Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘screenwriting’ Category

If you weren’t alive in 1977 this is what was popular before the internet came along:

“To me, The Gong Show was the simplest and most elegant of TV shows. The anti-game show. The anti-variety show. A hot mess of street performers and buskers and B-list celebrities who all appeared to be in on the joke. At base, they dared you to watch, and I loved it. Watching Chuck Barris on television proved to me that the best way to be funny, was to amuse yourself before all others. Those who laughed along with you, became your boss. Those who didn’t, were of no consequence. It’s the truest thing I’ve ever learned in my career.”
Mike Rowe blog post

Chuck Barris—who died last week (but isn’t to be confused with Chuck Berry, who also died last week)—had a movie produced on a book he wrote. Charlie Kaufman wrote the screenplay to Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, where Barris said he was once a hitman for the CIA.

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“One of the lessons I took from Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner—which is one of the influences here—is that one of the reasons that film was so effective in its discussion with race is because it started with a situation that was universal. Take the race out of it, everybody can relate to the fear of meeting your potential in laws for the first time. At some point I had a revelation that was also the way to get into [Get Out]. ”
Writer/Director Jordan Peele (Get Out)
The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith podcast

Scott W. Smith

 

Read Full Post »

“I think the greatest scare in horror is turning the corner in The Shining and finding the girls at the end of the hallway. It’s the same scare as when you first meet Hannibal Lecter [in The Silence of the Lambs]. You come down the hallway, and he’s just waiting for you. It’s the protagonist in motion and something waiting for him, patiently and calmly. Those are so chilling to me. The plane in North by Northwest [chasing Cary Grant’s character]. One of the great things you can do in movies is fool someone into seeing depth. When you see the plane far away, and it gets closer and closer, it changes your breathing.”
Writer/director Jordan Peele (Get Out)
New York Times interview with Jason Zinoman

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

If you give an actor an honest role, they’ll want to play it. When I showed St. Vincent to Jack Nicholson, he said, ‘This is an actable piece.’ I spent time thinking, ‘What does that mean?’What an ‘actable piece,’ to me, ended up meaning is that it’s honest and pathos and everything you want. If you look at the movies that are out this year, you’ll find honest work. You’ll find honest work in Moonlight, honest work in Manchester by the Sea. I think that’s key. 
Writer/Director Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures)
Space Race by Peter Hanson
Written By

Related post: Writing Actor Bait

Read Full Post »

“If I don’t do a [stand up comedy] set in two weeks, I feel it. I read an article a few years ago that said when you practice a sport a lot, you literally become a broadband: the nerve pathway in your brain contains a lot more information. As soon as you stop practicing, the pathway begins shrinking back down. Reading that changed my life. I used to wonder, Why am I doing these sets, getting on a stage? Don’t I know how to do this already? The answer is no. You must keep doing it. The broadband starts to narrow the moment you stop.”
Jerry Seinfeld
NY Times/December 20, 2012
Jerry Seinfeld Intends to Die Standing Up  by Jonah Weiner

Read Full Post »

“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”
Rick (Humphrey Bogart) in Casablanca

casablanca-02.jpg

If it’s true that there are only two kinds of stories— “a stranger comes to town” and “a man (woman/child/_____) goes on a journey”— then as far as Oscar-nominated Best Pictures “journey” stories are the winner.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but the ones that jumped out to me as either being stranger or journey stories.

“JOURNEY” STORIES:
(Limited to just the last 20 years)

Moonlight
12 Years a Slave
Argo
The Artist
The King’s Speech
The Hurt Locker
Slumdog Millionaire
Lion
The Revenant
Manchester by the Sea
Hacksaw Ridge
The Martian
Brooklyn
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
Whiplash
Birdman
Nebraska
Gravity
Dallas Buyers Club
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Moneyball
Winter’s Bone.
Toy Story 3
The Social Network
Silver Linings Playbook
Ray
127 Hours
Up
Up in the Air
Juno 
Little Miss Sunshine
Capote
Sideways
The Pianist
A Beautiful Mind
Traffic
Erin Brockovich
Saving Private Ryan
Good Will Hunting
Titanic

“STRANGER” STORIES:
(All the way back into the 1930s)

Spotlight
Captain Phillips
Room
Field of Dreams
Dead Poets Society
Driving Miss Daisy
Fatal Attraction
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
On Golden Pond
Jaws
Chinatown
Mary Poppins
The Music Man
The Caine Mutiny
High Noon
A Streetcar Named Desire
Sunset Blvd.
Great Expectations
It’s a Wonderful Life
Double Indemnity
Casablanca

You could say there are hybrids. A stranger comes to town (Juno’s baby) and takes Juno on a journey. The police officer is the stranger that comes to town in Winter’s Bone that sets Rea on a journey to find her father. In Driving Miss Daisy, Hoke is the stranger that comes to town, so to speak, to work for Miss Daisy and they journey through life together.

No hard and fast rules here, but worth pondering. And I did say “if it’s true” regarding the stranger/journey concept often attributed to Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky.

I’m not sure if I’ll develop this further so let me end with two of my favorite “stranger comes to town” movies. Hitchcock’s Shadow of Doubt (which Gordon McDonell earned a story Oscar-nomination) back in the ’40s. While Uncle Charlie is technically not a stranger, the movie revolves around his coming to town and doing some pretty strange shenanigans.

The second movie, High Plaines Drifter, is the only non-Oscar nominated film on this list, but it’s the quintessential stranger coming to town movie.

Scott W. Smith 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Compiled by Burger Fiction (“We make videos about movies”):

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: