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Archive for the ‘Chapter 7’ Category

About a year and a half ago, I posted an end-of-the-summer piece titled A “stink bucket of disappointment” or just some criminally wacky fun? about the movie Suicide Squad, written and directed by David Ayer (whose latest is Bright) and edited by John Gilroy.  For a very interesting critical investigation of editing related to Suicide Squad, I highly recommend this video: The Art of Editing and Suicide Squad It is from the YouTube channel Folding Ideas (by Dan Olson), and you can start at 01’20” into the video where he starts getting into the analysis of the movie’s editing.  

In fact, the piece is as much about cohesive storytelling as it is about the craft of editing.  There are many excellent breakdowns of issues to consider in the process of editing, as discussed throughout Moving Images, particularly in Chapters 1 and 2.  And Olson even references the Kuleshov Effect (at 17’30”) to help explain glaring weaknesses to the opening of Suicide Squad.  It is a revealing example of analyzing the effect of composition choices with editing.  It is worth pointing out that for a full analysis of issues with story and the filmmaking process with Suicide Squad, it would be critical to reference the shooting script by David Ayer.  Many answers to issues posed in the editing analysis could be revealed there.

P.S.: And here is a vlog post by Folding Ideas specifically about The Kuleshov Effect.

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There are many Crash Course videos from PBS Digital Studios, starting with one that builds on the Screenwriting Resources posts here at mediateacher.net: Screenplays.  It reviews the standard basic “rules” seen in screenwriting manuals, although you will of course want to turn soon to Chapter 7 of Moving Images to dig in well and be inspired about the possibilities and standards in writing for moviemaking.

There are also pieces on the invention of the movie camera, sound, independent cinema, many on film history, and numerous others.

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In a variety of posts, mediateacher.net has highlighted screenwriting resources, pitch notes, the work of current screenwriters (including Spike Jonze), and an original interview with writer Pamela Gray; for this summer’s screenwriter perspectives to explore, we recommend checking out the work of Oscar-nominated screenwriter Taylor Sheridan.  Until just a few years ago, he had been working as an actor; you may have seen him in Walking Dead.  

In one article he offers tips to aspiring screenwriters, and here he discusses his exceptional screenplay for the acclaimed recent movie Hell or High WaterHe also wrote the script for Sicario, directed by Denis Villeneuve (whose other films include Arrival and the upcoming Blade Runner 2049).  For his latest script, Wind River, Sheridan is also directing. 

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Player PitchThis Sunday Review piece from the New York Times by Jesse Armstrong (writer for The Thick of It and Veep) is great food for thought for current events / screenwriting discussions this week.  A very funny and interesting perspective on both today’s political news and the pitch and development process.  Call this Case Study T (or The D) in Screenwriting 101.

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Daniel GersonI am deeply saddened to receive the news that Daniel Gerson, one of the screenwriters of Monsters, Inc., Monsters University, Big Hero 6, and others, has passed away at 49.  Dan was one of my classmates in the NYU Graduate Film & TV program, and he was always such a friendly, profoundly funny man.  All those who worked with him share many fond memories of fun times and very memorable shoots and hilarious writing by Dan right from the start.

I highly recommend checking out this video of Dan and frequent collaborator Robert L. Baird discussing their writing for Monsters University and the process of developing a screenplay with Pixar from the red carpet premiere of the movie.  Also, here is another piece in which Gerson and Baird discuss story specifics of Monsters University including the overall theme of the movie, character development, and writing a prequel.  

He was always such a stellar person in a sometimes not-so-nice business. Our condolences from my family to his.

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The Revenant

DiCaprio and Iñárritu discussing a parenthetical.

Hollywood Studios and television networks are notorious for their thorny relationships with screenwriters throughout movie history.  Things change.  And some things don’t.

Here are some recent end-of-the-year pieces of interest for screenwriting-related issues.  The New York Times recently visited with a number of the top writers from feature films this year in this piece on Alejandro González Iñárritu, Amy Schumer, Aaron Sorkin, Paolo Sorrentino (Youth), Cary Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation), and Phyllis Nagy (Carol).   

For fans of media literacy inquiry, here’s a question for your students: “What’s fishy about this article related to the movie Trumbo (about legendary screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, as played by actor Bryan Cranston) in the Times?”   (See answer 1 below.)

And here’s another: “What’s odd about the journalism — and lack of media literacy expertise — in this article by Cara Buckley about the new movie Joy, directed and written by David O. Russell and starring Jennifer Lawrence.”  (See answer 2 below.)

Happy New Year and be back soon!

1:  It’s not journalism.  It’s a paid piece posted amidst the online articles of the Times.  See also: irony.  [RE: Dalton Trumbo]

2: When the director and actors of a movie compare themselves to Cassavetes‘s or Bergman‘s collaborative “troupes” and it’s only their second movie together, please call them on it.  See also: puff piece.  

 

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Leaping at you!

Leaping at you!

This weekend, free comic book day is arriving and we are about to be hit with the Age of Ultron juggernaut.  Meanwhile, for some time now, superhero tales have been popping inventively through the channels of television as well, including the current franchises of DC’s The Arrow and The Flash, among others.  Recently, Marvel’s Daredevil has joined the fray courtesy of Netflix, ready for being devoured in hours of bingeing.  (One student in a class discussion about sports asked if among winter sports in which he takes part one could consider binge-watching because it’s a sort of competition and includes a variety of skills in order to master its intricacies and emerge a victor from among friends.)  The Daredevil TV series, created by Drew Goddard, has garnered quite a strong fan reaction for its clever retelling of the comic’s 1960’s origin story and successive development by writer Stan Lee and artists including Bill Everett and influential maverick creator Wally Wood.

Karen Page, Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson: you make it with your Characters

Karen Page, Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson: you make it with your characters

For those interested in an interesting screenwriting lesson, this recent podcast on The Frame with show runner Steven DeKnight features many compelling discussion points and revealing commentary about scripting television series, including story structure and character development — and how they are dependent on episode length, platform, and target audiences.  DeKnight also discusses details about the content of the show and how tone and violence were key issues for the show’s creators to consider.

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