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SCREEN WRITING CLASS - MOD 1


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#41 aroundworld

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 12:39 PM

QUOTE (JosephKw @ Aug 19 2012, 06:08 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I guess I should've quit when I was ahead then. Well, I'm ready to move on without any further "interruption" wink.gif

Nice video clip, by the way. I haven't seen that film for decades.


Not at all Joseph. You're learning new concepts and asking the same questions I did along with my classmates when I was in school. Once you get a handle on these story concepts, you'll approach writing very differently.


Lets take another look at your Hughs scenario only will map it out with concepts we're learning here:

A bio lab in the next town accidentally vents a virus into the air = EXTERNAL FORCE

Hughs gets the virus = INTERRUPTION of his normal ROUTINE.


Some times filmmakers chose to mix those up:

We see the RESULT of the INTERRUPTION first: Death, sickness, happy couple, wealth, a guy in prison...etc.

Then we may hear the voice of the character setting up the EXTERNAL FORCE that got our hero into trouble. From then on the rest of the film is about how the character struggling against one obstacle after another to make to his/her goal.

What movies use this technique?

American Beauty

Lord Of The Rings

Bat Man (Any of the films)

China Town

Borne Identity
(Note the beginning of the film)

The list goes on...


Some movies are very straight forward about these concepts, and the shining star among them is:

Star Wars

Lets take a closer look at that film's.

ROUTINE: Luke works on his Aunt and Uncle's farm. As part of his routine he does an errand for his Uncle and leaves for a few hours. While Luke is away, the...

EXTERNAL FORCE: Minions of the Evil Empire come looking for R2-D2 and...

INTERRUPTION: Kill Luke's Aunt and Uncle.

RESULT: Luke is driven to avenge the death of his Aunt and Uncle and become a Jedi Knight


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#42 kkffoo

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 02:28 PM

I watched the youtube clip & noticed the number of times that the script reinforces that 'this is what normally happens'.
"he always goes that way when it rains, it saves him a block"
"I only come in here to get sick" (at the food place)
Redford's boss complains about him not following procedure, and it is clear from context this has happened many times...the conversation with the girlfriend.
& lots more

We watched RED this weekend. The film starts with Bruce Willis going through his normal routine, and it plays a game with the audience, the routine is so...mundane...so uneventful..apart from his contact with the pensions service & then
He is doing exactly the thing he had done 15 minutes earlier... and we know something must happen, and it does.
This film felt like it was riffing on the interrupt theme, taking it to the extreme.
I was pointing and saying 'oo oo oo' until my hubby got me to be quiet so he could hear the rest smile.gif

This make me wonder how would we do this in Machinima...even the 'establish routine' segment of both these movies is three times as long as whole machinima movie...is there a shortcut for short movies?

Als: it is really helpful seeing other people's questions..the sneeze..I wouldn't have understood the difference either..EXTERNAL TANGIBLE FORCE

#43 aroundworld

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 09:50 PM

QUOTE (kkffoo @ Aug 19 2012, 02:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I watched the youtube clip & noticed the number of times that the script reinforces that 'this is what normally happens'.
"he always goes that way when it rains, it saves him a block"
"I only come in here to get sick" (at the food place)
Redford's boss complains about him not following procedure, and it is clear from context this has happened many times...the conversation with the girlfriend.
& lots more

We watched RED this weekend. The film starts with Bruce Willis going through his normal routine, and it plays a game with the audience, the routine is so...mundane...so uneventful..apart from his contact with the pensions service & then
He is doing exactly the thing he had done 15 minutes earlier... and we know something must happen, and it does.

This film felt like it was riffing on the interrupt theme, taking it to the extreme.
I was pointing and saying 'oo oo oo' until my hubby got me to be quiet so he could hear the rest smile.gif

This make me wonder how would we do this in Machinima...even the 'establish routine' segment of both these movies is three times as long as whole machinima movie...is there a shortcut for short movies?

Als: it is really helpful seeing other people's questions..the sneeze..I wouldn't have understood the difference either..EXTERNAL TANGIBLE FORCE


YES!!!!!!!!!! laugh.gif

To demonstrate routine in Machinima, you don't have to complete the routine in it's entirety.

EXAMPLE ROUTINE: The character wakes up, cuts a single rose from his garden and puts it in a glass of water, gets his paper and reads it next to the rose every morning.

The next time you show the routine only show part of it...

NEXT SCENE, HALF ROUTINE: The character puts the rose in water, gets paper reads next to the rose.

NEXT SCENE: The character sits down next to the rose and reads his paper.


"I watched the youtube clip & noticed the number of times that the script reinforces that 'this is what normally happens'.

"he always goes that way when it rains, it saves him a block"

"I only come in here to get sick" (at the food place)


Redford's boss complains about him not following procedure, and it is clear from context this has happened many times...the conversation with the girlfriend. & lots more"


AWESOME OBSERVATION!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is how it's done, Kate!

You can establish routine simply by mentioning it in dialog!

But notice what else it does for Redford's Character. WE START TO KNOW HIM!

Thank you for taking the time to watch the clip, and going the extra mile to make these observations!




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#44 aroundworld

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 03:57 AM

Hi all,


If you haven't done so, PLEASE WATCH the clip I set up for class, then read this observation that Kate has made.

"I watched the youtube clip & noticed the number of times that the script reinforces that 'this is what normally happens'.

"he always goes that way when it rains, it saves him a block"

"I only come in here to get sick" (at the food place)


Redford's boss complains about him not following procedure, and it is clear from context this has happened many times...the conversation with the girlfriend. & lots more"


The above is masterful ROUTINE SET UP and REINFORCEMENT.

It will benefit you IMMENSELY, if you watch this clip again and think through what we have been discussing.


Remember, INTERRUPTIONS must occur because of a SOLID, CONCRETE, TANGIBLE, EXTERNAL FORCE acting on your character to change their ROUTINE.

There is no try, only do or do not.

 

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START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#45 JosephKw

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 10:34 AM

Regarding the clip, I noticed one line which Redford says to the guard which first struck me as odd. Redford's character, while looking at the guard, says "At ease, sargeant. At ease.", but the guard hadn't said anything to Redford yet at the time (and I think his back was turned to the camera so I wasn't sure if he even gave Redford a dirty look). Immediately I got the impression that this guard was a stickler for regulations, and routinely gets on Redford's case for non-compliance with procedures. This later is shown to be true with Redford leaving through unauthorized exits, and the sargeant complaining about that. So this is yet another example of how dialogue establishes routine without any hint of the routine being shown, as Kate pointed out.

#46 rgr

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 12:50 PM

I've never seen this film and now I want to smile.gif

The clip cut short of redford's character returning from lunch, but the effect is still clear. I liked how the interruption was set up so we could anticipate it. I had no idea what it would be, but the man with the umbrella and topcoat in the rain, the view from the car with the wipers, the odd looking bump in the rain poncho, all alluded to something going on.

It's not clear the interruption was waiting for redford's character to leave, but they were obviously waiting for something. the fact that redford always left out the back when it rained was part of a routine, but I'm guessing not part of the routine the interruptors were aware of.

Great clip indeed!


#47 corthew

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 03:35 PM

QUOTE (aroundworld @ Aug 12 2012, 10:52 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
For the sake of uniform example we'll use the scenario I've posted here. Shortly we'll be getting into your own routines and interruptions and how they take on a marvelous journey with your characters!


I've been kind of avoiding this topic. Not really sure why. Perhaps I expected it to be different.

I've read the first post though now and I will definitely need to follow this. I will likely not actively participate beyond this post but I can see there are things I can learn here.
Sango: "If it was really a miracle everyone would have been saved."

Vargas: "But if everyone was saved how would anyone know it was a miracle."

Sango and Vargas arguing over the implications of one person surviving an unexpectedly active tidal season.

#48 aroundworld

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 05:55 PM

QUOTE (corthew @ Aug 20 2012, 03:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've been kind of avoiding this topic. Not really sure why. Perhaps I expected it to be different.

I've read the first post though now and I will definitely need to follow this. I will likely not actively participate beyond this post but I can see there are things I can learn here.


I'm glad you find this thread helpful and worth following corthew! biggrin.gif

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#49 aroundworld

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 06:10 PM

QUOTE (JosephKw @ Aug 20 2012, 10:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Regarding the clip, I noticed one line which Redford says to the guard which first struck me as odd. Redford's character, while looking at the guard, says "At ease, sargeant. At ease.", but the guard hadn't said anything to Redford yet at the time (and I think his back was turned to the camera so I wasn't sure if he even gave Redford a dirty look). Immediately I got the impression that this guard was a stickler for regulations, and routinely gets on Redford's case for non-compliance with procedures. This later is shown to be true with Redford leaving through unauthorized exits, and the sargeant complaining about that. So this is yet another example of how dialogue establishes routine without any hint of the routine being shown, as Kate pointed out.



EXACTLY!!!!! smile.gif

As Redford SHOWS us his routine, the other characters reinforce it in the dialog and our minds fill in the rest. So now we feel acquainted with Redford's character because we know a little about how he lives his daily life.

There is no try, only do or do not.

 

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START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#50 aroundworld

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 06:35 PM

QUOTE (rgr @ Aug 20 2012, 12:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've never seen this film and now I want to smile.gif

The clip cut short of redford's character returning from lunch, but the effect is still clear. I liked how the interruption was set up so we could anticipate it. I had no idea what it would be, but the man with the umbrella and topcoat in the rain, the view from the car with the wipers, the odd looking bump in the rain poncho, all alluded to something going on.

It's not clear the interruption was waiting for redford's character to leave, but they were obviously waiting for something. the fact that redford always left out the back when it rained was part of a routine, but I'm guessing not part of the routine the interruptors were aware of.

Great clip indeed!


It's a great movie, I saw it when it hit the theaters! NO SPOILERS HERE!

"I liked how the interruption was set up so we could anticipate it."

Good observation!!!! Here's why;

As I said earlier, we've all seen films/scenes that begged the question "Why did that happen?" The only time you want that question asked by the audience or the reader of your script is if you're going to answer it.

As Rgr, pointed out, "I liked how the interruption was set up so we could anticipate it."

What's another word for anticipation?

SUSPENSE!

The set up caused SUSPENSE!!!!!!

It also identified the EXTERNAL FORCE that would bring the INTERRUPTION to Redford's ROUTINE.

So, in this example we saw a SOLID, CONCRETE, TANGIBLE REASON for something happening in the story!



There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#51 aroundworld

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 10:20 PM

Another video clip!


Another example of routine and interruption, check this out and listen to the commentary at the end. ANd please share you fabulous incites like you did for Three days of the Condor.




There's a couple of things happening here. The interruption is introduced differently but it is the same concept. The external force is also introduced differently, but it also is the same concept and they still do the same thing.

BUT! The difference here is in the dialog. What did the BAD GUY say int the bathroom?

"Your wife owes (I forget his name) money, that means you owe him money"

So, we have a passive and Active external force acting on The Dude.

The passive: His ex-wife's debt

The active: The thugs that have come to collect


They're both external forces. The difference is, one appears in dialog (the wife), and the other is right there in front of us. Yet they're both TANGIBAL!



Are there any more questions or observations, thoughts you have about the material we've covered so far? The visceral meaning of these concepts seems to be taking hold, yes?

PM me or post your questions here, I'm here to help.

There is no try, only do or do not.

 

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START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#52 squirrelygirl

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 11:22 PM

I'm here, sorry I'm late. smile.gif

Everyone made great observations on the first clip. Something that I don't think was mentioned that I found interesting... While the main character's routine is being established, toward the end, before the interruption we are shown the interrupter. We see where he is and a few strange things, putting his umbrella in a wastebasket, while he waits for his colleagues. It makes me wonder how important that is.

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#53 squirrelygirl

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 11:37 PM

So, this second clip is a lot different. Instead of letting us know that something is about to happen by showing us the interrupter we are lulled into a comfortable place by the narrator, shown the main character's routine, and then WHAM, hit with the interruption. It seems that the way the interruption is introduced is important also.

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#54 rgr

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 01:01 AM

So, my take on this clip is that the routine is not unique so much as it's a routine we are all more or less familiar with, modulo some comedic twists, and the voice over sets up the interruption with a rather severe contrast, as Shirley points out.

It reminds me a little of the sort of contrast the underpainting for a oil painting provides. You know it's a tree, but when you see the light detail over the dark form it comes alive as a tree in a new way.

This sort of reminded me of that, more so than the redford clip, which took pains to establish a unique routine for that character, and all of the other characteristics about that we already discussed.

This film I did see, albeit on an airplane so I don't know for sure if I saw the full film.

#55 aroundworld

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 04:20 AM

QUOTE (squirrelygirl @ Aug 20 2012, 11:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm here, sorry I'm late. smile.gif

Everyone made great observations on the first clip. Something that I don't think was mentioned that I found interesting... While the main character's routine is being established, toward the end, before the interruption we are shown the interrupter. We see where he is and a few strange things, putting his umbrella in a wastebasket, while he waits for his colleagues. It makes me wonder how important that is.


Just an aside, the character that trashed the umbrella is Max Von Sydo, of Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal." Major art house film.

The umbrella. In story there are signals called "Harolds". They are warnings of coming events, SUSPENSE CUES.
The umbrella represents cover or hiding. Von Sydo trashes the cover (triggering the plan). Then he and his associates trash the CIA field office. See the connection?

Is it an external force, an interruption, his routine? No. It is a PLOT DEVICE that helped create suspense.

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#56 aroundworld

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 04:34 AM

QUOTE (squirrelygirl @ Aug 20 2012, 11:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So, this second clip is a lot different. Instead of letting us know that something is about to happen by showing us the interrupter we are lulled into a comfortable place by the narrator, shown the main character's routine, and then WHAM, hit with the interruption. It seems that the way the interruption is introduced is important also.


Yes! There's a couple of things happening here. The interruption is introduced differently but it is the same concept. The external force is also introduced differently, but it also is the same concept and they still do the same thing.

BUT! The difference here is in the dialog. What did the BAD GUY say int the bathroom?

"Your wife owes (I forget his name) money, that means you owe him money"

So, we have a passive and Active external force acting on The Dude.

The passive: His ex-wife's debt

The active: The thugs that have come to collect


They're both external forces. The difference is, one appears in dialog (the wife), and the other is right there in front of us. Yet they're both TANGIBAL!

There is no try, only do or do not.

 

Learn story telling in the MOVIESTORM education forum. 

 

START HERE:  http://www.moviestor...showtopic=13153


#57 aroundworld

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 04:49 AM

QUOTE (rgr @ Aug 21 2012, 01:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So, my take on this clip is that the routine is not unique so much as it's a routine we are all more or less familiar with, modulo some comedic twists, and the voice over sets up the interruption with a rather severe contrast, as Shirley points out.

It reminds me a little of the sort of contrast the underpainting for a oil painting provides. You know it's a tree, but when you see the light detail over the dark form it comes alive as a tree in a new way.

This sort of reminded me of that, more so than the redford clip, which took pains to establish a unique routine for that character, and all of the other characteristics about that we already discussed.

This film I did see, albeit on an airplane so I don't know for sure if I saw the full film.


I paint myself, so I see what you're saying. However there's a little more finesse happening in the dialog and the action, that happens in the bathroom. As you said, we see that the same concepts are at work here, only they're set up differently. Nice compare to painting! smile.gif

The contrast they used in ROUTINE and INTERRUPTION are really vivid here.

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#58 aroundworld

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 03:02 AM

Ok, so how has this module on routine and interruption changed your view of constructing a scene? Chime in and lets wrap this section up with some observations!

There is no try, only do or do not.

 

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#59 kkffoo

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 07:47 AM

I'm finding that more and more examples of this format occur to me, not just movies, but books as well.
I recently re-read The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham.
http://en.wikipedia....Midwich_Cuckoos
The book is really skillful in seting up the atmosphere and normal routine of the village of Midwich, before a mysterious alien force field literally stops everyone in their tracks. Everyone, and everything within the village is interrupted and the inhabitants are put into a sleep state. When they finally awake all the female inhabitants are found to be mysteriously pregnant (with alien children as it turns out...the cuckoos).

If I get the opportunity, I'd like to try making a film using this structure, also I'm really keen to find out what the next lesson is!!

#60 squirrelygirl

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 08:21 AM

It has made me understand the importance of establishing a routine before the interruption. I tend to like to get to the action, but I see that may not be the best thing.

Taking a look at the movie Legend of the Guardians that I recently watched with my kids: We are introduced to the owl family then the two oldest owl children are practicing flying from branch to branch, they fall, and their lives are forever changed.

I also noticed them in books, like kkffoo pointed out. For instance in The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon the routine of the main character, in this case a young girl, is established. Her mother takes her and her older brother hiking on a trail in the woods. The girl decides to step off the trail without telling anyone because her mother and brother are fighting and she's sick of listening to them. Her decision changes her life forever because she can't find her way back to the trail.

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