Screenwriting Back To Basics

Last year, Scott Myers of Go Into The Story posted up a series of articles that were useful but I felt didn’t get as much traction as I thought they deserved. So, for your reading pleasure, I present to you Scott’s complete Screenwriting Back To Basics series.

Screenwriting Back to Basics, Day 1: Writing Scenes

Screenwriting Back to Basics, Day 2: Protagonist Metamorphosis Arc

Screenwriting Back to Basics, Day 3: Plot = Structure

Screenwriting Back to Basics, Day 4: Character = Function

Screenwriting Back to Basics, Day 5: Reader Identification

 

Review: Big Hero 6 & Feast

Big Hero 6 PosterSometimes fortune can smile on you, and a meander past BFI Southbank and a peruse through the available films led me to successfully enquire about the scant remaining tickets. And so I found myself in NFT1 on a Sunday afternoon with an auditorium full of exciting young people for a preview of Big Hero 6.

As has once again become a tradition with Disney, the film was preceded by a new short film, the Oscar-nominated Feast. Disney uses these animated shorts as a testing ground for talent and technology, and Feast continues this as Paperman did in 2012. It’s a charming dog’s-eye tale of food and love, and it utterly delighted the audience, myself included. Considering though that Disney doesn’t see their animated shorts as commercial endeavours, it’s a shame they don’t do more to make them publicly available once the film festival screenings are over.

But the main event was Big Hero 6 itself. Some people have described it as ‘Frozen for boys’, in that both cover the theme of siblings and dealing with loss, but it didn’t have that feel for me. While the theme may have been a match for Frozen, I thought it felt more like How To Train a Dragon crossed with The Incredibles.

Based on one of Marvel’s more obscure properties, this is ostensibly a superhero team origin story, though this is an aspect of the story that is rapidly glossed over. Something I’m not too unhappy about, after all, aren’t we all a little saturated with origin stories?

It allows Big Hero 6 to focus on what Disney does best when Disney does it well: the emotional journey and general cuteness. In this case they have done very well indeed. There’s no doubt that with inflatable ‘personal healthcare companion’ robot Baymax, whose walk was modelled on that of baby penguins, they have created an endurable character, utterly different from other robots and from its Marvel origins. And the slightly trippy emotional climax at the end hugely affected the audience.

After the film, which the mostly younger audience loved, there was a Q&A with director Don Hall and producer Roy Conli. There was some curated talk about creative process which was good, but the questions from the audience were worth waiting for, once they got restricted to the under-12s. My favourite was by a little girl who was baffled as to how the humans were made to fly for the film. Director Don Hall did a sterling job answering the question in such a way that didn’t dispel the illusion that there was no difference between animation and people than can fly.

I’m not sure Big Hero 6 will attain the popularity of FrozenTangled or the peaks of Pixar’s output, but I enjoyed it and, more importantly, its target audience did too.

Screencraft Competition Dates 2015

To allow you to plan your submissions to Screencraft’s various screenwriting contests, all their dates for 2015 are below:
Screencraft Competition Dates

SHORTS SCREENPLAY CONTEST
JANUARY 19 – APRIL 6

COMEDY SCREENPLAY CONTEST
JANUARY 28 – APRIL 11

HORROR SCREENPLAY CONTEST
MARCH 17 – JULY 1

PILOT LAUNCH TV SCRIPT CONTEST
JUNE 1 – AUGUST 31

ACTION & THRILLER SCREENPLAY CONTEST
JULY 15 – OCTOBER 15

SCREENWRITING FELLOWSHIP
OCTOBER 1 – DECEMBER 10

FAMILY SCREENPLAY CONTEST
NOVEMBER 4 – DECEMBER 30

Coen Brothers Scripts

Poster No Country For Old MenAll screenwriters are always advised to read as many screenplays as possible; who better to learn from than those who have gone before us? And who could deny the impact the Coen Brothers have had on filmmaking?

So, it is kind of the brothers to make their screenplays available on their website.

Therein you’ll find the scripts for: A Serious Man, Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski, Blood Simple, Burn After Reading, Fargo, The Hudsucker Proxy, Intolerable Cruelty, Ladykillers, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Millers Crossing, No Country For Old Men, O Brother Where Art Thou and True Romance.

Review: Emotional Fusebox

Emotional Fusebox PosterWhen the list of BAFTA Nominations came out, after my glee that Birdman looked like it was going to get the acclaim it deserved, I started working my way through the list of short films. I hadn’t seen any of them, nor was I able to, due to the lock-in ‘feature’ of film festivals. But I had heard of Emotional Fusebox, partly because I think Jodie Whittaker is an excellent actress, with excellent turns in Broadchurch, Black Mirror and Attack the Block. So, I contacted the writer/director of Emotional Fusebox Rachel Tunnard, and she very kindly gave me a link to view it.

Emotional Fusebox, while a self-contained 14 minute short, is actually a pilot for the feature film How To Live Yours, currently in post-production. Jodie Whittaker plays Anna, a young woman who lives as a nigh-hermit in her Mum’s garden shed making videos with her thumbs. Her Mum wants her to come out, interact with the world and meet a man, but Anna is more than reluctant. For reasons that become apparent in the third act, Anna prefers to hide from the real world, and instead immerse herself in the fantasy of thumb theatre videos.

I loved Emotional Fusebox, it was incredibly well shot and Jodie Whittaker was excellent as I had no doubt she would be. But what especially impressed me was how natural the dialogue came over; there was no hint of overbearingly filmic dialogue or characterisation and so everything came across as refreshingly real. It added to the charm of Anna, her mum, her best friend and the story as a whole.

Check out the trailer below and, when you can, see Emotional Fusebox. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing the full How To Live Yours later this year.