KING OF THE DEAD
The dead do not suffer the living to pass.
You will suffer me.
Look to my coming on the first light of
the fifth day, at dawn look to the east.
“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector.”
― Ernest Hemingway
You cannot pass! I am a servant of the Secret Fire,
wielder of the Flame of Anor. The dark fire will not
avail you, Flame of Udun! Go back to the shadow.
You shall not pass!
You look like a bunch of fifth grade sissies after a cat
fight! You got anger, that's good you're gonna need it,
you got aggression that's even better you're gonna need
that, too. But any little two year old child can throw a
fit! Football is about controlling that anger, harnessing
that aggression into a team effort to achieve perfection!
You hear that Mr. Anderson?... That is
the sound of inevitability... It is the sound
of your death... Goodbye, Mr. Anderson...
My name... is Neo.
This episode finds Craig Mazin and John August answering questions about agent etiquette, business cards and those troubling rewrites that unravel everything.
Good morning, and in case I don't see ya, good
afternoon, good evening, and good night!
SID HUDGENS (V.O.)
Come to Los Angeles! The sun shines bright, the beaches are
wide and inviting, and the orange groves stretch as far as the
eye can see. There are jobs aplenty, and land is cheap. Every
working man can have his own house, and inside every house, a
happy, all-American family. You can have all this, and who
knows... you could even be discovered, become a movie star... or
at least see one. Life is good in Los Angeles... it's paradise on Earth.
" Ha ha ha ha. That's what they tell you, anyway.
Fair is foul and foul is fair, hover through the fog and filthy air.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)
Look. Look. That's the place for us. High, lonely
hills, where the wind and the sound carry, and
the ground's as dry as straw in a barn. That's
where we ought to be. That's where we have to get to.
We live in a cynical world. A cynical world.
And we work in a business of tough competitors.
I love you. You... complete me.
I like these calm little moments before the storm. It
reminds me of Beethoven. Can you hear it? It's like
when you put your head to the grass and you can
hear the growin' and you can hear the insects. Do
you like Beethoven?
I've been trawling through the internet and have come across the 22 rules of storytelling by Pixar as tweeted by Emma Coats. Everyone seems to jumping on the bandwagon and writing about them. So I thought, why not?
When it comes to animated movies you won't get better than Pixar Animation Studios. Barring Cars and Cars 2, they pretty much have cornered the market when it comes to animation. Although I will point out that Studio Ghibli are pretty close to being on par with them. But as far as staple animation goes, Pixar outshines most of its competitors.
I don't know why, but I just couldn't get my head around talking motor vehicles. Give me talking bugs, toys, fish, robots any day of the week.
Anyway, here are the 22 Rules.
#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.
#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.
#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?
#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.
When it comes to learning about screenwriting and story structure, Pixar pretty much have it nailed.
Brave comes out on the 17th August.
Not sure which writers they have for Toy Story 4. But I hope they get Michael Arndt back on board. A great job on Toy Story 3.
What do you want?
Ah, the direct approach. I
admire that in a man with a mask.
Laughs, then turns serious.
You don't really think you'll win, do you?
Catwoman backflips into the middle of the confrontation. They stare at her, momentarily nonplussed.
A store explodes, she slips off.
I saw her first... gotta fly!
A census taker once tried to test me. I ate
his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.
Tim Clague and Danny Stack discover there is little news out there so focus instead on 3 items from the mailbag.
* Show not tell, but how do you keep your script punchy?
* Historical research, how much to do?
* Working with actors, the benefits.
Welcome to Hollywood! What's your dream?
Everybody comes here; this is Hollywood, land
of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don't; but
keep on dreamin' - this is Hollywood. Always time
to dream, so keep on dreamin'.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
I thought I'd take a look at the first fifteen minutes of this wonderful movie. A movie that pretty much has it all in terms of an action, adventure and can stand its ground against any movie in this genre that's made today. In fact it probably supersedes any movie that's made today by a long way.
We'll start with the opening credits and logo. Something which a lot of films that are made today lack. That opening logo may only pop up on the screen for a few seconds. But it certainly gets your attention.
The Paramount logo dissolving over a mountain peak that's exactly shaped like the Paramount logo. Very cleverly done. I'm pretty certain this happens in all of the sequels as well.
We're then introduced to the troop of helpers walking over the ridge. It may seem like a very simple opener, but it gets your attention. Especially with that music score by John Williams. It's eerie, it gets your attention as an audience member. Who are these people? Where are they. Where are they going?
At around 1 minute 25 seconds into the movie. The scary statue scares off the helpers. We still haven't been introduced to our intrepid adventurer and archeologist yet. We've only seen his legs and the back of him. A bit of mystery here. Who is this guy?
At around 2 minutes into the movie our archeologist finds the poisoned dart embedded in the tree trunk. The two goons run over to the tree and Alfred Molina's character (Satipo) pulls out the arrow, checks how old the arrow is.
(picking up poison dart)
The Hovitos are near. The poison is
still fresh, three days. They're following us.
If they knew we were here, they would've killed us already.
This sets up the danger.
Around 2 minutes 39 seconds in we get the SUPER: South America 1936. Again letting us know where we are and the time period. You don't need to put the SUPER in straight at the beginning. You can let the scene run a few minutes.
At 2 minutes 50 seconds, Indiana stands on the river bank and checks the map. At this point Barranca decides that he wants what Indiana Jones has.
This is a great little sequence that really sets up the character of Indiana Jones as the explorer and adventurer. Indiana Jones hears Barranca cocking the pistol.
And there we have it.
One of the best character introductions you'll get. Indiana pulls out his whip, disarms Barranca with it. At 3 minutes 15 seconds or there abouts, Indiana steps out of the shadows and we see him for the first time.
You don't need to introduce your main character or characters straight away. You can lead into the introductions.
This sets up the tone of the movie. This guy, Indiana Jones is not someone you mess with.
Barranca runs away with his tail between his legs.
No dialogue in this short sequence. Just action to convey to the audience what's going on.
At 3 minutes 40 seconds they reach the entrance to where the idol is hidden.
Again the audience is reminded of the dangers.
(Indy's first lines)
This is it... This is where Forrestal cashed in.
A friend of yours?
A competitor... he was good. He was very good.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie is with the spiders. A bit of humor here when Satipo points out the spiders on Indiana's back. Indiana checks Satipo's back. Oh dear. That's a lot of spiders. Haha.
At 5 minutes 15 seconds. Indiana and Satipo reach the shaft of light.
Stop. Stay out of the light.
Indiana triggers the booby trap and we discover what happened to his competitor, Forrestal. Emphasizing the dangers that are lurking in this place.
This is when the music kicks in. Drawing the audience in.
A little light humor here again when Indiana saves Satipo from falling into the hole. Grabs him by the belt. Haha.
Around 6 minutes 13 seconds they enter the temple where the Gold Idol is kept on the podia.
Let us hurry. There is nothing to fear here.
That's what scares me.
This one line from Indiana shows that he is also a cautious character. Which is funny considering where he is and what he's about to do.
Funny moment when Indiana sets off the trap and the poison arrow hits the wooden torch.
At around 7 minutes 20 seconds, Indiana stands in front of the Idol. We can see how much this means to him by his actions with the bag of sand. But is it too easy?
At around 8 minutes 3 seconds the main trap is triggered when Indiana replaces the idol with the bag of sand.
I'll quote Han Solo here.
Here's where the fun begins.
Indiana makes his way out of the temple only to find that Satipo has jumped across the hole and now has the whip. Around 8 minutes 30 seconds Satipo runs away with the idol and Indiana is left on the other side of the hole.
Will he escape?
A nice touch when Indiana grabs the root. His facial expression says it all.
At around 9 minutes Indiana makes it out, not forgetting to grab his whip.
Poor old Satipo. Indiana grabs the idol.
At 9 minutes 20 seconds he sets off another trap. Will this never end?
Indiana runs away from the boulder.
At 10 minutes we're introduced to Paul Freeman's character, Belloq.
Dr. Jones. Again we see there is nothing
you can possess which I cannot take away.
A nice little sequence here when Indiana runs away at around 10 minutes 40 seconds. And Belloq's character laughs in the background as Indiana makes his escape out of the jungle.
At 12 minutes, Indiana swims to the Biplane.
If you look carefully at the markings on the plane, you'll notice it says OB-CPO. I think that's what's written on the tail of the plane. I might be wrong. A little reference to Star Wars.
The plane takes off at around 12 minutes 15 seconds.
A few seconds after the plane is in the air, we find out that Indiana Jones is not fond of snakes.
I hate snakes, Jock! I hate 'em!
Come on! Show a little backbone, will ya!
A nice little touch that gets played out later on in the movie and in the sequels. A nice little set up here for what's to come later on.
At 12 minutes 54 seconds we find out that Indiana Jones is a college professor. A complete contrast to his little side line as an adventurer/explorer. We also find out that the girls like him. The girl with 'LOVE YOU' written on her eye lids.
A little bit of foreshadowing with him discussing the burial site of the 'gold coffin'.
At 13 minutes 40 seconds or there abouts DR. Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) enters the room.
Indiana discusses with Marcus what happened to the idol. Marcus mentions Belloq.
At around 15 minutes 20 seconds Marcus introduces Indiana to the army intelligence men.
Major Eaton and Colonel Musgrove then go on to discuss the whereabouts of Ravenwood etc.
That's not bad going for the first 15 – 16 minutes of a movie. Packs one heck of a punch and a lot of information in there. Sets up the character of Indiana, his adversary, Belloq, the tone of the movie, where the story is heading etc.
Everything works here.
One of my favorite action adventure movies. It doesn't get much better than this. There've been a lot of clones and blatant rip offs over the years. But nothing comes close to what Steven Spielberg and George Lucas created here.
Hats off to Lawrence Kasdan who wrote the screenplay as well.
If you can get hold of the screenplay, read it. Watch the movie. Read it again.
Watch it again.
Welcome to Russell’s website. A storyteller who enjoys writing screenplays for movies. Even though the process is hard. It keeps his imagination working overtime.
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