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Old 11-09-2015, 09:18 AM   #81
Cyfress
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

Your first day of culinary school they hand you a recipe for a standard chocolate cake. Everyone learns that recipe by heart, knows how to execute it and perfects that. The instructor then tells them to rip up the recipe and create something original.

You should know structure. You should know all the microcosmic pieces of screenwriting. You should know them, study them, memorize them, attempt to write a story modeled in that way. Become a real expert with the standard. Once you do that, ripping up the rules and generating original quality material is easy.

Most people would like to jump right to that original quality stuff without ever putting in the time on the principles of the standard.

It's like the difference between a 16 year old driver and a lifelong NYC cab driver. The 16 year old is gonna be all over the road and not even know how to get you where you need to go. The Cab driver can make hair pin turns and knows all the short cuts.

The average writer has instincts to wander off in stories, the people who know what they are doing stay tight to the through line.
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Old 11-09-2015, 09:47 AM   #82
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyfress View Post
Your first day of culinary school they hand you a recipe for a standard chocolate cake. Everyone learns that recipe by heart, knows how to execute it and perfects that. The instructor then tells them to rip up the recipe and create something original.

You should know structure. You should know all the microcosmic pieces of screenwriting. You should know them, study them, memorize them, attempt to write a story modeled in that way. Become a real expert with the standard. Once you do that, ripping up the rules and generating original quality material is easy.

Most people would like to jump right to that original quality stuff without ever putting in the time on the principles of the standard.

It's like the difference between a 16 year old driver and a lifelong NYC cab driver. The 16 year old is gonna be all over the road and not even know how to get you where you need to go. The Cab driver can make hair pin turns and knows all the short cuts.

The average writer has instincts to wander off in stories, the people who know what they are doing stay tight to the through line.
Cyfress I like you and like your posts. Please don't let my point of view come across as anything other than that, but here are my thoughts.

The culinary analogy and writing are different. When you make the instructor's chocolate cake, they are requiring that cake to taste like theirs because you are being asked to *reproduce* that in a restaurant setting.

When you write, gatekeepers don't want the same reproduction. Even when you go to film school, your instructors don't want the same reproduction.

Should you know about structure? Yes, know about it. But give yourself the latitude to subvert the expectations of your readers. It will help you.

As Jeff said, this is what happens when the training wheels come off. Guess what? That can happen with your first script. That scene in your very first script could have been amazing but you were thinking about page numbers?

And truthfully, staying tight to the through line just often times doesn't amount to anything. You need the best connection. Your character has to emotionally land with a reader.

There are many times where a scene may not have been the shortest route, but it has that connectivity and is the most interesting. Give me an interesting bite. I can get the same old chocolate cake at Boston Market.

-

Last edited by madworld : 11-09-2015 at 10:31 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 11-09-2015, 10:49 AM   #83
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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Originally Posted by Cyfress View Post
Your first day of culinary school they hand you a recipe for a standard chocolate cake. Everyone learns that recipe by heart, knows how to execute it and perfects that. The instructor then tells them to rip up the recipe and create something original.
I'm not sure this analogy fits, either. But just to belabor my point (I apologize) -- would someone enter culinary school without having cooked or baked anything prior? I don't think so.
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Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. ďTry this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.Ē
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Old 11-09-2015, 10:56 AM   #84
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

there's a guy on youtube, I subscribe to his channel, who has been posting updates on his adventures in writing a screenplay for the last month or two. From fade in to fade out he posts how he's doing, where he's at in the process what page number he's on....so on so forth -- it's actually pretty effin' cool. But I geek on things like that (anyhoo). But it's torture seeing him bend over backwards trying to get beats to land on certain pages. To me, it seems like it is hindering him. I am all for using beats you pick up from books but trying to force them to land on certain page numbers is a fool's errand. It complicates the process in a way that doesn't need complicating. If the script hasn't moved into the 2nd act by page 40, and it's a 100 page script, that's a huge problem. But other than that, maybe the midpoint lands on page 55 or 60 (out of 100 pages) that doesn't kill a well told story for me. Beats are good to help develop the story line, but anyone who tells you they must land on page whatever prolly hasn't sold a script.
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Old 11-09-2015, 11:26 AM   #85
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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Beats are good to help develop the story line, but anyone who tells you they must land on page whatever prolly hasn't sold a script.

It makes sense, doesn't it? To listen to someone who has sold a script? Or a few scripts? This is from Tony Gilroy's BAFTA lecture:


Question: "Do you think itís helpful to use formulas like the heroís journey by Joseph Campbell to help you move your plot along or to build a first script."


Tony Gilroy: "Again, like I said before, I think itís more forensic. I think it has to be instinctive, I think you go back and look and go Ďoh, what did I do? Thatís what I did, thatís how this workedí. You know that. Everybody here has been going to movies, youíve been sucking up narrative since you were born. You grow up in a culture [where] you donít have to till fields, you donít have to bang stones together to clean your clothes, you have all this leisure time and youíve filled it with narrative, and food.

What is the cumulative number of stories that this audience has watched and looked at? You know more about storytelling than you know about almost anything. Probably your families. Itís really astonishing, you know instinctively what a movie looks like. Itís always astonishing, people give you a script ĎI wrote my scriptí and itís like Ďdid you ever see a ****ing movie?í You know what it looks like, you know what it feels like, you donít need Joseph Campbell to tell you what a heroís journey is, you know what it is. Itís already way down deep inside you, heís writing about something he says is deep inside you before you even knew about it.

So, you have all that, you donít need that help. Itís great confirmation when youíre lost and youíre trying to procrastinate and the bookís in your office and itís like Ďoh well letís open Joseph Campbellí. Iíve done that, so I donít want to sound too cool for the room, I have a copy of it and Iíve looked through it, but it doesnít help you."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv3DcXIUaRw


Notice none of that negates outlining. Gilroy outlines extensively, as in 50-60 page outlines. Watch the lecture if you get a chance. Very informative.
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Old 11-09-2015, 11:35 AM   #86
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

You mind putting up a link, bjamin?
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Old 11-09-2015, 11:41 AM   #87
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

Forgive me, but what Tony Gilroy says there is bullshit.

Of course we grow up with stories, but that doesn't help us writing them. If that were the case, we would have no problems writing them, but we do. It's a craft and an art. You have to learn the techniques and practice them, if you want any chance of reaching some kind of artistic quality.

And by the way, Campbell's hero's journey doesn't tell you how stories work, only how one particular genre works ... the warrior hero myth.

I see this all the time: people finding qualities of one genre and claiming that this is how all stories should be told. MAJOR MISTAKE.
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Old 11-09-2015, 11:46 AM   #88
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

Madworld

Yeah, i listened to it awhile ago. Great stuff. The whole BAFTA website has some great interviews on there.


Jeff

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9A...SRpsZdAkrAYaew
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Old 11-09-2015, 11:47 AM   #89
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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Forgive me, but what Tony Gilroy says there is bullshit.

Of course we grow up with stories, but that doesn't help us writing them.
Um, okay? Not sure how to respond to that.
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Old 11-09-2015, 11:49 AM   #90
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

I grew up watching sports. That doesn't mean I can score a touch down.
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