Search Results for: mena
Note: No review today.
For those playing catch-up, Twit-Pitch was a contest I held where anyone could pitch me their screenplay as long as it was contained within a single tweet. These are the Top 100 from a list that included nearly1000. These 100 will send me the first ten pages of their scripts, from which I’ll pick 20-25 full scripts to read. To read a discussion of the loglines and contest, head over to the 1300-comment post that occurred afterwards. You should also follow me on Twitter for updates, as I’ll occasionally be tweeting my responses to pages.
There’s been a lot of discussion about what I picked and what I didn’t pick and I wanted to give you guys some insight into why I chose what I chose. I’ve run a few logline contests now and I’ve learned a few things in the process. The first is, wacky comedies tend to be the worst written scripts I read. The more broad something is, the less the writer seems to care about character and story (instead focusing solely on the jokes). And as you know from reading the site, character and story are the most important things to me. So that might explain why I didn’t pick that many comedies despite the fact that there were some pretty funny ideas out there. I was tired of getting burned.
The other thing I learned is that loglines that end with a vague mystery usually result in vague unsatisfying screenplays. So if you wrote something like, “A man discovers a secret room in his house that leads to a horror that he could’ve never imagined.” There’s just not enough information there. If I’m going to take two hours to read a script, I want to know what the script is about. So many of these loglines didn’t get chosen.
Now let me get into why I chose some of the ideas I did. You’ll notice that a lot of the ideas I picked contained irony. A writer who understands the value of irony in storytelling is usually ahead of the writer who doesn’t. In other words, if I was to come across this logline…
A lawyer wakes up on the day of his biggest trial only to learn that he cannot tell a lie.
I’d pick it over this one…
A lawyer wakes up on the day of his biggest trial only to learn that he can hear people’s thoughts.
Both of those ideas are high concept but the second one doesn’t contain any irony. The lawyer can really be anybody. So it’s not nearly as exciting of an idea.
Also, since everything that happened with The Disciple Program, I’ve been fortunate enough to talk to a lot of producers in the industry. And the thing I continue to hear is, “Bring me a movie I can sell.” Not “Bring me a movie that can win a BAFTA.” Not “Bring me a movie that will fill me with emotion.” But, “bring me a movie I can sell.” That’s not to say that emotion and character development and plotting aren’t important. You guys know now how much I value all of these things. But if those things aren’t inside a package a producer can put on a poster, or sell to the next guy above him, then they’re not interested. Remember, Good Will Hunting sold as a thriller. It wouldn’t have sold as a character piece.
So when I looked through these loglines, there was that little voice in the back of my head reminding me: Is this something you can give Producer A or Producer B and they’ll be interested? The only real producer in town who can get significant character development movies made without having to jump through a million hoops is Scott Rudin. And it’s hard to get to that guy.
Finally, my taste factored into this. You guys all know that I like time travel stuff. I’m also a bit of a sci-fi geek. So you saw a lot of those ideas here. I’m not really into witches and covenants, so loglines like those were at a disadvantage. And you know, sometimes I just took chances. I know the loglines weren’t traditionally ‘sound,’ but something said to me, “This sounds like a unique writer.” The Detroit salt mines one. It felt different. The dwarf opening a pizza shop. It felt different. The dead whale one. It felt different. And those were simply chosen on gut. Unfortunately, that’s not something you can predict when you’re constructing your idea. You never know which gut is going to be looking at your logline.
Now, on to the Twit-Pitch 100. The first 76 were my original picks, and the last 24 were new picks. I chose these by going back through the comments section in the massive Twit-Pitch post and seeing what people liked. I also browsed back through the pitches myself and added a few that didn’t hit me the first time.
I decided to bypass the direct-messaging I promised earlier because it takes a ridiculous amount of time to direct tweet on Twitter for some reason. Therefore, anybody who was favorited and anybody who shows up in the 23 alternates here, you have until Sunday midnight (pacific time) to send me your first 10 pages (to email@example.com with subject line: TWIT-PITCH). I’ll let you know next week what the due date is for the entire script, which will be roughly 2 months. Enjoy the pitches!
1) A pill-pushing psychiatrist must connect with his patients when a dissatisfied customer curses him with all of their disorders.
2) Early 1980s New Jersey: a 12-year-old decides to profile the local mob boss for his seventh grade English project.
3) North Atlantic, 1825. A whaling Captain and his mutinous crew are trapped on the body of a dead whale and must fight for survival.
4) A “This American Life” type documentary covering a monster attack on NYC, using found footage, like the 1st anniversary of 9/11
5) Werewolves on The Moon: It’s always a full moon on the moon.
6) After winning a nationwide lottery a man must decide what to do with his prize, fifteen minutes of advice to give to his younger self
7) Genesis Y2K: A Christian broadcasting network hires two failed filmmakers to create a TV series of the Bible before the apocalypse
8) After being framed for his father’s murder, an ex-Army medic goes on the run and uncovers a vast secret buried in Detroit’s salt mines
9) West Side story but hip-hop. Rival barber shops: Hella Cutty vs. Get Faded. Step it up 3 meets Leprechaun in the hood
10) On a dare, a young woman shaves her head… only to discover a pirate’s treasure map tattooed onto her scalp
11) When his fiancee gets promoted, a man must plan their wedding on his own. But he risks losing his bride when he becomes a groomzilla.
12) A troubled teen suspects his father may be trying to kill him for a life insurance payout when he’s involved in several “accidents”
13) A man trying to solve the mystery of his con artist grandfather must overcome his own beliefs and the resistance of his broken family.
14) An uptight half-white half-Latin man confronts his repressed heritage when he’s mistaken for a druglord while on business in Guatemala
15) An orphan grows up in a projection booth. He must use all he learned from movies to survive outdoors or lose his true love
16) A group of friends returns from a time-travel fieldtrip to find a nerdy student has altered his past turning him into a living legend.
17) A hoarder finds the girl of his dreams only to lose her in his apartment.
18) A TV executive is held hostage by the characters from a show he recently cancelled, who demand they be put back on the air.
19) An astrophysicist Jesuit priest suffers a crisis of faith triggered by the discovery of a destroyed civilization lightyears from home.
20) One man unaffected by a world inexplicably frozen in time, seeks a way to end the stasis, and finds to his peril that he’s not alone.
21) Firstclass: Mailmen vs. meter maids, battle in the secret civil servant war for control of the streets while trying to get disability.
22) A down on his luck Ice Cream Man agrees to transport stolen stem cells to Mexico only to find these cells are not from this planet.
23) A team of animals organize to fight the omnipotent Taxidermist after he inflicts their community with a deadly parasite
24) A 30 year old woman who dated twins in college believes that one of them was “The One”, if only she could remember which.
25) Two guys have one weekend to battle for the coveted ‘Godfather’ title to their best friend’s new daughter.
26) A terrorist with a $10 mill bounty, a callous soldier of fortune and a mysterious man with no name walk into a bar in Afghanistan
27) Secrets revealed, lives evaluated and relationships SLAUGHTERED after a small town reality cast deals with the murder of their lead.
28) A paranormal debunker is unknowingly invited to investigate a home by a ghost who is terrified by another evil entity lurking upstairs
29) Ex-CIA assassin unionizes an eclectic group of freelance hitmen to “negotiate” with their mob employers. Norma Rae meets RED
30) When the world’s biggest superhero agreed to grant a dying boy’s last wish, he didn’t count on the boy wishing for all his powers
31) When a suicide cult oddly resurrects in a small town, an ex-cop must uncover the truth, and find his own dead son has also risen
32) 9 strangers wake in a deserted Mexican town besieged by killing machines: they must discover why they’ve been brought there to survive
33) In 1903 North Carolina, the Wright bros attempt the first flight, but shenanigans arise when they fall in love with the same woman
34) The ghost of a legendary star gets tangled up in his own biopic when he needs the help of the heartthrob cast as him
35) Small town funeral home begrudgingly inherited is failing so the owner starts killing for business. Soon, his model goes national.
36) Can it get any worse than living next door to a serial killer? It can if you live on CRIMSON ROAD… the whole street is full of them.
37) Driven into exile by a goblin invasion, a mythological dwarf struggles to adapt to life as a pizzeria owner in upstate New York
38) When a lonely masochistic chubby chaser is abducted by two fat lesbian serial killers, it’s the best thing that ever happened to him.
39) Determined to find a date for his high school reunion, a loser hires a lifecoach who turns out to be his old school bully
40) An imprisoned Japanese-American doctor and a Caucasian nurse fall in love amid mounting tension inside a WWII internment camp
41) ORBIT – A team of astronauts orbiting the Earth find they may be the world’s only hope during a devastating alien attack.
42) When a billionaire sociopath is sent to death row, he offers $100 million cash to anyone that can successfully break him out
43) SPECIMEN – An amnesiac surgeon who wakes up chained to a steel slab must uncover why doctors are performing grisly operations on him.
44) While investigating a popular student’s unexplained disappearance, a high school psychologist realizes her stepson is a prime suspect.
45) After a series of murders, three survivors must help police piece together the previous night’s events. Rashomon meets Reunion
46) RE-ENACTMENT: A civil war expert and his son must fight to survive a reenactment organized by a dangerous southern cult
47) Douche Patrol: Two partners in the newly created Douche Patrol try to expose a plot to douchify the masses through a reality TV show
48) An ex-cop awakes in an alternative reality where normal people are locked up in mental institutions and society is runned by lunatics
49) After checking into a hotel to escape her abusive husband, a woman realizes guests in the next room are holding a young girl hostage.
50) 3 days after his wife and child die, a man discovers he can travel into the past, one day at a time, as long as he never falls asleep.
51) ActingCoach:a hi-school drama teacher becomes coach of the varsity basketball team, forcing his theater philosophies on the jocks
52) With his favorite fast-food sandwich facing its final week before it’s phased out forever, an obsessed man leads a protest to save it.
53) 3 men kill a friend for suspiciously losing their winning lotto ticket, only to later discover the missing ticket was in fact a loser
54) Head of time travel program learns world’ll be destroyed in 25 years and must stop the terrorist responsible: his 25-year-older self.
55) Desperate to divorce but cash-strapped, ornery newlyweds must put their feuding aside to sell their house, much less agree on a price.
56) AIRBORNE An outbreak of a lethal, unknown virus threatens the passengers and crew of a commercial airliner, forcing it to stay aloft
57) Futuristic re-imagining of SLEEPING BEAUTY. A young woman, cryogenically frozen for 100 years, is discovered in deep space.
58) A warrior sets out to track and kill the last giant – a lonely, anguished creature… and last link to an ancient, beautiful world.
59) The little known true story of how Matisse & Picasso went from being fierce rivals to BFFs.
60) To save his Mom’s home, an obnoxious 40 year old is given one chance: enter the teen TV quiz he had a meltdown on 25 years ago.
61) A group of last-minute shoppers trapped in a mall on Christmas Eve are stalked by a demon-possessed Santa. Horror/Comedy
62) A lowly museum curator races to find Pandora’s box before the resurrected Greek gods destroy the modern world.
63) A famous chef has a nervous breakdown and recovers while working at McDonald’s, where he rediscovers his love for food.
64) RomCom-Man loves woman whose dreams predict future, but future she sees isn’t with him. Can he convince her to choose love over fate?
65) A car thief finds a drug mule tied up in the trunk of his latest grab, then finds himself in the sights of the man who wants her back
66) Emilie can control time at will. When she’s hired to change a key event in a mathematical genius’s life, time begins to collapse
67) A lifelong bachelor accidentally proposes to his clingy girlfriend then tries to trick her into dumping him, but the tables soon turn
68) After forced to choose between her two children during a fire, Sarah fears she is now being haunted by the dead son she left behind.
69) A divorced dad adopts a puppy to fix his family but troubles arise when his ex’s new boyfriend joins his Puppy Kindergarten class
70) DEVIL’S DUE: A cave rescue team fights to escape a collapsing abandoned mine stalked by inhuman ghouls who can mimic victims.
71) After running away from home, an eight foot tall teenager stumbles upon a retirement town for sideshow performers.
72) When a U-Boat vanishes in the 1940s, it leads a team of American GIs to a terrifying secret trapped beneath the ice of Antarctica
73) A dwarf on the run from the mob impersonates the 7-year-old host of an irreverent children’s TV show.
74) After thwarting a terrorist hijacking, passengers debate what to do with the surviving bomber, who’s still set on finishing the job
75) ‘The Tradition’ 1867 After losing her father, a woman unwittingly takes a job as a maid at a countryhouse of aristocratic cannibals
76) After perfecting the ability to send data backwards in time, a brilliant quantum physicist must avert his future murder.
AND NOW – FOR THE ALTERNATES (YOUR PICKS!)
77) The Lipschitz Affair: When an art heist interrupts a wedding at the Guggenheim, everyone’s a suspect — even the bride and groom
78) The Shit List: With the help of his best friend, an underachiever seeks revenge on the people he blames for ruining his life #tp12
79) When a solar storm strands a lonesome geologist in the Canadian wild, she must journey through the dark to survive. “Borealis”
80) When fired by God, a hardworking guy decides to change path and ends up appointed CEO of Hell (, Inc).
81) A bridge appears over the Miss. river. A city official forms a blockade, but news that it travels you back in time starts a hysteria.
82) A chicken farmer watches in horror as his simple life is manipulated by a documentary filmmaker into a feature film.
83) Documentarian interviews Environmentalist Leader only to discover he’s a pawn of the Mob, disposing of bodies in newly created parks.
84) 22yrs old and tired of the pain and suffering of being a real boy,Pinocchio embarks on a journey to get turned back into a puppet.
85) A team of scientists lands on Mars to begin the terraformation process, but Mars fights back in RED MENACE.
86) A mundane father returns to his childhood imaginary world, only to find it has been corrupted by his life as an adult.
87) After a chance encounter, a young couple reunites a few months later only to find their love threatened by a dark secret.
88) It’s 1901. Terrorists have just taken over the White House. And only Theodore Roosevelt can stop them.
89) A high school senior discovers there is a conspiracy to stop him from having sex before graduation.
90) 3 girls spend their last summer before high school rebuilding a old fort and their crumbling friendship.
91) A bounty hunter has 30 days to catch his nemesis before the last spaceship departs, leaving him stranded and alone on a dying earth.
92) BLACKHATS: A hacker for hire finds himself in a deadly web of corporate espionage after being hired to steal the 1st sentient A.I.
93) Haunted by his daughter’s death, a reclusive CIA interrogator saves a suspect he’s ordered to torture; a young girl of alien origin.
94) Ecotourists stranded in a radioactive ghost town at Chernobyl face the threat of wolves, disfigured locals & their own social meltdown
95) 1022 BC. Family corruption and fierce enemy tribes plague the young warrior David as he plots his own rise and ascension to Israel’s throne.
96) Chris Kartje @chriskartje
When, on Xmas Eve, Santa lands on a frat house & eats all the pot cookies, itʼs up to the last sober Jew to be his designated driver.
97) A failed Elvis impersonator travels back in time to steal the life & career of the real Elvis.
98) New York 2029. The whole city is a walled in maximum security town for the wealthy. The world most dangerous criminal just dropped in.
99) Trapped in an increasingly nightmarish limbo, a dead boxer keeps returning to the ring, desperate for the win that’ll change his fate.
100) A rising young actress struggles to keep her sexuality a secret while falling for her female castmate & trying to succeed in Hollywood
As many of you may have heard, I took a year off from Los Angeles to move back to Chicago and reclaim my soul. But I’m moving back in August and as I started looking for places, I realized, like Liam Neeson in Taken, that I had a particular set of skills. I’d lived in LA for 8 years, bounced all over, been to every neighborhood at least once. If there was anyone who could help future LA screenwriting transplants find the right neighborhood to live in, it would be me! So even though this KIND Of article has been written before, it’s never been written Carson-style. So buckle up beanbags. Shit’s about to get square footage.
SANTA MONICA ($$) – Santa Monica is one of the best places to live in Los Angeles because it has one of the most active beaches in LA, one of the best shopping areas in 3rd Street Promenade, and it’s the most centralized beach town in the city. Now you will be taking most of your meetings in the Hollywood/Beverly Hills area, and Santa Monica is about a 30-40 minute drive from there, but it’s a small price to pay for being close to the beach, right!? The only real downside is that Santa Monica is the homeless capital of the United States. I don’t know if this is official or anything but it’s impossible to go anywhere without running into homeless people. And be careful, since LA’s homeless crowd is the best dressed in the nation, they often look like normal people. I once thought I’d made a new best friend only to have him screaming at me five minutes later that I was working for the government. Very embarrassing. Especially since I had just bought him ice cream.
BRENTWOOD ($$) – Brentwood is a really cool place situated just west of UCLA, about 20 minutes from the Santa Monica beach. It’s sectioned off from the university by the notorious parking lot known as the 405 freeway. Very clean and pretty. It has this nice (if humongous) central street with all these nice little shops around it. The crowd here tends to have a young, slightly upscale feel to it. I love going here every once in awhile but my impression of the community is that they’re a little stuck-up. Maybe I’ve just had bad experiences there but I didn’t quite gel with the people. However, if you consider talking to others overrated or you’re stuck-up yourself, Brentwood is perfect for you! (p.s. Conan lives in Brentwood)
VENICE ($$) – Venice is one of the places I’m looking at. It’s another beach town, just south of Santa Monica. It’s less pretentious, and the clientele reflect it. You’ll find a lot more tattoos and piercings here. Venice is also home to the famous Venice Boardwalk. And if you Google that, you’ll get a feel for what you can expect. There’s a community further inland in Venice that’s a little more sophisticated, yet maintains that sort of rebel edge. This is where I’d like to live, unless I have enough dough to live beachside or on Venice’s famous moat-river thing. That will depend on how many of you buy my book. I should start a slogan. “Books for beach!” Someone go trend that on Twitter right now! (I still don’t know what trending means btw). Keep in mind Venice is even FURTHER from the Hollywood/Beverly Hills area (45 min), so meeting transit times might become an issue.
PALMS/WEST L.A. ($) – (about 25 min from Beverly Hills) I lived in Palms for a while. It’s about a 20 minute drive directly east of Venice Beach, and since you’re much further off the water and south of high priced Santa Monica, the property is cheaper. Like a lot of places in LA, you can weave in and out of Palms and find some pretty nice buildings as well as some pretty not-so-nice ones. This is a great starter neighborhood though, because you’re right next to the two major highways in the city (the 405 and the 10), allowing you to get anywhere you want to go.
CULVER CITY ($$) – Culver City is located adjacent to West LA. Much of Culver City used to be the MGM lot, so it’s a really neat little place, tucked into the trees, with a lot of history to it. I like it because it has sort of a Midwest suburban vibe to it, how I grew up. And recently, within the last 10 years, the downtown area has really picked up. The Sony lot is right in the heart of Culver City, so you have lot of young hip people coming from over there. I really like Culver City but since I lived there already, I want to try a new area.
MARINA DEL RAY ($$) – Oh, the stories I could tell you about Marina Del Ray. My first girlfriend in Los Angeles lived on a boat in Marina Del Ray. Wasn’t the brightest bulb on the tree. Once, while in the boat, we started shaking, and she said, “Oh, here comes another earthquake.” I looked at her and I said, “Huh?” And she said, “Yeah, there’s a lot of earthquakes in Los Angeles. Sometimes like ten a day.” I said, “That was a boat passing us.” She kind of squinted at me and went, “Ohhhhh.” Anyway, Marina Del Ray is south of Venice and is sort of an unknown spot in Los Angeles. But it’s got some really cool beachfront property that’s reasonably priced. And it’s reallly quiet there. The downside is that you’re on the southern tip of what would be considered “reasonable driving distance” between everything in LA. It will take you an hour to get to Beverly Hills.
IN AND OUT ($4.99 – double double and a fry) – In and Out is the most popular burger joint in LA. It sells just burgers and fries, nothing else. Nothing is frozen and everything is made to order. It’s ridiculously delicious. Now while you’re not technically allowed to live inside an In and Out, you can sit inside for a few hours before an employee notices you. And even once you do get kicked out, they have tables outside that you can sleep under. There are about 50 of these stores throughout the city and the last time I checked, about half are available.
BEVERLY HILLS ($$$) – There’s no doubt that Beverly Hills is prime real estate. The houses are a lot bigger, the lawns are a lot wider. It even makes you ignore the insane amount of concrete that dominates the city (some streets in LA will take you 3 minutes to cross they’re so wide). Having said that, there are a few places on the fringe of Beverly Hills that aren’t too expensive. They’re pretty small, but you can have that coveted Beverly Hills zip code if you really want it. There’s also an area called “Beverly Hills Adjacent” that’s basically like the ghetto of Beverly Hills. However, the ghetto of Beverly Hills is still pretty nice! I lived there once. And what I found is when someone asks you where you live, you can just say “Beverly Hills ashsushaa,” and slur the last part. If you’re lucky, they’ll think you just said Beverly Hills. Oh, and Beverly Hills Adjacent is also the central hub for the Orthodox Jew community. So if you want to live here, you gotta grow a beard and get a top hat.
WESTWOOD ($$) – (25 min or less to Bev Hills) Westwood, or “Tehran East” as I like to call it, is a strange place. There are two types of people you’ll see here – college students from UCLA (where the university is located) and Persians, who make up 60% of Westwood’s population. I just made that number up but it’s reasonably accurate. Westwood is the first town east of Santa Monica, so it’s about a 25 minute drive to the beach, straight down Wilshire Boulevard, which is the biggest street that’s not a highway I’ve ever seen. The area itself is pretty nice. It has an okay downtown area whose highlights include large old-school movie theaters that are great for premiere parties. And if you’ve got a sweet tooth like yours truly, it has two GREAT places to get your fix – Diddy Reese (where the cookies are always fresh) and Stan’s Donuts (which has the most unique donuts in town. They actually bake a reeses peanut butter cup into one of their donuts. Need I say more?).
PACIFIC PALISADES ($$$) – (55 minutes to Beverly Hills) Pacific Palisades is one of the nicest areas in Los Angeles. It’s the main beach area north of Santa Monica. You gotta take this windy twisty road to get there so it’s a bit of a hassle to commute. But this place is like a prettier Beverly Hills (at least in my opinion). It’s hilly and vegetative (is that a word?) and has places on the beach. If you’re drowning in money and don’t need to drive a lot, this place is for you.
THE VALLEY ($) (BURBANK, STUDIO CITY, OTHER TOWNS) – In Los Angeles, you have these hills that split the city in two. On the south side of those hills, you have proper Los Angeles (which I’ve been talking about) and to the north, you have the valley. I’m just gonna come right out and say it. I hate the Valley. I worked there once (in Burbank) and I didn’t like anything about it. The heat gets trapped in the valley so it’s always hotter there. The smog also gets trapped in the valley, so you’re sucking down soot wherever you go. And there’s just this feeling of depression whenever you’re in the valley. Like it never made it out of the 70s. The huge plus side of living in the Valley, of course, is that it’s a lot cheaper. So it’s a good starter place. And if you absolutely have to live in the Valley, I’d recommend Studio City. I can’t say I know much about it but the few times I’ve been there, I liked it better than anywhere else in the valley, probably because it actually has current stores. Plus it’s right across the hill so should you wake up one day and realize you’re actually in the valley, you’re just a 15 minute car drive from freedom.
LOS FELIZ AND SILVER LAKE ($$) – (I think 35 min to Beverly Hills?) These are two places I’m thinking of moving to. The crowd here is young and hip and artsy, but, from what I’ve been told, not the pretentious kind of young and hip and artsy. The people are more genuine. It’s kind of a hilly interesting area with some unique houses that date back to a long time ago. It’s just northwest of downtown, so you’re not gonna like this place if you’re a beach person because it’s a good 45 minute drive to the beach, but I’m hoping that the energy and the people here will make up for that because I want to find some cool folks in my second stint in LA!
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – Up until I left, there was a huge push to make downtown Los Angeles trendy. And they have put a lot of cool lofts up, which is nice because you don’t really have many loft options in LA. But when I went down to look at these places, it was as dead as a door nail and you would walk one block and find yourself in a sketchy part of the city. Also, I’m 95 percent sure they hired actors to walk around with dogs in order to make it look like cool hip people lived there. It has been a year though, so maybe that’s changed.
HOLLYWOOD ($ – $$$) – Oh boy. I have mixed feelings about Hollywood. Here’s the thing. Los Angeles is so messed up and their layout so confusing, that I’m not even sure where Hollywood extends to. But the part of Hollywood I’m familiar with is dirty, grimy, and desperate. Because it’s one of the most popular town names in the world, it’s where all the clueless people live when they first arrive in LA. All these people care about is becoming famous. So there’s a dominant young narcissistic vibe on top of all the dirtiness. However, if Hollywood does extend as far west as I think it does, there are some places at the west end of Hollywood, off Sunset, that are nice. But that area might actually be “West Hollywood.” I don’t know. It’s confusing.
WEST HOLLYWOOD ($$) – West Hollywood is one of the cleanest nicest most centralized areas in LA and, like I said, where most people want to have meetings. So very little driving (except when you’re going to the studios, which are freaking spread out all over Los Angeles). I don’t like it though. It’s just packed so tight, I feel like a sardine whenever I’m there. But it’s right next to the famous Sunset Strip so if you’re a partier, this is a good area to live in. West Hollywood is also the central hub for the gay community in LA. Which may explain why it’s so clean. And last I checked (which admittedly was awhile ago) there were some rent control areas. So you might really luck out with a sweet affordable pad.
ORANGE COUNTY ($ or $$) – I actually really like Orange County, which is South East of Los Angeles and the home to Disneyland. There are a lot of nice little apartments and houses there, many of which are very affordable. And if you don’t like the pretentious LA scene, Orange County is a great alternative because many of the people there don’t even consider themselves Los Angelites. But if you expect to be taking meetings or coming to Los Angeles a lot, I’m gonna save you a lot of time and tell you to steer clear of Orange County. On an average day, it can take you an hour and 45 minutes to get to town. Or longer!
OTHER – Los Angeles also has a bunch of tucked in tiny areas that are really nice. For example, further inland from Marina del Rey is Mar Vista, which is like this secret little perfect community with all these awesome places that only a few people in LA know about. There’s Pasadena, which is really nice but a bit of a hike out east so I’d stay away from there unless you’re only planning to come to LA every couple of weeks. And if all else fails, Los Angeles is a great place to be homeless. The weather is always nice. The thrown away clothes are often designer-quality. And if you fall asleep on the sidewalk, you’ll wake up with seven full burritos from Baja Fresh laying by your side. Yes, homeless people in Los Angeles get fed well! Maybe next article I’ll highlight the best park benches in Los Angeles to sleep on. They have some great ones up at Griffith Park.
So guys, where should I live?? And where do you live now?? Pros? Cons?
Genre: Contained Thriller
Premise: A group of masked thugs break into a morgue, demanding access to a body that contains evidence to a crime they recently committed.
About: Information on this one is mixed but I believe it originally went wide in 2010 and then finally ended up selling (possibly after a few rewrites) at the end of 2011. David Lesser, the writer, has been around for a long time, working mainly in TV. He wrote for “Who’s The Boss,” and wrote episodes for “Coach” and “Sabrina The Teenage Witch.”
Writer: David Lesser
Details: 106 pages – undated (This is an early draft of the script. The situations, characters, and plot may change significantly by the time the film is released. This is not a definitive statement about the project, but rather an analysis of this unique draft as it pertains to the craft of screenwriting).
I guess what happens when you get into the later stages of your screenwriting career is you stop writing spec scripts. You usually have a family, children, people who depend on you. So you don’t have the luxury of spending those precious few hours each day on writing something that doesn’t guarantee a paycheck. Instead, you go where the money is. And the money is in a steady paying TV job or assignment work.
For that reason, it’s always cool to see a veteran writer still writing specs – still taking a shot. And to that end, I love what Lesser has done here. He’s come up with a cool little idea with plenty of conflict and a cheap production tag.
With that said, Bodies at Rest is one of those screenplays that exists in the floating netherworld of spec sales. It’s good enough to get purchased, but something’s missing from making it that break out “talked about” screenplay. Sometimes I bring up the notion that certain stories (namely dramas and thrillers) need TEETH. They need to bite down on you, wrestle you, make you feel like you’re not going to get away. They need to feel DANGEROUS. That’s how I felt yesterday. I felt like The Stanford Prison Experiment dug its teeth into me and wouldn’t let go. With this script, I feel more like the characters are blowing bubbles at me. They’re winking and smiling when the cameras aren’t looking. Nobody ever feels threatening or threatened. For that reason, it was hard to become invested.
For example, it seemed like over a dozen times the villain said to our hero, “If you try and screw around ONE MORE TIME I’m going to [some clever saying about the method in which he was going to kill him].” But that moment never came. Once you get past 3 empty threats, it’s hard to take anything the villain says seriously. The irony is that in The Stanford Prison Experiment, we knew with 100% certainty that those characters were safe – that nothing terrible was ever going to happen to them. And yet I was a thousand times more terrified for them than I was the characters in Bodies At Rest. And that’s because that script had TEETH.
Anyway, Bodies At Rest follows the beautiful Lia and the mischievously handsome Abe. Both of them work together at the morgue, tearing up dead bodies and trying to figure out how they died. The two have a bit of a romance going, but Lia wants more out of it than Abe, and that causes just the slightest bit of friction between the two. She’s ready to take the next step. He’s not.
Well that white picket fence Lia’s so obsessed with is about to get mowed down, because three armed men in masks burst into the morgue, demanding to see a woman’s body. Now you’d think our body carvers would be terrified by this development. I mean, it’s not every night that someone breaks into a morgue and threatens to kill you. But for whatever reason, our heroic duo is as calm as the dead body lying on the table in front of them.
We soon learn that the trio wants a bullet taken out of a female body. Abe, who is somehow more relaxed now than he was when Lia was asking for a commitment, shrugs his shoulders as if to say, “Sure, why not?” He goes in the back room to extract the bullet from the woman. The thug watching him is so grossed out, he can’t look. Abe gives the man his bullet and the group leaves.
Once they go, Abe reveals to Lia that he didn’t give the men the bullet they were looking for. He extracted a bullet out of a different female body. Now he wants to find out why the men wanted that body. Hmmm. So instead of calling the cops, Abe wants to play Sherlock Holmes? Of course, the thugs realize that they’ve been had and charge back into the morgue all over again, demanding the REAL bullet.
What follows is a psychological game of cat and mouse as Casual Abe leads the thugs on and the thugs keep catching on, menacingly threatening Abe each time but never actually doing anything about it. In the end, when they’ve really truly honestly had enough of Abe’s antics, it looks like they’re REALLY going to kill him. Casual Abe will then have to come up with one last trick to get he and Lia out of this mess.
So I’ve already given you my main problems with the script. But here’s the thing I’m stumped over. There are certain movies where the main character is essentially a super-hero. He’s not afraid of anything because he knows he’s more powerful than everyone else. Many of these movies are popular (Mission Impossible, James Bond). But isn’t it more interesting when the main character actually exhibits fear? When he (and we) feel like there’s a possibility that he can be beaten/defeated/killed?
Because if we’re not worried that anything’s going to happen to our protagonist, then what are the stakes? What’s dramatically interesting about a person who can’t be hurt? That was my issue with Abe. He just seemed WAY too sure of himself and was never once afraid. Since he wasn’t afraid, I wasn’t afraid. And if I’m not afraid, I’m not going to be into the movie.
Still, I admit this kind of character works in some scenarios. One of my favorite characters of all time, Wesley from The Princess Bride, is this kind of character. He always knew he was going to come out okay and so did we. So what’s the difference here? Why does Wesley work and Abe not work? Or do we only accept these characters in larger than life scenarios?
This same approach was extended over to Lia. There’s a moment early on, when the thugs send Abe off to extract the bullet, and Lia is left standing there with the men. What is the first thing she says to them? “Do you mind if I get back to work?”
Uh, wait a minute. What did you just say?
DO YOU MIND IF I GET BACK TO WORK?????
Oh yeah, that would definitely be my reaction if someone was pointing a gun to my head. “Hey guys? I know you want to kill me n’stuff but I REALLY need to get this blog entry up. If you can just hang out for a moment? There’s food in the fridge. Believe me, if you knew Grendl, you’d know why I need to do this pronto.”
Anyway, this gets to the heart of why the script didn’t work for me. Nobody acted like people would really act in this situation. For example, when one of the bad guys is about to rape Lia, she tells him she’s into weird kinky sexual shit and asks if she can spit on him. The thug answers “yes” for God knows what reason and she asks him to hold out his hands. He does, she spits on them, and then kicks him backwards into a freezer where his wet hands get stuck on the frozen doors. This, apparently, was her plan all along. I mean let’s be serious for a second. Is this in any way believable?
My philosophy is always to put yourself in your character’s shoes. Ask the question, “What would I do if I were in this situation?” If your characters are doing something completely different from that, you better have a great reason for why. And I couldn’t find that reason with Bodies At Rest.
[ ] Wait for the rewrite
[x] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius
What I learned: I think it’s important that the audience FEARS your villain. If we don’t fear the villain, there’s a lack of tension and uncertainty in the script that’s hard to make up for. Star Wars has a great moment early on when Darth Vader holds a rebel soldier up off the ground by his neck, choking him to death. So right away, I’m scared of Darth Vader. But it’s not just that he killed someone (the villain in Bodies at Rest kills a few people). It’s the manner in which he does it. It’s cold, it’s heartless, it’s brutal. I just never got that feeling here from the villain. He was never very frightening.
Last week we talked about establishing conflict through characters, relationships, and external forces. During the article, I casually mentioned the importance of conflict within scenes as well. Many of you expressed interest in hearing more about that, so I decided to expand my conflict ramblings to a second week.
Indeed, virtually every scene in your screenplay should have some element of conflict if it’s going to entertain an audience. I cannot stress this enough. One of the biggest mistakes I see in screenplays is boring scenes. Scenes that only exist for characters to spout exposition, to reveal backstory, or to wax philosophic. I’ve referred to these scenes before as “scenes of death.” The quickest way to make these scenes interesting is to add conflict.
The basis for all conflict comes from an imbalance – two forces opposed to one another (wanting different things), or even one force wanting something it can’t have. Usually these forces are represented by your characters. But they can be external as well (if our character is racing towards the airport to tell his girlfriend he loves her, the opposing force might be a traffic jam). So when you sit down to write a scene, you’re always looking to create that imbalance, that unresolved issue, to add an entertainment factor to the sequence.
Having said that, it should be noted that in rare circumstances, you can get away with no conflict. For example, in order for the scene in Notting Hill to work where Anna invites William up to her hotel only to find her boyfriend there (a scene heavy with conflict), we needed a few scenes with the two having a great time together. So eliminating the conflict in those previous scenes actually made the conflict stronger in this one. So as long as you have a purpose for not using conflict, it’s okay (however I would always err on the side of adding conflict).
In true Scriptshadow form, I’ve decided to highlight 10 movies and look at how they create conflict within their scenes. This should give you a clearer picture on how to apply conflict to scenes in your own screenplays.
Meet The Parents
Scene: The Dinner Scene
Conflict: The conflict here is simple. Greg wants to impress Jack so he’ll approve of him marrying his daughter. Jack wants to expose Greg as the inadequate choice for his daughter that he is (two opposing forces – a clear imbalance). This is a great reminder that the best conflict has usually been set up beforehand. So we’ve already established in Greg’s earlier scenes how important getting married to Jack’s daughter is (testing his proposal on one of his patients, organizing her preschool class to help him propose). We’ve also established how reluctant Jack is to accept Greg (when he first shows up, Jack disagrees with him on almost everything). This is the most basic application of conflict in a scene, but as you can see, even the most basic conflict can make a scene highly entertaining.
The Sixth Sense
Scene: Malcolm tries to get Cole to talk to him.
Conflict: This is a very understated scene, but the conflict is well-crafted. Malcolm wants Cole to trust him. Cole is resistant to trusting Malcolm. Again, a simple imbalance. One person wants one thing. Another person wants the opposite. Night cleverly draws the scene out by building a game around it – if Malcolm guesses something right about Cole, he has to take a step forward. If he guesses wrong, Cole gets to take a step back. So you actually feel the conflict with every question.
Back To The Future
Scene: Marty asks Doc to get him back to the future.
Conflict: Once Marty convinces 1950s Doc that he’s from the future, Doc lets him inside. Now at this point, the two are on the same page. They both want to get Marty back to the future. So there’s no conflict between the characters. Instead, the conflict comes from the fact that Doc doesn’t believe it’s possible. So again, two forces are colliding with one another and need to be resolved. At the end of the scene, they realize that the lightning can send him back to the future, and the conflict is resolved (sometimes conflict will be resolved by the end of a scene and sometimes not – it depends on the story and what you’re trying to do).
Scene: Multiple scenes.
Conflict: One of the reasons Rocky is so great is because almost every single scene is packed with conflict. Whether it’s Rocky trying to get a resistant Adrian to go out with him. Whether it’s Rocky getting kicked out of his gym. Whether it’s Mick begging Rocky to let him coach him. Whether it’s his constant clashes with Paulie (and his destructive behavior). Whether it’s him telling a resistant girl to stop hanging around thugs and do something with her life. If you want to know how to create conflict within scenes, pop this movie in your DVD player right now.
Scene: Birthday scene.
Conflict: In this scene, the army men sneak down to Andy’s birthday to report what the new presents are. The conflict stems from trying to report the presents without getting caught. Remember, if it didn’t matter whether the army men were discovered or not, there would be no conflict (and therefore no drama) in this scene. The conflict comes from the fact that if they’re seen, they’re screwed. This is actually one of the reasons the Toy Story franchise is so successful. Because nearly every scene is built around this imbalance. The toys have to pretend to be inanimate whenever humans are around. That means every scene is packed with conflict.
Scene: Deli scene
Conflict: In this famous scene, the conflict comes from the fact that everything in The Ram’s life is falling apart – his health, his family, his profession – and the last place he wants to be is at his $10 an hour deli job. So there’s conflict within the character before the scene even begins. But when his boss starts getting on his nerves, when customers start pushing him, when someone recognizes him, he starts losing it. Those multiple forces pushing up against him are the conflict that makes this scene so great. It’s also another reminder that the best conflict is usually set up ahead of time. This scene doesn’t work if it’s the first scene in the movie. It works because we’ve experienced the downfall of this character. We know what he’s been through. Therefore we understand why he doesn’t want to be here.
Scene: Vivian comes back to his hotel.
Conflict: In this scene, Edward picks up Vivian on the streets and brings her back to his hotel. I specifically picked this scene because it’s a scene that amateur writers always screw up. What’s the purpose of this scene? The purpose is for these two characters to get to know each other. A very common scene in a romantic comedy or any “guy meets girl” movie. However, bad writers will take this scene and try to fill it with a bunch of clever dialogue, exposition, and backstory. If you go that route, at best you’ll have an average scene, and more likely a terrible one. Here’s the thing. This scene *does* have clever dialogue, exposition, and back story. So then why does it work? Because the writer added an element of conflict. Edward wants to talk whereas Vivian wants to get down to business. He wants to get to know her. She wants to collect her money and run. So there’s this little dance going on during the scene – the two characters wanting different things – that allows the writer to slip in clever dialogue, exposition, and backstory, without us realizing it. We’re so entertained/distracted by that dance, that all the story machinations slip under the radar. This is why conflict is so powerful. The right dose can turn an otherwise boring scene into an entertaining one.
The Other Guys
Scenes: All of them.
Conflict: One of the easiest genres to write conflict in is the buddy comedy. That’s because every single scene will have your characters clashing with each other. This is why The Hangover was so popular. This is why Rush Hour was so big. The conflict is definitely artificial, however because it’s a comedy, it works. The trick with these films is to vary the conflict from scene to scene so we don’t tire of it. For example, in an early scene at the office, Mark Wahlberg yells at Will Ferrell for being a pussy. It’s an intense scene with a lot of conflict. However later on, when Mark has dinner with Will’s wife, the conflict is more subtle. Mark keeps bothering him about the fact that there’s no way this could really be his wife. Not every scene needs to be nuclear charged with conflict. You need to mix it up just like you need to mix up any aspect of your screenplay.
Scene: Jack Rabbit Slims
Conflict: The uninitiated screenwriter will look at this scene between Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace and think it’s just a bunch of cool dialogue. Don’t be fooled. This scene’s awesomeness is based entirely on its conflict. Vincent Vega wants something he can’t have – Mia Wallace. Why? Because Mia Wallace is the wife of his boss. What’s so great about this scene though is how hard Tarantino pushes the conflict. If all that was going on here was Vincent wanting Mia, there would be conflict, but not that much. It’s the fact that Mia is throwing herself at him that’s making this so difficult. The more tempted Vincent is, the more difficult his choice becomes. Another lesson here is that the conflict doesn’t only have to come from the characters inside the scene. It’s not Mia who doesn’t want Vincent here. It’s her husband who’s preventing her from being with Vincent. So the conflict in this scene is a little trickier than normal, but it shows that if you think outside the box, you can find conflict through other avenues.
No Country For Old Men
Scene: Anton and the gas station attendant.
Conflict: In this scene, which is probably one of the best scenes of the last decade, Anton pays for gas but gets annoyed when the attendant makes an offhanded remark about where he’s from. The conflict here comes from two places. The first is through dramatic irony. We know how dangerous Anton is. We know what he’s capable of. So we fear what he’s going to do to this man. Dramatic irony is basically conflict between the character and the audience member. It’s usually us not wanting a character to do something. So the imbalance has actually broken the fourth wall. The other conflict here is basic. Anton refuses to let the attendant off for anything he says. Every sentence is shot back in his face. The longer the conversation goes, the more dangerous (and more conflict filled) the scene becomes.
The idea is you want to look at every scene and ask the question, “Where is the conflict here?” Where are the opposing forces? Where is the imbalance? If everything is too easy for the characters in your screenplay – if everybody agrees on everything or the characters don’t face any resistance – there’s a good chance your scene is boring. There are instances where it’s okay (such as the Notting Hill example) but for the most part, you want some conflict in your scene. So get back to that script you’re working on and start making all those scenes more interesting by adding conflict. Good luck! :-)
We’re back for Day 4 of Star Wars Week. To find out more, head back to Monday’s review of The Empire Strikes Back.
Premise: (from IMDB) Anakin Skywalker shares a forbidden romance with Padmé Amidala while his teacher, Obi-Wan Kenobi, makes an investigation of a separatist assassination attempt on Padmé which leads to the discovery of a secret Republican clone army.
About: Lucas was a little shaken by the response to his screenplay for The Phantom Menace, so was reluctant to write Attack Of The Clones. He ended up writing a couple of drafts and then gave off the final draft to Jonathan Hales, a writer on Young Indiana Jones, who had little experience writing theatrical films. Hales finished his draft a week before production began.
Writers: George Lucas and Jonathan Hales (story by George Lucas)
Of the three prequels, Attack Of The Clones probably had the best chance of becoming a real movie. There’s definitely a lot more going on here than in Menace. You have an assassination attempt. You have a much more interesting dynamic in your Jedi pairing. The set pieces are more interesting. But much like The Phantom Menace, there’s too much junk you have to sift through to find the gems. By far, the biggest fault of the screenplay is its treatment of its love story. If you ever plan to write a love story, watch this movie to see how not to do it. Lucas has referenced numerous times how this storyline was his “Titanic.” And that’s a great place to start because I want to show you just how inferior this love story is to Titanic.
Probably more important than what happens during the love story, is how you set up that love story. Your job as a screenwriter is to set up a situation that mines the most drama out of the relationship. In Titanic, we have a poor drifter falling for one of the richest women on the ship, who also happens to be engaged – and oh, they’re on a ship that will eventually sink and kill most of the people on it. I can safely say that’s a situation that will bring out a lot of drama. Now let’s look at Attack Of The Clones. Anakin and Amidala are told to go hide out on her planet.
I want you to think about that for a second. Hiding out on a planet. There is no goal here. There’s no engine driving the story thread. There’s nobody after these two. There is no urgency. There are no stakes. You’re simply putting two characters in an isolated location and asking them to sit and wait. Is there any drama to mine from that situation? No. This means that before our characters have a single conversation, their love story is doomed. There is no way for it to be interesting. Contrast this with The Empire Strikes Back, where the entire love story takes place on the run with our characters constantly in danger. That’s how you want your love story unraveling.
Next up is the dialogue. This is a huge mistake that a lot of amateur screenwriters make. They believe that if the characters are telling each other that they love each other, that the audience will by association feel that love. Wrong. Actually, the opposite is true. We feel love through actions. We feel love through subtext. The time when we least feel love is when two characters are professing it to each other (unless we’re at the end of the movie and you’ve earned that moment).
One of the best ways to convey love is through subtext. Characters are saying one thing but they really mean something else. The best example of this is in The Empire Strikes Back. During that movie, Han and Leia are arguing with each other nonstop. Yet we can feel the desire each has for the other in every argument. Even when Han is directly trying to make a move on Leia, he does it by challenging her. He’s constantly telling her that she likes him, which is far more interesting than if he would’ve sat her down and professed his love for her, which is exactly how all of the love scenes happen in Clones.
Another thing you need with any good love story is conflict. You need things constantly trying to tear your leads apart. Whether it be something between them, an outside force, a battle from within the individual. The more things you can use to tear your lovers away from each other, the more those characters have to fight to be with each other, and those actions will translate over to the audience as love. So look at all the things keeping Jack and Rose apart on Titanic. First they’re from different classes. A poor kid like Jack just can’t be with a rich woman like Rose. It doesn’t happen today and it definitely never happened back then. Also, Rose is engaged. Even if the class thing weren’t an issue, she’s getting married. Also important to note is how much is at stake with that marriage. Rose’s mom needs her to marry to save their financially crumbling family. The two are also constantly being chased by her fiancé’s Henchman. And on top of all that, they’re on a doomed ship, a ship that will sink and likely kill one of the people in the relationship. I mean if you want to talk about things that are trying to rip a couple apart, all you have to do is watch this movie.
Let’s compare that to all the things keeping Anakin and Amidala apart in Attack Of The Clones.
(insert long silence here).
I mean I guess if you were to push me on it, I could argue that there’s something about how Jedi’s are not allowed to love. That, to me, is the only element of conflict keeping these two apart. But the thing is, there are no explained consequences to this conflict. It’s never explored in anything other than words. And Lucas never commits to it. As we’ll see in the next film, their “secret romance” has Anakin sleeping over at her apartment every night. Yeah, they’re trying really hard to keep this a secret. This leaves us with absolutely zero conflict in any of their scenes, putting all the heavy lifting on the dialogue, and since the dialogue is mostly Anakin professing his love for Amidala, this storyline turns out to be one of the worst love stories ever put to film.
This also highlights something I brought up yesterday – the scene of death. Every single scene on Naboo between these two characters is a scene of death. The characters are either talking about their feelings or talking about politics. You will never be able to make those scenes interesting because, again, there’s nothing else going on in the scene and none of these scenes are pushing the story forward.
These scenes of death are everywhere if you look for them. Remember, when you’re writing a story and trying to convey any sort of character development, you want to show and not tell. Now George does a pretty poor job of this in an early scene with Obi-Wan and Anakin, but he does do it. After Obi-Wan and Anakin chase an alien into a bar, the two get into a series of disagreements on how to handle the matter. It’s sloppy and it’s on the nose, but at least we’re showing their problems and not telling the audience their problems.
However, a few scenes later, we’re up with Amidala in her apartment and the entire scene is dedicated to Anakin telling Amidala how he feels about Obi-Wan. This scene of death (two people talking about another person) is violating three screenwriting rules at the same time. First of all, it’s not pushing the story forward at all and therefore is unnecessary. Second, it’s telling us and not showing us. And third, it’s repeating information we already know. Lucas has given us a few scenes now that have shown us that Anakin has a problem with Obi-Wan’s authority. This is the kind of mistake a screenwriter who is writing their first screenplay would make. It’s that bad.
As for the structure of the screenplay, all you need to do is compare it to Empire to see why it fails so spectacularly. Remember how in that movie, we were cutting back and forth between Han being chased and Luke training to become a Jedi? In this movie, the two threads we’re cutting back and forth between are a love story on a planet where there’s no urgency whatsoever, and a procedural where Obi-Wan plays detective, a sequence that also has little urgency. That means instead of two threads with high horsepower story engines, we have one thread with just a tiny bit of horsepower. No wonder the movie feels so slow.
The funny thing is, there’s only a single interesting scene from a screenwriting perspective in the entire movie. And the reason for this is probably that Lucas ran into it by accident. Good screenwriters deliberately structure their screenplays to create these scenes. Bad screenwriters stumble upon them luckily every once in a while, wondering why they’re the only scenes that feel right in their script. The scene in question is when Obi-Wan meets Jango Fett in his apartment. This scene is a good one because there’s so much subtext at play – one of the few times in the prequels that we actually have subtext. Obi-Wan suspects that Jango Fett is the one who tried to assassinate Amidala. Jango Fett knows that Obi-Wan is on to him but must act aloof. This is what creates the subtext. The two are having a somewhat normal conversation, but both are hiding some critical pieces of information that they know about the other.
The only things that actually work in the film are things that were born out of the original films. We’re excited to see Yoda fight for the first time. We’re excited to see a bunch of Jedi’s take on another Army. We’re excited to see Obi-Wan battle Jango Fett. But none of those things are generated through the dramatic components of this particular story. We enjoy them based on nostalgia. Attack Of The Clones is a little better than The Phantom Menace but not enough to garner a better rating.
[x] What the hell did I just read?
[ ] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius
What I learned: What I’m realizing with these prequels, especially after yesterday, is that there’s no urgency to them whatsoever. I mean look at this stretch of four scenes early in the movie. We have a scene of the Jedi Council telling our characters what to do. We have a scene where Sam Jackson and Obi-Wan and Yoda discuss how Jedi’s have become arrogant (scene of death). We have that scene where Anakin and Amidala talk about how Obi-Wan is mean (scene of death). And we have a goodbye scene at the ship station with Obi-Wan and Amidala (scene of death). That’s four scenes in a row where the only thing that happens is the Jedis order Anakin to protect Amidala. There are no story engines driving these scenes whatsoever. Everything just sits there. Go watch the first act of Empire. After the 15 minute “Luke kidnapped by Wampa” sequence, we get a fun little scene where the crew jokes around about what happened, and then the very next scene they find out the Empire has spotted them, beginning the next sequence where they have to escape the planet. If Lucas would’ve wrote that sequence? He probably would have added three or four scenes with Han and Leia talking to each other, with Han and Luke talking to each other, and God knows who else talking to each other. When people say to keep your story moving, this is what they mean. They mean don’t write all these unnecessary scenes that you don’t need.