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Old 11-10-2015, 01:00 PM   #101
Yaso
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

"Structure is important, but it's not everything or even close to everything. Structure cannot teach you about human nature. "

A good structure method comes from character and character IS human nature. If your structure is not sound, the story will fall apart, because it doesn't express the character. All the elements have to be linked to the main character for it to make any sense. Take a good look at the abomination that is SPECTRE for what it's worth.

Structure isn't something static, it is highly creative. Through the structure of your script, you are expressing yourself as a writer. Only when you know the chords, you can improvise on your instrument ... same thing here!

"For you to say what Tony Gilroy says is bullshit just floors me. Academy Award nominee Tony Gilroy. Or Jeff Lowell, who has sold 20 pilots! Do you realize the magnitude of that? (...) His experience trumps your speculation."

Would you rather appeal to Authority than to reason? An argument has to hold up in a discussion and his simply doesn't.

There's a difference between FORM and FORMULA. A screenplay is a different form than a novel. A Horror film is a different form than an Action picture. A Slasher film is a different form than a Splatter film ...

"(...)pacing has a lot of intuitiveness to it. That is my technique."

The first sentence is certainly true. But you needed to develop that intuitiveness. That's our brain adapting to a complex system that's beyond our immediate grasp. However, when we lack the experience, gut feelings are oftentimes wrong. You have to go through the training wheels before you can trust those instincts.

As an artist you are always using the left and right side of your brain, which means using both creative and analytic techniques.

Last edited by Yaso : 11-10-2015 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 11-10-2015, 02:08 PM   #102
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

Ah well, I tried lol.
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Old 11-10-2015, 02:14 PM   #103
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

So far we have had analogies relating writing to football, golf, baking, music... To me, this illustrates how difficult it is to identify and talk about the quicksilver something(s) that makes a screenplay great. As a result, the very nature of the dogmatic story beats in the STC model should make it immediately suspect.

For example, Save The Cat says the Catalyst (Inciting Incident) must fall on page 12, must be the 4th plot point, and must be the moment where life as the protag knows it changes. Examples he gives are the Dear John letter, getting fired from a job, the news that you have cancer and a month to live. A BIG moment to say the least.

However, as I mentioned above, in The Godfather, the catalyst comes at the end of act one. It's the moment when Don Vito refuses to get into the drug business with Sollozzo, even against the advice of Tom and Sonny. And Michael, the protagonist, isn't even at that meeting.

It's subtle, it almost seems business-as-usual, nothing to fear, nothing BIG, especially since Don Vito is very comfortable saying no and is unconcerned. At first thought you may think this scene exists to show the Godfather makes his own decisions in spite of his advisors.

Yet this decision triggers every plot point that follows: the shooting of the Don, the death of Sonny, the journey of protag Michael becoming the next Godfather.

In some films, the catalyst happens shortly after fade in. Basic Instinct for example -- the murder of a man by a blond woman who may or may not be Catherine. Without that murder there would be no investigation, no story, and two leads would never meet. If this inciting incident was pushed further back to hit the STC page 12 mark, it would have slowed things down.

The catalyst/inciting incident happens early in Alien too. It's the transmission that causes the crew to wake from hypersleep earlier than planned. But the news isn't "life as we know it has changed" BIG. The crew believes they just have to check something out then its back to business.

I'm sure some will say The Godfather or Basic Instinct or Alien are old films that are exceptions to the STC rule.

But I think these are iconic movies that illustrate how much story actually drives structure and not the other way around. Yes, your catalyst/inciting incident happens in act one. But when and how it happens, and what page it falls on, is a choice you must make in a way that best serves your specific story. Figuring that out is hard but when you do figure it out it will make your script far better than marching in lockstep with STC.
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Last edited by sc111 : 11-10-2015 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 11-10-2015, 03:09 PM   #104
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

For my analogies, the baking school one says you need to know basic principles inside out one you do, you gotta throw them away.

For the golf analogy, you need to work on your process like a golfer works on his swing.

I think also there's a point that has not been noted yet and that's there is a big difference between reading screenwriting theory and absorbing/applying principles.
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Old 11-10-2015, 03:33 PM   #105
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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Originally Posted by sc111 View Post
So far we have had analogies relating writing to football, golf, baking, music... To me, this illustrates how difficult it is to identify and talk about the quicksilver something(s) that makes a screenplay great. As a result, the very nature of the dogmatic story beats in the STC model should make it immediately suspect.
I've been reading through the last few pages and became increasingly annoyed by all the nonsensical analogies.

Yaso, if you can't learn anything from watching films you're either watching the wrong films or you are watching them wrong. Structure is important of course you can create your own fluid structure within time. But there are plenty of things that I would claim are even more important. Unfortunately a lot of them can't be taught or learnt (brit spelling).
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Old 11-10-2015, 05:13 PM   #106
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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Originally Posted by TheConnorNoden View Post
I've been reading through the last few pages and became increasingly annoyed by all the nonsensical analogies.

Yaso, if you can't learn anything from watching films you're either watching the wrong films or you are watching them wrong. Structure is important of course you can create your own fluid structure within time. But there are plenty of things that I would claim are even more important. Unfortunately a lot of them can't be taught or learnt (brit spelling).
These analogies do work though, we are talking about rules, and learning by watching.... Not being able to do, by watching.

because no I can't go play for the NFL just because I watch a lot of football, and no I can't sing just because I Hear a lot of songs, but by watching I can learn the rules of football, without the NFL playbook, and I can learn the basic structure of songs, without knowing a lick of music reading....

Now if I don't wanna watch all these football games (read all these screenplays) then yeah, I CAN still learn the process by reading that NFL Rule/playbook/Save The Cat ect...

No, you don't need to follow any formula,

McDonald's does not need to make their sandwiches BREAD, CHEESE, MEAT, BREAD... They can make it MEAT BREAD MEAT...

But if you are going to ahead and NOT follow proven methods, then that Sandwich better be some amazing muthafvcking sandwich... It better be better than a regular Sandwich.. Your script better be better than that regular script.

Once I know the basics, then again I can break all these rules, but that Bread cheese meat bread format is there because it works, so if I wanna think outside the bun, I better be inventing something great, like a mvtha****ing TACO.

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Old 11-10-2015, 07:22 PM   #107
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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I'm not denying that instinct is important for a writer. I'm denying that you gain that instinct by passively absorbing movies.
If you don't have inborn talent ("instinct") to tell stories, all the studying of craft in the world is not going to make you a good writer. The post by madworld, quoting from Tony Gilroy is right on -- these formulas are forensic, they're almost always applied to successful movies in an attempt to explain why they were successful -- after the fact. (Same with the Hero's Journey formula.) Story telling naturally follows certain patterns (structure), otherwise it's not story telling.
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Old 11-10-2015, 08:56 PM   #108
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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There's a difference between FORM and FORMULA. A screenplay is a different form than a novel.
I don't care if it's a novel or a screenplay. If it's a great story, people will say: "Wow! That's a great story!"

I don't care if it's a novel or a screenplay. If it's a crappy story, no one will say: "Wow! That's great structure!"
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Old 11-11-2015, 11:14 AM   #109
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

This argument has been around since words were carved into stone tablets and it will be around long after we all are gone. Its just one of those things where there is no 'wrong' answer and no 'right' one. What is the difference between the mediocre writer and the really good writer?

My hypothesis is that if we followed two college students around who wanted to become writers for a decade, after ten years one makes it and one doesn't. We look back at the tape and study the things each one did in pursuit of their goal. I'd like to think that the one who made it spent more time writing, they also did a better job of educating themselves whether it be in a classroom, reading a book, reading a script, watching a movie, they also are a much better editor.

How much time do you really spend writing? Are you really putting quality hours everyday toward writing, editing, or learning? I know for sure, just from human psychology, people will over inflate the time and the though they claim to have put into a script.

There is no getting around the grunt work, and for the ones who are really good - the grunt work is the fun part of a script. Figuring things out to the finest detail and watching the plot mature and take on its structure. That's fun to some people, for some really good writers its a love/hate relationship but they can't stay away. Too many amateurs are writing first drafts and think its time to query agents and managers while they clean the script up. Come on...

You don't have to come on here and defend yourself if this is not you, cause there are some decent amateur writers in this community who still could break in if they can write a script on that next level. You don't have to come out and defend yourself, I know you exist.
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Old 11-11-2015, 12:05 PM   #110
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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Originally Posted by Mpimentel View Post
These analogies do work though, we are talking about rules, and learning by watching.... Not being able to do, by watching.

because no I can't go play for the NFL just because I watch a lot of football, and no I can't sing just because I Hear a lot of songs, but by watching I can learn the rules of football, without the NFL playbook, and I can learn the basic structure of songs, without knowing a lick of music reading....

Now if I don't wanna watch all these football games (read all these screenplays) then yeah, I CAN still learn the process by reading that NFL Rule/playbook/Save The Cat ect...

No, you don't need to follow any formula,

McDonald's does not need to make their sandwiches BREAD, CHEESE, MEAT, BREAD... They can make it MEAT BREAD MEAT...

But if you are going to ahead and NOT follow proven methods, then that Sandwich better be some amazing muthafvcking sandwich... It better be better than a regular Sandwich.. Your script better be better than that regular script.

Once I know the basics, then again I can break all these rules, but that Bread cheese meat bread format is there because it works, so if I wanna think outside the bun, I better be inventing something great, like a mvtha****ing TACO.

We're supposed to be intelligent, informed writers. Relying on nonsensical analogies to make a point isn't the way to go. Speak in clear, blunt terms. For example, structure is important but not a single person will care what you do if it's that damn good.

StoryWriter hit it on the head.

This may be a craft but it needs heart and soul too.
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