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Old 11-17-2015, 12:50 PM   #231
Ronaldinho
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmy View Post

It's just a road map. In no way does it inhibit more interesting choices. Nobody is forcing conformity to it.

In terms of deviating from the model, there's nothing to deviate from. It's just helping you turn the character.
In theory you're right. In practice, however, it's not so simple.

I've been in development meetings where the execs where telling us the character had to arc while pointing at movies that had no arc as the example we were using. Somebody had drumbeat "characters have to arc" into their heads so hard that they couldn't see that the examples they were using of films we were trying to be like had characters who didn't arc.

Secondly, as we've seen in this thread, there are writers who do, in fact, read these books and take them as gospel. Whether or not that's the intent of the book's author (I think it is with STC, I don't think it is with Syd Field, at least not in his first book) that's how they get interpreted and used.

If that wasn't the case, then this would be much less of an argument. Nobody would really care. But, unfortunately, it is.
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Old 11-17-2015, 12:51 PM   #232
RG55
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

As usual, Ronaldinho speaks (writes) words of wisdom.

I wonder how to apply Hero's Journey or Save The Cat to
2001: A Space Odyssey
or
Psycho

On the other hand, I see no problem to apply them, or some of their elements, if needed, at will.
Always, to everything--is too much.
Never, to nothing--is also too much (or too little, depending on how one looks at the glass).
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Old 11-17-2015, 12:57 PM   #233
RG55
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

Yaso, you need to see some European cinema (and, apparently, Japanese too).
Not to say that you'd like them.
Not to say that I do.

But some stories don't have all the elements you mention, no.

And apparently By The Sea might be like them.
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Old 11-17-2015, 12:58 PM   #234
Yaso
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

Ronaldinho there are several logical fallacies in your argument.

First of all, you are trying to make this a personal thing about me. It's not about me and it never was.

Second of all, you are pointing to experts, trying to use them as proof.

Third you are confusing my arguments with those of someone else (I can't remember who it was).

Fourth, you are arguing semantics. A lot of people have written about antagonists and there probably are a lot of definitions out there. However, picking apart single words doesn't refute an argument.

You're also making it pretty easy for yourself throwing the towel after this posting.

Last edited by Yaso : 11-17-2015 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 11-17-2015, 01:26 PM   #235
JeffLowell
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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Originally Posted by figment View Post
For the record, here's a pro writer that uses Blake Snyder's Beat Sheet.

"... Erik Bork, who won Emmy® Awards for his scripts for HBO’s From the Earth to the Moon and Band of Brothers. “To me,” says Bork, “it’s really about dedication and commitment to the craft ... Before he crafts a complete scene-by-scene outline, Bork uses the late Blake Snyder’s famous beat sheet to set the skeleton of his story..."

http://www.scriptmag.com/features/wo...ts-of-the-pros
Erik Bork isn't a pro writer. Erik Bork is a guy who worked for a brief period as a writer, more than a decade ago.

Now he makes his living as a consultant. He's saying formulas work for writing screenplays because he's selling you the formula.

Quote:
Script Consulting – Screenplays
Erik’s rates for reading and giving feedback on a typical length feature film screenplay (120 pages or less) are as follows:
* For a four-page written analysis and suggestions, covering concept, genre, structure, and execution — looking at the project’s overall potential, what he felt you were trying to achieve, and how best to improve it moving forward: $435.
* For a 90-minute Skype or phone conversation, in which all of the above is covered with slightly less detail (and no written backup), but with an opportunity for extended back-and-forth discussion: $435.
* For both a four-page analysis & suggestions, and a 60-minute conversation: $545.

Erik also offers ongoing margin notes detailing all his most significant reactions that he had to the material as he was reading it, giving you a specific sense of how it was working for a professional reader at each point along the way — at the following rates:
* For margin notes only: $435.
* For margin notes plus a 60-minute conversation: $545.
* For margin notes plus a 4-page written analysis and suggestions: $645.
* For margin notes plus a 60-minute conversation and a 4-page analysis/suggestions (my “Complete Package”): $745.
You can also hire him as a coach:

Quote:
FEATURE SCRIPTS
Story/Concept package: $1,750
Outline package: $2,350
Script package: $3,850
All three packages: $6,950 (a $7,950 value)
Or just buy his audiotapes:

Quote:
They’re available now for $11.95 each, or all five for $49. Or you can also get all five free with the purchase of any consultation package of $500 or more.
If his system worked, he would be making a living as a writer, not ripping off gullible writers.

Quoting snake oil salesmen isn't proof that snake oil cures diseases.
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Old 11-17-2015, 01:37 PM   #236
Ronaldinho
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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Originally Posted by Yaso View Post
First of all, you are trying to make this a personal thing about me. It's not about me and it never was.
No, I'm not. I'm using you as an example of how this sort of teaching goes wrong.

I would say your comments to me like "if you are not able to do that, you might be fooling yourself," and "you can't seem to accept the fact that screenwriting is not magic." THAT is making it personal.

But I've specifically tried to keep this discussion about films that we've all seen to prevent it from being personal. Talking about my work, which you haven't read, wouldn't be terribly relevant to the discussion.

Quote:
Second of all, you are pointing to experts, trying to use them as proof.
Who are these experts I'm pointing to?

The crux of my argument is, and always has been, looking at successful films and doing the work yourself. It feels like you're just making stuff up, now.

Quote:
Third you are confusing my arguments with those of someone else (I can't remember who it was).
I don't think I am, although it's certainly possible. I've tried to directly quote who I'm responding to to avoid that sort of murkiness, which can happen in these threads.

I am citing you as an example of someone who is reductionist with these concepts in a way which inhibits understanding.

Quote:
Fourth, you are arguing semantics. A lot of people have written about antagonists and there probably are a lot of definitions out there. However, picking apart single words doesn't refute an argument.
We're writers. Words are our tools. I think it is reasonable to expect writers, when writing about writing, to write what they mean. Even if you are being fast and loose with your language (repeatedly) we can't actually talk about how a certain concept applies to films without defining that concept.
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Old 11-17-2015, 02:08 PM   #237
sc111
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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Originally Posted by figment View Post
I stand corrected. I didn't realize the Emmy winning writer was now a consultant. My bad....
After reading your comment I looked up his award. These were shared awards -- shared with a whole lot of others on that TV show. Guys like Spielberg and Tom Hanks no less

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0096897/awards
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Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. “Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.”
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Old 11-17-2015, 02:10 PM   #238
Yaso
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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Originally Posted by Ronaldinho View Post
No, I'm not. I'm using you as an example of how this sort of teaching goes wrong.
By calling me a beginner you basically said that I'm the opposite of an expert and therefore must be wrong. That's a logical fallacy. It comes from the same place as assuming someone who won an Oscar will always be right.

Quote:
I would say your comments to me like "if you are not able to do that, you might be fooling yourself," and "you can't seem to accept the fact that screenwriting is not magic." THAT is making it personal.
With the first statement I didn't mean YOU specifically, I meant everyone. I stand by my second comment: It "seemed" to be the case by everything you wrote. I try to be very precise in what I'm saying or writing, but English is not my mother tongue. If it came across as too confrontational, please forgive me.

Quote:
I am citing you as an example of someone who is reductionist with these concepts in a way which inhibits understanding.
Some people say it's "reductionist", other people say it's "too vague to be of any value". It's funny how much perceptions can differ.
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Old 11-17-2015, 02:20 PM   #239
JeffLowell
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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Originally Posted by figment View Post
So how about the others? Are the Bridesmaid writers in the wrong for buying a Syd Field book to see what type of structure they might use?

Is August wrong in saying that development people use Syd Field terms? Maybe they don't. I don't know.

You said in a previous post that pros talk in terms of acts -- isn't that the same thing (I am asking for real)? You might not say "inciting incident" or "midpoint" like a screenwriting book does, but aren't you asking the same type of questions if you are suggesting a (pro) writer move a big reveal to the middle for pacing purposes? Or move this intense shootout toward the end of act two, because we want the protagonist to feel he has no way out before he figures out a way in act three?
No one has ever suggested not spending the time to develop a basic knowledge of dramatic structure. But honestly, how long does that really take? Field's book takes a couple of hours to read, if that. Three acts is basically saying a story has a beginning, middle and end.

Quote:
It just seems like semantics, like somehow it's not considered organic, professional writing if you use words like midpoint or inciting incident. It doesn't mean you aren't doing them, you're just not using the words of books.
Again, having a basic vocabulary is one thing. Suggesting that specific beats should take place in a specific order at a specific time is ridiculous. As is quoting all these made up terms from Save The Cat and then saying that they're real things that you can use to write a script that sells. That's what kicked this whole debate off. Pace slow? Is your pinch point on page 37?!

It's largely not how professionals - writers, producers or executives - communicate or work. Will you run into some idiot low level executive who read Save The Cat and wants to talk about it? Sure. So?
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Old 11-17-2015, 02:32 PM   #240
Ronaldinho
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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Originally Posted by Yaso View Post
By calling me a beginner you basically said that I'm the opposite of an expert and therefore must be wrong. .
No, I didn't actually say that. Yes, you're a beginner, and in my opinion, yes, you're also wrong. But I never said you were wrong because you were a beginner.


Quote:
With the first statement I didn't mean YOU specifically, I meant everyone. I stand by my second comment: It "seemed" to be the case by everything you wrote. I try to be very precise in what I'm saying or writing, but English is not my mother tongue. If it came across as too confrontational, please forgive me.
Apology accepted.
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