Some people can’t believe in themselves until someone else believes in them first.
Around this time last year I bought the following items.
The mug was a birthday present for a nice girl.
I do hope she didn't put me in a story and kill me, although I wouldn't blame her.
I do hope she's still writing her novel.
The Writer Emergency Pack and the coaster were bought to inspire me to start writing. My creative well had dried up at this point. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. They've been collecting dust on my desk for the last twelve months. With that said, I've just opened the Writer Emergency Pack and taken a quick look through the cards.
If you've come to a brick wall, and can't find a way over it, this deck of cards will go a long way to help. Obviously, it won't do the work for you, but the ideas will definitely get you thinking.
Definitely recommend to all writers. Not just screenwriters.
Colette - Haven't seen Keira Knightley since The Imitation Game (2014). This is one of those movies that small cinemas will generally show, which is a shame. The story revolves around the real life character of Colette, a french author, and for the most part, based on this, led a very colorful life. Despite her husband screwing her over. The two main actors put in great performances. Dominic West's character is rather pompous and self-indulgent. Locking her in her room until she produced pages. Very Good.
Green Book – This is a simple story that doesn't overcomplicate things. Both the main actors do justice to the characters they're playing. Viggo Mortensen puts in a good performance as Tony Lip. Either he's been letting himself go, or he purposely put on some weight. I'd say he put on weight just for this. As for Mahershala Ali, he's doing pretty good. New season of True Detective. Not bad if you can get it. Hope it stands up to the previous seasons. Very Good.
A Star Is Born - This will be short and sweet. Bradley Cooper needs to find some more projects to direct. Lady Gaga needs to do more acting. Lots to like here. Performances all round are great. And Sam (Wade Garrett) Elliott is in it. Thumbs up there. Excellent.
Bohemian Rhapsody - Let's get this out of the way first. Mike Myers? I think the writers got a little creative there. While the story only offers a small insight into Freddy Mercury's life, what stands out is Rami Malek's performance. If gold stars were being handed out, he'd be at the top of the list. Very Good!
Captain Marvel – 1995 – interesting. It's a little confusing to start, but settles down. And when Carol Danvers starts kicking butt, this is when the story kicks into full-throttle. Thanos might well find himself in trouble. Or there could be a new villain. Very Good.
Avengers: Endgame - Back to the Future and Alan Silvestri. What more could you want? The writing, the music, the characters. It all works. It's all on point. How everything is brought together in this is just awesome. Was there a post credits scene? Didn't make it to the end. Looking forward to what Marvel are going to bring to the table in the future. Most Excellent!
Godzilla: King of the Monsters - Trying to avoid anything about any movie or TV show these days is pretty difficult to do. Internet and all. Word of mouth. Media. SPOILERS may or may not occur. Five years. That's a long time to wait for a sequel. The first one had issues. Not enough Godzilla. Fight scenes taking place in the dark. Let's start with the good. Far more monsters. Godzilla's had what looks like a bit of a revamp. He appears faster, and he looks a little different. Spikes on his back look different. Actual Godzilla music. I have this music, so I recognized it straight away. More fight scenes. Let's head into the story choices. One of the main characters instigates what happens because of a loss in the family. Causing hundreds of thousands to die because of a death?!!! And she's working with the villain to a certain degree. And his reasoning behind his actions is never really gone into great depth. Humans are bad. Let's wipe them out. What? Let's talk about the fight scenes. Still difficult to see what the heck's going on. King Ghidorah's from space. Why not show him coming from space, like the originals? Not just talking and explaining. Despite all this. It has its moments. I do hope the third one isn't just going to be Godzilla vs King Kong which sounds ridiculous. Hopefully they'll team up because of a new threat. Good!
Toy Story 4 - Okay, this movie is one o f those that's definitely going to have its haters and lovers. I mean, how long's it been since Toy Story 3 came out? Quite a while ago. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, what's going on with all these sequels, Pixar? I get it, I really do, the bigwigs sitting at the desk, doing the numbers, and saying one word. PROFIT. I know, it's a business. But even so, where is the originality, the ceativity, the storytelling that you guys were (are) famous for? Where's it all gone? Dried up? Can't be bothered? Now that I've got that out of the way, this is good for the most part. It has its moments. It's nice seeing all the characters back together. And I do like the story, maybe, possibly even more than the third one. To a certain degree. Due to how this story plays out, certain characters are left out, mainly the original bunch, which is fine, to some extent, this is all about Woody, and the others get a backseat. Where's Buzz? Now, I do hope this is the last one. And that this brings closure to these characters. However, that shouldn't stop Pixar from doing more shorts. It's definitely worth watching. The animation is amazing, together with the music, and Duke Caboom should get his own show. Very Good!
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - No spoilers here. I didn't enjoy The Last Jedi. Couldn't wait for it to finish. It just felt wrong on a lot of levels. But opinions vary. So I was hesitant to watch this, but since JJ Abrams and Chris Terrio were in charge, thought I'd give it a spin. While some will argue that there are a lack of character arcs here, and not a lot of character growth, I think they did a pretty good job, considering what they had to follow on from. As someone who grew up with the original trilogy. That's the original trilogy without all the added nonsense. When are you guys going to release them unchanged on blu-ray? This was a fitting conclusion to the overall story. On a side note, I haven't watched The Mandalorian, but Disney should consider doing more live action TV series. There are a lot of novels, comics, videogames to pull from. Then you have all the characters in the movies. Stormtroopers. X-wing pilots. What about a series about an X-Wing squadron? What about a series about a tie-fighter pilot? What about a series that takes place on Tatooine? Very Good!
Can you use these pictures to create a story?
What do we have here?
A treasure map.
A red dinghy.
A gold key.
A hermit that hides away in a cave on the beach.
A chunk of cobalt aura quartz.
A red moon.
An antique trunk.
Let's throw in a mother and kids, or maybe a dad and his two teenage kids that have moved to the seaside for various (mysterious) reasons. Reasons that will be revealed to us as the story unfolds.
What if the kids come across the hermit while on the beach?
What if the hermit is somehow related to the kids or the parents?
What if the single parent warns the kids to stay away from the hermit?
What if the hermit is a relative or even one of the parents?
What if the town sheriff isn't too keen on the new arrivals and tries to get them to leave the town?
What if the town sheriff has their own agenda?
Give yourself a goal.
1. One rewrite. Almost Done.
Just needs a few adjustments. Setups and payoffs make sense.
A little tinkering here and there.
2. New script.
3. Possibly a pilot script.
And that's it.
My goal for the year.
You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight - An odd one to kick off the year. A DC animated movie! When it comes to their animated movies, Warner Bros. Animation generally know what they're doing. Most of the time. Shame they can't put this much effort into the live action ones. That's not to say they're bad, but they're not exactly hitting home runs with them. Very good.
The Shape of Water - A fairy tale of sorts! For some bizarre reason, this reminded me of Splash (1984). Not entirely sure why. It just did. If I was handing out awards, one would definitely go to Sally Hawkins. She steals the show as the lonely janitor. Very Good!
A unique phrase.
Do your characters say things that set them apart from the others?
Got characters doing the same thing.
Combine them into one character.
If they're taking up too much screentime, and not adding much to the story.
Get rid of them!
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER
TWA 517 do you want to report a UFO, over?
TWA 517 do you want to report a UFO, over?
TWA PILOT (over radio)
Negative, we don't want to report.
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER
Air East 31, do you wish to report a UFO, over?
AIR EAST (over radio)
Negative, we don't want to report one of those either.
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER
Air East 31, do you wish to file a report of any kind to us?
AIR EAST PILOT (over radio)
I wouldn't know what kind of report to file, Center.
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER
Uh, Air East 31, uh, me neither.
A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what`s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.
Do not be told something is impossible. There is always a way.
But having a rough idea as to how your story starts, progresses and ends will certainly help when it comes to putting words on the page. This roadmap can be any length, long, short, fat or thin. And as detailed as you want it.
Throw in some dialogue for good measure. Get some of those characters interacting and talking to each other. Pick a scene, and get writing.
There's no single way to write a screenplay, but the more work you do beforehand will certainly help when it comes to the actual writing.
La La Land – A musical! After seeing how much buzz this is generating, I thought it wise to take a look. And it didn't disappoint. From the opening dance number to the final scenes, this is a must see for all those budding writers, actors, and performing arts students out there. Keep at it, and who knows. It just takes one yes. With believable onscreen chemistry, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone put on refreshing performances as two wannabees trying to make it. Not sure if they've done this kind of thing before, but if they haven't, it's good seeing them stretch their wings and doing something different. Ryan Gosling has come a long way since his fresh-faced appearance in that Hercules: Legendary Journeys episode. Excellent! Where's the screenplay?
A Monster Calls – A bullied kid. A dying mother. A huge talking tree. And you have a recipe for a very imaginative tale. While there's nothing new in the main story, it's how it's told and presented that makes this stand out. Based on the novel of the same name, this is definitely worth watching. With solid performances all round. Very creative and original. Very Good.
Hacksaw Ridge – It's been a while since we've had a good war movie. And this definitely fits the bill. What makes this stand out from the crowd is how the story unfolds on screen, and that's down to the writers. They didn't do a quick character introduction and throw us into the action as soon as possible. We're given plenty of time to get to know what makes them tick and why they think and behave the way they do. With superb performances all round, and some pretty intense scenes, this is one to watch. And it's directed by Mel Gibson! Excellent!
Jackie – A docu-drama of sorts. A movie that follows Jackie Kennedy after the assassination of President John F Kennedy. Natalie Portman (Leon), really gets into character as Jackie Kennedy. Giving one of her best performances to date. Only real gripe is the soundtrack. It's very good, but a little overwhelming at times. Often drowning out the dialogue. Not sure if this is to reflect the turmoil and distress that her character is going through. It just seems overkill at times. Other than that. Very Good!
LION – One heck of a story. One heck of a journey. Adapted from the book 'A Long Way Home' by Saroo Brierley. This tells the story of Saroo, who finds himself hundreds and hundreds of miles from home, and the arduous and dangerous journey that he finds himself on. A thought provoking story that sends you on an emotional roller-coaster of a ride. A movie that expertly handles so many themes on so many levels. Extremely well written and directed. With some outstanding performances. Excellent!
Moonlight – From a storytelling point of view, you really can't fault this in any way. The subject matter and themes are handled in such a caring, thoughtful and poignant way, you can't help but feel for the main character's journey through this story. The script, direction, and performances put this on a level rarely achieved when dealing with material of this nature. Expertly handled in every way. Most Excellent!
Hidden Figures – A feel good movie. It gives off good vibes from the very beginning. Everything gels. From the great performances to how the story unfolds. And that's down to the writing. The direction. The performances. Especially the dialogue. Everything comes together and delivers. And it has a superb cast. Excellent!
John Wick: Chapter 2 - Did they need to make this? Probably not. Do they need to make another one? They do now. Is this as good as the first one, not quite. But he does use a pencil, or was it a pen. Which makes it all worth while. And he does have a well behaved dog in this one. Hopefully they'll find a fresh angle for the third one. Introduce more characters from the hotel. Maybe a possible love interest. Or someone he cares about. And we'll have another winner. Very Good.
Spider-Man: Homecoming - It's only been three years since the last one. Does this one bring anything new to the table? Sure does. Sony working with Marvel. That's what's been needed. Having Spider-Man brought into the Marvel Universe brings a whole new dynamic to the world he exists in. Lots of potential avenues and roads to travel along. Something 2oth Century Fox should consider doing when rebooting The Fantastic Four. Spoiler! Glad that Michael Keaton was kept in the loop. Hopefully we'll get to see a lot more of him in future storylines. Capturing villains is so much better, than killing them off. Very Good!
Beauty & The Beast - It's been a while since I watched the animated version, but this appears to follow it pretty closely. This is definitely one the whole family can enjoy, without worrying about any dark or scary parts. Hopefully, Disney will continue this trend, and consider doing some of the less successful animated movies of the past. Very Good.
Time to set some new writing goals.
Setting up the situation these characters find themselves in.
Protagonist vs. Antagonist.
What and who is stopping them from achieving these goals?
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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