about the gay thing).

11:08 AM

 
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