the_tree_of_life_frenchThe current rule-bending king – Malick.

Art.

The essence of purity. It should be intrinsic, effortless, natural. A poem. A painting. A short story. All of it should emerge from that illogical, dreamer part of the brain. Write down whatever exists within the deepest recesses of your mind and then (and only then) have you been true to your artistic self. Containing it, rearranging it– sticking with the common word, scenario, characters, etcetera, with which a viewer or reader is all the more familiar, and you are no longer an artist. You are a machine, bottling up art into a series of rules.

It’s a debate that’s been going on way before screenwriting. Should there be “rules” or “guidelines” to art? To me, the answer is obvious. It is a resounding “yes.” But to many, the belief is that you’re defeating the purpose of art if you’re trying to structure it. You’re restraining that part of yourself that expresses creativity. There should be no filter on our imagination. It should exist unimpeded.

Here’s the way I see it. Let’s say you have two writers. One of these writers has been told to keep his scenes under three pages and to focus mainly on pushing the story forward with each one. The other writer has been given no restrictions whatsoever. Have your scenes last as long as you want them to. Focus on whatever you think up at the time, regardless of the story. All else being equal, the focused writer is going to write a better script. It’s rules (or “guidelines”) like this that make us better writers, which results in better screenplays. Therefore, rules are an essential component to art.

Here’s the catch, though: I think every script should break the rules in some significant way. That’s what makes a script unique – its deviation from the norm. Look at Pulp Fiction. It’s a story told out of order and many of the scenes are ten minutes long. Those two “rule-breakers” are what made Pulp Fiction feel so unique. BUT it doesn’t mean Tarantino wasn’t following ANY rules. For example, he made sure each and every scene was packed with conflict so it could sustain a ten-minute running time. “Conflict” is one of the “rules” many consider essential to writing a good screenplay.

The idea here is that you want some semblance of structure to dictate your story, but you pick two or three areas where you go against the mold, where you do things you’re “not supposed to do.” This is what’ll set your script apart. And it’s essential. Because if you write a movie where you follow every single rule to the T, you get a safe “by-the-numbers,” generic screenplay.

It should also be noted that the places where you break the rules will likely be what either makes or breaks your screenplay. Whenever you break a rule, you swim off into unchartered waters. You’re doing something that isn’t usually done. And since there’s no blueprint for the less-traveled path, you’re usually on your own, figuring things out as you go along. Breaking these rules then becomes a huge gamble. And the more rules or the bigger the rule you break, the greater the gamble is. It’s the equivalent of putting all your money into that young up-and-coming company. It can either tank, resulting in you losing everything, or succeed, turning you into a millionaire. You just don’t know until you hand the script to someone else.

With that in mind, here’s what I hope will be a helpful guide to breaking the rules with your screenplay. These are seven of the more common rule-breaking approaches and how to make them work for you:

1) The No-Holds-Barred – This is probably the most dangerous path you can take as a screenwriter. You go into the writing with only the barest sense of what you’re going to write about. There is no plan, no outline. You just feel like writing about something and you let your imagination take you wherever it wants to go. It’s the “David Lynch” approach, if you will. Note that these are typically the worst scripts that I read (by far), and that the only real people who succeed at using this method are also directing the film (like Lynch). I’d strongly advise against this path. Then again, it usually results in the most original material.

2) Out of order – This is one of the more common forms of breaking the rules, and therefore there’s some precedent for how to make it work. You simply tell your story out of order. Movies like Pulp Fiction, 500 Days Of Summer and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind succeeded quite well with this device. All I’ll say is if you tell your story out of order, make sure there’s a reason for it. If you do it just to be different, it will show. What was so genius about 500 Days of Summer was that it showed you the greatest and worst moments of a relationship crammed up against each other, something we never get to see in a romantic comedy or love story. So there was a purpose to the choice. I can tell pretty early when there’s no reason for a writer to be jumping around in time in his script. They’re just doing it to be edgy or, they hope, original. But it often ends up feeling so random that I check out before the script is over.

3) Multiple protagonists – You’ve seen multiple protagonists in movies like Crash and Breakfast Club. The reason you should avoid multiple protagonists if possible is because audiences like to identify with and follow a single hero in a story. Once you have two people (or three, or four) to follow, you start losing that close connection that’s required to get sucked into a movie because your interest is being pulled in too many directions. The exception here, and the way to make this work, is to sculpt amazing characters. Each character should have their own goals, dreams, flaws, fears, compelling backstory, quirks, secrets, surprises. If you can make each one of these characters deep enough so that they could theoretically carry their own movie, you can get away with a multiple protagonist story.

4) No Goal – To me, one of the biggest rules you can break, and one that almost always spins the story out of control, is not having a goal for your main character. Without a goal, your main character won’t be going after anything, which means he won’t be active, which means the story will feel like it doesn’t have a purpose. One of the most famous movies to do this is The Shawshank Redemption. Our hero, Andy, is just existing. He’s just trying to make it through life in jail. I believe the key to making these movies work is conflict. You gotta have a lot of conflict. Andy is attacked repeatedly by the rapist, Boggs. He’s thrown in the hole for playing music. His one witness who can free him is murdered.  And there is the constant fear that the dictatorish warden and his corrupt officers will take you down if you step out of line.  You have to be tough on the protag, make him feel the pain of life, and we’ll watch to see how he deals with it.

5) The anti-hero – Most people will tell you your hero should be likable. And for the most part, I agree. If we’re rooting for your hero, we’ll be invested in whatever story you tell us, whether that story is big, small, slow or fast. But there are a few dozen movies out there with anti-heroes as the lead that have done really well. You have Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver, Lester Burnham from American Beauty, or Riddick from Pitch Black. In my opinion, the way to make these characters work is to a) make them dangerous and b) don’t hold back. You feel at any moment that Bickle might fucking go ballistic and rip your head off. Or with Riddick, the guy is a serial killer. If we’re a little bit scared of these people, we’ll be fascinated by them, and we’ll want to know what they’re going to do next, which is the key to getting a reader to turn the pages. Also, don’t hold back. You have to take some chances with these characters or else what’s the point of writing an anti-hero? Lester Burnham is trying to nail his 16 year old daughter’s best friend. That’s a HUGE chance, and it’s one of the reasons this movie remains so memorable – it didn’t hold back.

6) The long script – It’s one of the most “set-in-stone” rules there is in spec screenwriting: Don’t write more than 120 pages. Yet there are plenty of great, long movies out there. So, how does one get away with breaking this rule? I know this is going to sound like a cop-out but the truth is: great writing. The longer your screenplay is, the better the writer you have to be. Because remember, it’s hard enough to keep a reader’s interest for FIVE pages. Look back at Shorts Week if you don’t believe me. So each additional page you write, you’re increasing the chances that the reader is going to lose interest. In my experience, the long scripts that do well, such as Titanic or Braveheart, show skill in character development, dramatic irony, scene-writing, a keen sense of drama, knowing when to up the stakes or add a twist, theme, conflict, dialogue, you name it. They’re usually INCREDIBLY STRONG at 90% of these things, which is what allows the writers to write something both long and good. A lot of writers (especially beginner writers) BELIEVE they can make a 180 page script work, despite barely understanding any of these things. I (and fellow readers) are the unfortunate recipients of these delusions of grandeur. They are never ever good. So my advice to you would be: Don’t write a long script unless a) you’ve already written 10 full screenplays and b) you’ve found some level of success with your work (some sort of proof that you can tell a good story – a sale, an option from a major company, a win in one of the major contests, etc).

7) The Act-less script – A close cousin to the “No-Holds Barred” and the “No Goal,” the act-less script shuns traditional 3-Act structure in favor of letting the characters and one’s mind take the story wherever it will go. Terrance Malick movies are well known for this, and to a lesser degree, Sophia Coppola’s (watch “Somewhere” to see what a truly act-less script looks like). It should be noted that the 3-Act structure is built on the idea of a hero with a goal, as the first act establishes that goal, the second act is about him pursuing it, and the third act is either him succeeding or failing. So if you don’t have a character with a goal, you’re more likely to run into an act-less screenplay. If you’re going to shun traditional act-breaks, it’s important, in my opinion, that you ask a lot of dramatic questions and include your share of mysteries in the story. Since we’ll want these questions and mysteries answered, we won’t be as concerned with the lack of a traditional setup and strange story direction. 2001: A Space Odyssey shuns traditional structure, but it finds a substitute for that structure to keep our interest in the mystery of the monolith.

The above is a look at some of the bigger rules you can break, but they are by no means the only rules. There are lots of smaller rules to play with like stakes, urgency and conflict. I mean, we’re taught early on in this craft to never come into a scene too early. Well, you can obviously break that rule and come in a lot earlier if it fits what you’re trying to do with the scene. The message I want to get across is that you should break these rules from a place of knowledge and a place of purpose. Understand the rule you’re breaking and have a reason for wanting to break it (which means studying screenwriting as much as possible). Memento is a great example. It’s about a guy who keeps forgetting. Well, if we tell that story in order, then we know way more than our character knows. Tell it backwards (break the rule) and we know just as little as him, which is an approach that fits our main character way better.

Yes, you can go with your gut and make choices knowing nothing about how storytelling works and become that lucky 1 in a million shot that creates something genius. But it’s more likely that the opposite will happen. In my experience, the people who have written these amazing rule-bending screenplays have been in the business for a long time, guys like Alan Ball and Paul Haggis and Charlie Kaufman. Tarantino came out of nowhere, but he’s like the exception to the exception to the exception (and it should be noted he’d seen just about every movie ever made before writing Pulp). I think as long as you’re being true to your own unique voice, to the way you (and only you) see the world, you can still write a script that largely follows the rules and it’ll still come off as original. But you definitely want to break SOME rules along the way. How you do so will largely determine the way your script stands out from the rest.

  • DD

    Ironically, this movie: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0349169/ was a pretty standard rom com.

  • Antonio F.

    2001: Space Odyssey has 3 acts. Like, really defined, very obvious 3 acts.

  • klmn

    One of your best articles, Carson.

  • martin_basrawy

    Excellent article, Carson! One of your best in a while.

    The script I’m working on right now is attempting to break rules 3, 5, and 6. Good luck to me, eh?

  • Citizen M

    In “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” I was struck by how long the individual scenes were by today’s standards. For instance the air traffic control scene near the beginning.gets five pages. These days it would get about two. I mean, we get it already, it’s a UFO, let’s get on with the story.

    Maybe it’s Spielberg playing with us, making us eat all our vegetables before we can have our pudding, because he knows there’s an astounding pudding waiting for us.

    On the other hand, we used to have a TV program with two Afrikaner raconteurs telling stories around a campfire. It was a lot of fun. But the fun wasn’t the stories themselves, which were often rather weak jokes, but how each storyteller spun it out with asides and embellishments, trying to hold your attention, like a bridge player making a slam with a very weak hand.

    I am not sure the point I’m trying to make here, except that you gotta do whatever it takes to keep bums in seats. If you can keep them intrigued, and mystified, and entertained, it doesn’t matter how you did it.

    • TesseGreenview

      I remember reading an interview on this site about the Herbie the Love Bug guy saying something about how to make it in Hollywood–and I’m paraphrasing–he said, “By any and all means necessary…” Well said.

  • Jake Gott

    Well done, Carson. My kind of article. Look forward to part two if you’re gonna tackle some more rules. :)

  • TesseGreenview

    Mine breaks 3 & 5. Two alpha males battling for dominance. One seemingly innocent bystander taking it all in. Who to root for? Who, indeed. Well, I send the script out tomorrow to the producer I mentioned before, so wish me luck. Of all SS writers, only one person responded. Thank you, Jo.

    If anyone would still like to read it, dissect it, throw my lifeless body over the coals and watch me go down in a blaze of liquor induced marinade, let me know… and as Mr. Spock once said with his fingers separated, “Lift logs and perspire.”

    • http://twitter.com/A_Fataki Abdul Fataki

      I’d like to read it! Heat_Abdul@hotmail.com !!!

    • Malibo Jackk

      “… luck comes to people who keep pushing forward.”
      — Pen Densham

      • TesseGreenview

        I’m pushing, trust me. So hard, in fact, I may develop carpal tunnel syndrome. And once Lady Luck smiles upon me, I will look back at these salad days and think, “That which did not kill, only made me who I am today…” Or, I’ll think, “Shit, I’m out of vodka.” And on my way to the local liquor store, I’ll be hit by a Smirnoff truck and Lady Luck can laugh at my expense, as she’s been doing since I started this script.

        So, what’s the lesson to be learned here? NEVER run out of vodka when you’re writing…

    • Elaynee

      Wish you luck.
      I wouldn’t have minded reading it but would have liked the weekend to mull it over – and you said this had to be off by the weekend? Also, a little reluctant to post my email for all and sundry to see.

  • http://atticofthefilmaddict.blogspot.com/ Matty

    Terrence Malick is the rule-bending KING?

    • Xarkoprime

      Yes.

    • New_E

      Yeah, to be honest, not sure what’s soooo unconventional about BADLANDS, DAYS OF HEAVEN, THE NEW WORLD or even THE THIN RED LINE… yes, the tempo is a little slower, yes, there is a meditative quality there, but these are still films made in a narrative idiom that’s not totally alien to us. Didn’t see THE TREE OF LIFE and TO THE WONDER yet, so can’t comment on those, but if Malick is the rule-bending king, what are – say, David Lynch, Derek Jarman, and Peter Greenaway?

      E

  • MovieDude

    It’s better to start by following your own impulses before imposing rules on yourself. That’s why we like coloring outside the lines before we’re told not to. We get our joy in simply putting color on paper. Does a filled in coloring look better? Sure. But is it art? Not necessarily. Rules exist to create the box from which you can break out of. Keep coloring outside the lines my friends.

    • carsonreeves1

      I like that quote: “Rules exist to create the box from which can break out of.”

  • Blue Night
    • ArabyChic

      There you go, breaking those rules again…

  • sweetvita

    I’ve a #5 on the list – a snarky antihero in a dramedy. The only dramedy I’ve written, my other 4 screenplays are action/thrillers.

    And in one of the action/thrillers, I had a two-hander – #3 on the list. But that ain’t so anymore, cuz my page one rewrite killed it.

  • tom8883

    There are always filters through which our imagination functions. Even abstract painters have the rule of the canvas. One doesn’t go painting the walls everywhere one goes. Unless the goal is to get thrown in jail for destruction of property. No rules means schizophrenia. Or something even worse.

  • Gregory Mandarano

    This article strikes at one of the most important things to know and embrace. Unless you are an exception, you should work on obtaining a mastery of rules and structure before you take risks. I think too many people ignore the hard work and try to take shortcuts. It’s unlikely youll create a masterpiece before you first become a master.

  • Christopher Wilson

    Yey! Carson says I’m allowed to break the rules !!!
    That’s OK if you’re already working in Hollywood. However for those of us on the outside wanting to break in, I’m not so sure.
    Surely, we want to give readers and producers as few reasons as possible to reject our scenario ? Which means, < 120 pages, three acts, save the cat, Goal/Stakes/Urgency,
    etc etc etc.
    Interesting article nevertheless.

    • carsonreeves1

      I’m not sure if you’re complimenting or making fun of me. I think making fun of.

    • Malibo Jackk

      Sorry to nitpick.
      The new standard is less ‘than’ 110.
      (‘then’ for people who don’t know the difference)
      (Contests and some others still allow 120.)

      Also I find this curious:
      People are always asking the pros — what advise do you have? What should I do to become a better writer?
      Not once, have I heard them say — Go out and get a copy of ‘Save The Cat’. Memorize it. Follow it word for word.

      • JakeBarnes12

        Have you actually read the book?

        • Malibo Jackk

          Are you a cat person?

          • Steve

            Dude hasn’t read it.

          • JakeBarnes12

            Answer the question.

            Are you mouthing off about a book you haven’t read?

          • Malibo Jackk

            There are three books. And yes, I’ve read them all.

            Are you suggesting that the pros have never heard of the books?
            I’m not the one mouthing off. Due I really have to explain that to you?

          • RobertJ

            ‘Do’ you? ‘Due’ you? Mmmm… someone’s been drinking. Good for you!

          • JakeBarnes12

            I once hit a guy in a bar for insulting Blake Snyder.

            True story.

            Since MJ’s been drinking, should make for a nice brawl. :)

          • Malibo Jackk

            Thanks.
            (Not sure what I meant.)

          • Poe_Serling

            With a name like Malibo Jackk, you know he lives in a bamboo hut on some secluded beach… pina colada for breakfast, Mai-Tai with lunch, and a Daiquiri or two after supper… then on to some serious drinking ’til midnight. ;-)

          • JakeBarnes12

            What point were you trying to make when saying that you’ve never heard a pro recommend reading Save the Cat to become a better writer?

      • Brainiac138

        The Pros may not recommend it, but every manager and lit agent in Hollywood, at least the ones I have worked with, always recommend it to new writers who have not.

  • http://twitter.com/jaexhkim jae kim

    are movies more art or entertainment?
    I personally want to be entertained. it may be why I generally dislike any script that break these rules. unless it’s still entertaining like pulp fiction, but the movie better be damn good for that to happen.
    I’ll admit, I even liked those mindless popcorn flicks until I started learning more about screenplay structures, goals, urgency and such. ignorance was bliss.

    • shaneblackfan

      All movies are art, even Hangover Three. Okay, “exploitative” art but it’s art.

  • JakeBarnes12

    Yeah, because the big problem with the amateur scripts we read is writers hewing too closely to the principles of good storytelling.

    • Brainiac138

      Yes, I propose all Amateur Friday script submissions that were influenced by this article to put something on the cover page to indicate so.

    • New_E

      Same here. Pandora’s box has been opened!

      E

  • Steve

    A few years back I read one of the worst Amateur Friday scripts I have ever come across.

    It was something about a politician and a woman, maybe she was a lobbyist, and was supposed to be a romantic comedy. All I remember was that there were boats involved.

    Well, this script consisted of pages and pages where the politician and the woman discussed politics. Just on and on and on through different locations.

    There weren’t any jokes. There wasn’t, as far as I could see, even an attempt at humor. There was no setting up of the characters as likable, no chemistry between them, no attempt to make the audience want to see them get together.

    Well, then the poor writer comes on the comments and says, this is a romantic comedy.

    I was flabbergasted. The writer had produced a hot mess of long, boring scenes of people talking about politics and thought that he had written a romantic comedy.

    I felt sorry for the guy. In fact, I pitied him. It’s one thing to write a bad romantic comedy. But to write a script that doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to a romantic comedy and to think that you had, to be so ignorant of the basic ingredients, so unskilled in implementing them, so unable to measure tone, meant that this person’s development into a professional seemed far from assured in a fiercely competitive market.

    On the plus side, he broke quite a few of the rules above.

  • Alan Burnett

    I think we should differentiate ‘rules’ from ‘principles’. You can break whatever ‘rule’ you want, as long as it doesn’t infringe upon a key ‘principle’ of drama: subtext, pathos etc. That moment in ‘Pulp Fiction’ when Travolta comes back after dying creates incredible dramatic irony: Tarantino breaks a ‘rule’ and – in doing so – maintains a ‘principle’. Those two elements are not necessarily in conflict, but you need to know that if you are indeed breaking a ‘rule’ that you are doing so for a greater dramatic purpose. You can write a seemingly unlikeable protagonist, for instance, and still get away with that if you obey key dramatic ideas. For instance, Patrick Bateman is the SINGLE MOST UNLIKEABLE CHARACTER in film and literature, in theory. He kills women, the homeless, abuses prostitutes, has grotesque ideas about women, he’s super rich, treats those on a lower social status like shit. However, the character is also surprising (is he going to kill someone or break out another monologue), compelling (lives two different lives, is a terrific cipher for satire), briefly sympathetic (he doesn’t kill those in love with him, which makes him KINDA sympathetic), funny (we laugh both with him and at his expense) etc. Bateman is a psychopath, but the filmmakers litter the character with JUST ENOUGH appealing qualities to make him not only watchable, but also entertaining. I think that’s the key with a ‘difficult’ protagonist: there needs to be some quality or aspect that makes the character APPEALING. Lester is appealing because (a) he’s an everyman (b) he’s smart and (c) later, he does the things we all wish we could. The ‘difficult’ antagonist needs to tap into a primal aspect of ourselves, one that we might not be necessarily comfortable with but is still there. Otherwise, you are just writing an unlikeable asshole, and there is nothing more uninteresting to read or watch than that.

  • post

    Most European “Art House” movies break or bend the rules.

    But in my humbly opinion I have the feeling the reason is mainly because the writers often are their own directors (as Carson mentioned) plus they often have very little screenwriting skills. Some also mainly come from a novelistic approach to story telling.

    Still a few know EXACTLY what they are doing and write/direct masterpieces. Michael Haneke, Lars von Trier or Thomas Vinterberg for example have very tight 3 Act based screenplays, still they are very free from screenwriting 101 rules.

    Just saw THE HUNTING (Jagten, 2012, dir.: Thomas Vinterberg, wr.: Tobias Lindholm, Thomas Vinterberg). It’s a brilliant movie and a very interesting and tightly structured script – even if the obscure ending dims the excitement how good this movie is written and directed until the last 2 minutes.

    • Alan Burnett

      Come on, that is a GREAT ending and is completely in tune with the story’s theme. Anything else would have been a cop-out.

  • tobban

    Loved this post. Very liberating. Know the rules. Break the rules. But know the rules first.
    Terrence Mallick has guts. Producers fight over him. Still he has made very few pictures.
    I came out of Tree of Life thinking: What the H%!¤ did I just see? Dinosaurs, planets, Brad Pitt and Sean Penn ?
    I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who was on Terrence Mallicks new film.
    Huge sets, big names, no real script. Only an outline. They improvised the scenes….

  • Michael

    Most amateurs don’t know they are breaking the rules, much less having a reason for breaking them. Good article for those skilled enough to work outside the box.

    • JakeBarnes12

      Agreed.

      Most of those breaking the rules don’t have the skill to follow the rules.

      • Michael

        This article should have a strong disclaimer and a warning:

  • ripleyy

    There is always going to be the thought at the back of your head that what you just broke is for the best but comes down to confidence: if you believe your script told backwards is going to be better than telling it forward, then you’re doing good.

  • Charlestoaster

    I really like this article. It reminds of what Derrida once said about “to speak French better than the French.” I guess screenwriting is my romantic language. Anyhoo, I’m just wondering if there was an article written about breaking genre rules? I know each genre has rules to let us know what kind of movie we’re going to be watching but a lot of times they get mixed together and then we get greats like ‘Star Wars’ (Sci-Fi/Fantasy) and ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ (Horror/Romantic Comedy/ Musical)

  • jeanrobie

    If you follow the rules for breaking the rules are you still breaking the rules?

  • carsonreeves1

    Thanks E.C. :)

  • DarthBobTarkas

    Well, this article brought me back to this site. :) Fantastic.

  • Film_Shark

    Good article. The screenplays referenced such as ‘Pulp Fiction,’ Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,’ and ‘The Breakfast Club’ were all written by writers that have already mastered the craft of screenwriting. As a novice screenwriter, the chances of coming up with a ‘Pulp Fiction’ caliber script are slim to none on your first (second or third) try. Tarantino’s first optioned screenplay, ‘True Romance’ actually follows the standard three act structure. Charlie Kaufman won Best Original Screenplay for ‘Eternal Sunshine’ and I have yet to see any writer emulate his unique writing style. And RIP John Hughes. He wrote some of the most endearing teen dramas of the ’80s. Check out his IMDb. He wrote a ton of successful comedies. My point is that you have to play by the rules before veering off the screenwriting 101 path. That’s just the way it is.

  • jmscriptwriter

    Great article on bending the rules. One minor point on Shawshank is that Andy did have a goal and was working towards it. Of course, we don’t see it till the end so there is no effective goal while viewing the movie which is probably what you meant.

    My main point is Tree of Life. It’s one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. I was squirming in my seat praying for it to be over but didn’t want to quit watching because I knew I’d never go back. The thing that worked was following the kid. That was great, but watching the sound cut out was awful. It worked in Saving Private Ryan b/c someone just had their hearing destroyed and we were watching some guy pick up his blown off arm, but in ToL it was a failed directorial device. Couldn’t stand it.

    The biggest offense though was the shell about the origins of the earth. That could be plugged into any movie. The atoms that make us up were forged in stars and supernovae. We could always refer to that too whenever we feel the need to apprehend the origins of personkind.

    Just saw a clip about a woman who bought a used Bible. She found an essay in it that she wrote 30 years prior, 2,000 miles away. Fun. But naturally she thinks it’s a sign. She’s going to extract the passages from the pages the essay was tucked into. Maybe most people think that’s real, that it’s the hand of God. Maybe it is, but it’s also probably meaningless coincidence. That’s how I feel about ToL. A meaningless shell is dropped on us. Penn said he had no idea what the movie was about while filming it. I think most people don’t know what the end was. I think I might know, but I also know that I don’t care. Guess personal preference plays into a rule bending movie like that but wow I hated that movie.

    • Ryan Sasinowski

      You think “Tree of Life” was bad, try “To the Wonder.”

  • Ryan Sasinowski

    Tarantino has said that when he writes, it’s not about the movie, it’s about the page, and how each page should be a good piece of literature by themselves. I think it’s that mentality that make his scripts such a damn awesome read.

    Me personally, I’ve always been about getting the character to the next plot point. This may be a bit of a game changer for me.

    Anyway, here’s the clip of him discussing screenwriting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5NI7kN7P3o