Scriptnotes Episode 164: link
Craig and John talk with Guardians co-writer Nicole Perlman about the development of this summer’s blockbuster, and her two years as part of Marvel’s in-house writing program. It’s a great look at how movies get started, and the dozens of drafts you didn’t see on the big screen.

Scriptnotes Episode 164: link

Craig and John talk with Guardians co-writer Nicole Perlman about the development of this summer’s blockbuster, and her two years as part of Marvel’s in-house writing program. It’s a great look at how movies get started, and the dozens of drafts you didn’t see on the big screen.

Anonymous asked:

what are some good film blogs to follow?

That’s a fantastic question. My best advice would be to search for “film” and follow everyone at the top. That’s generally my strategy regarding Tumblr. I let cream rise to the top and unfollow the blogs that aren’t helpful. 

Aside from that, follow Dan Harmon @ danharmon; Javier Grillo-Marxuach @ okbjgm; Travis Beacham @ travisbeacham 

Anybody else have some suggestions?

Lessons from Rob Legato: The art of creating awe

  • The best special effects are the ones you don’t notice. 
  • The audience will forget shots and moves, but will remember the way they made them feel.
  • Memory is created by feelings combined with tangible details.
  • Let the audience lead FX transitions by paying attention to when you naturally shift your gaze from subject to subject. 
  • We believe what we see, as long as it is consistent with established expectations. 
  • Cinema is all about the art of the illusion of the persistence of motion.
  • The first special effect is using still images to create motion at 24 frames per second. 

Rob Legato creates movie effects so good they (sometimes) trump the real thing. In this warm and funny talk, he shares his vision for enhancing reality on-screen in movies like Apollo 13, Titanic and Hugo.

In my wife’s 2nd grade classroom, they define a story as a sequence of events that has a Beginning, a Middle, and an End. 
If you were to take that idea and use it to tell a classic story, it might look something like this: 
Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man
An evil scientist wreaks havoc on the city
Spider-Man stops the evil scientist

Easy peasy, right? You’ve got characters, you’ve got conflict, you’ve got action, everything a good adventure story needs. So what’s the problem? 
If you’re in grade school and your task is to write a short story about your favorite super hero, there isn’t a problem. However, if you’re trying to write a movie that fills 90 to 120 minutes of screen time, you may find that a three-act framework might stretch your ideas a little thin. 
Our friend Film Crit Hulk explains: 

Hulk hears it all the time when people complain about movies: “it’s the problems in the film’s second act!”
The problem with this generic “second act” designation is that it can imply a problem with virtually anything in the middle part of storytelling. Meaning it is a beyond vague way to talk about story structure.
Question: what is an act?
Hulk will ask young students, film journalists, even working writers and most don’t have an answer. 
Sometimes they’ll fall over their words. Sometimes they’ll be hit by a bolt of speechlessness.
Their answers basically amount to an act being a term that’s a general placeholder for chunks of story that usually separate “beginning, middle, and end.”

Sound familiar? Film Crit Hulk continues:

So Hulk’s got another of Hulk’s famous working definitions for you. And it’s not out of Hulk’s butt here. It’s one used by many great screenwriters, professors, and other way-smart people.
The best way to put it is to define an act by its point of separation from the next (act).
Thus: The end of an act is a point in the story where a character(s) makes a choice and can no longer “go back.”

This means that the way we move from one act to another defines the act itself. We call these transitions ”act breaks.”
Film Crit Hulk:

The act break can be:

a new and interesting plot development
a poignant character realization
a personality reveal
two previously un-met characters becoming friends
or even, if handled correctly, something as insipid as “no! The bad guys are here! Run!”

An act break can be anything as long as it has a significant changing effect on the narrative resulting in the character choosing an action defined by that change; one that causes them to move forward in this new reality with understanding.
More importantly, an act break creates propulsion.

Suddenly, it becomes clear why so many films have “second act problems”: A three-act story only contains two act breaks. 
In other words, it only has two points in which the character makes a choice they can’t go back from. 

That lack of propulsion, the lack of drama-energized progress, is a direct result of thinking about stories in terms of “three-act” structure. 

Not only does three-act structure not accurately reflect the way good stories work on a dramatic level, it doesn’t tell us how to write (or even outline) a dramatically compelling feature-length film story.
Depending on how you cut it, some movies have five acts, some even have upwards of twenty. It all depends on what kind of story you’re telling and what’s appropriate. 
Our friend Dan Harmon (Community, Rick and Morty) has an excellent toolkit for thinking outside the three-act box.
It’s incredibly handy for beginners, journeymen, and masters alike. You can learn about it on his website Channel 101 by clicking here. 
To read Film Crit Hulk’s full essay on the myth of three-act structure, go to his blog here.

In my wife’s 2nd grade classroom, they define a story as a sequence of events that has a Beginning, a Middle, and an End

If you were to take that idea and use it to tell a classic story, it might look something like this: 

  1. Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man
  2. An evil scientist wreaks havoc on the city
  3. Spider-Man stops the evil scientist

Easy peasy, right? You’ve got characters, you’ve got conflict, you’ve got action, everything a good adventure story needs. So what’s the problem? 

If you’re in grade school and your task is to write a short story about your favorite super hero, there isn’t a problem. However, if you’re trying to write a movie that fills 90 to 120 minutes of screen time, you may find that a three-act framework might stretch your ideas a little thin. 

Our friend Film Crit Hulk explains: 

Hulk hears it all the time when people complain about movies: “it’s the problems in the film’s second act!”

The problem with this generic “second act” designation is that it can imply a problem with virtually anything in the middle part of storytelling. Meaning it is a beyond vague way to talk about story structure.

Question: what is an act?

Hulk will ask young students, film journalists, even working writers and most don’t have an answer. 

Sometimes they’ll fall over their words. Sometimes they’ll be hit by a bolt of speechlessness.

Their answers basically amount to an act being a term that’s a general placeholder for chunks of story that usually separate “beginning, middle, and end.”

Sound familiar? Film Crit Hulk continues:

So Hulk’s got another of Hulk’s famous working definitions for you. And it’s not out of Hulk’s butt here. It’s one used by many great screenwriters, professors, and other way-smart people.

The best way to put it is to define an act by its point of separation from the next (act).

Thus: The end of an act is a point in the story where a character(s) makes a choice and can no longer “go back.”

This means that the way we move from one act to another defines the act itself. We call these transitions act breaks.”

Film Crit Hulk:

The act break can be:

  • a new and interesting plot development
  • a poignant character realization
  • a personality reveal
  • two previously un-met characters becoming friends
  • or even, if handled correctly, something as insipid as “no! The bad guys are here! Run!”

An act break can be anything as long as it has a significant changing effect on the narrative resulting in the character choosing an action defined by that change; one that causes them to move forward in this new reality with understanding.

More importantly, an act break creates propulsion.

Suddenly, it becomes clear why so many films have “second act problems”: A three-act story only contains two act breaks.

In other words, it only has two points in which the character makes a choice they can’t go back from. 

That lack of propulsion, the lack of drama-energized progress, is a direct result of thinking about stories in terms of “three-act” structure. 

Not only does three-act structure not accurately reflect the way good stories work on a dramatic level, it doesn’t tell us how to write (or even outline) a dramatically compelling feature-length film story.

Depending on how you cut it, some movies have five acts, some even have upwards of twenty. It all depends on what kind of story you’re telling and what’s appropriate. 

Our friend Dan Harmon (Community, Rick and Morty) has an excellent toolkit for thinking outside the three-act box.

It’s incredibly handy for beginners, journeymen, and masters alike. You can learn about it on his website Channel 101 by clicking here

To read Film Crit Hulk’s full essay on the myth of three-act structure, go to his blog here.