Opening pages - does what it says on the tin

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  • #46
    Re: Opening pages - does what it says on the tin

    I think you've established the genre if you're intro'ing two characters and one scene is hilarious. Even if the second character intro is more serious, remember, one key to a rom-com is showing contrast.

    FA4
    "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

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    • #47
      Re: Opening pages - does what it says on the tin

      Hot Tub Time Machine barely made a profit.

      If you factor in advertising, it probably didn't.

      Therefore, try not to compare your script to HTTM. It's not gonna help your endgame.

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      • #48
        Re: Opening pages - does what it says on the tin

        Originally posted by Mr. Earth View Post
        So, let me paraphrase what just happened here...
        No. You didn't paraphrase it at all. Nor did I take it to a personal level - you did when I pointed out what you said about HTTM is false. Which is why I said to stop crying.

        Nothing you said about HTTM was remotely true (and I'd have said the same about any film so don't think I was getting defensive over HTTM). You said it's a dark comedy - it isn't. It's many things: rude, lewd, crude, irreverent, peurile, blokey, childish, immature etc but it isn't anywhere close to being "a dark comedy". Anytime you want to address this be my guest.

        So by this point - with the thread derailed - the OP was by the by, you'd exposed yourself as someone talking rubbish about a film they clearly must not have seen and nothing you said even made sense. You got the genre wrong, the suicide wrong and contradicted yourself over the title and reader expectations. All that raised the red flags, prompted questions, which then caused you to whine about winning Oscars.


        And through all of that, Hot Tub Time Machine is the only movie in this thread that even comes close to being an example of your original question....and you provided the question AND the answer. Which makes me wonder why the question was even asked in the first place.
        First, if there were a ton of films, I wouldn't have started the OP.

        Second, I had a few other titles but as I explained - no point in sharing seeing as you already dismissed HTTM.

        Third, the OP was clearly started out of genuine honesty for feedback. HTTM, as the thread shows, only came to light after the thread started (when I found it rummaging for aother DVD).

        Fourth, I only provided the "answer" to my own question in response to you asking for examples. And even then it was only one example and not defintive proof to me that it's okay to follow suit with my own work.

        Fifth, you talk about the lunacy of asking a question and then answering it - look at your own actions: you asked for a film that mixed comedy & drama in the opeing minutes, I gave one yet you rejected it (citing a host of incorrect assumptions to ensure it didn't "pass") and continued to ask for examples. It seems you're the one who's mind was already mind up - not me.


        Because it was a comedy, the "serious" stuff was establishing character and plot and all those things were resolved in a comedic and/or rewarding way later on in the film.
        Of course it was all establishing character and plot. That goes without saying, duh. It doesn't change the fact that, no matter how you try to spin it, the opening minutes alternate between comedy and pathos. And that is all that is what was in discussion in the OP.

        I don't care if HTTM is the only film to do so and thus the technique should be avoided. I don't care if no one else likes HTTM. What I do care about is someone asking for examples that do, and then dismissing when he gets them. I do care about someone passing opinion when they're miles off tangent - thus making their every word suspect. And I do care about people trying to paint me as the argumentative/dogmatic one when they're the ones who couldn't accept a film that defied his belief.

        HTTM was not posted as validation - it was posted as just one such film that did the very thing you asked for. If Mazin, Lowell, Haas (or anyone else who'd actually seen it) had advised not to do it despite HTTM then that would've been fine. Just because it's been done sparingly does't mean it's a viable technique but nor does it mean it should be avoided - hence the OP.

        My issue with you has never been about the OP - but about HTTM in and of itself. So none of your paraphrasing is true.


        You can admit you're wrong, y'know. No one'll make a big deal out of it. Trying to maintain what you've said (which has been shown to be false) is actually the harder, and more folly, path to take.
        I'll gladly admit I'm wrong, and have done already in this forum. End of the day Earthy, you asked for an example and I gave you one. You spouted a load of tosh about it and got told as such.

        Then you evetually admit HTTM did in fact do what I said it did:

        I say the online version of the script is not written in that way, but even so, the non-funny stuff is a foundation for funny stuff later on.
        Which begs the question: why have you spent the past few pages arguing HTTM when you now accept the film mixes comedy and drama in the opening minutes (which is all I ever said)?

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        • #49
          Re: Opening pages - does what it says on the tin

          Originally posted by figment View Post
          Hashing things out, getting other opinions, can help define or solidify your view. Settle things in your own mind. No harm in that.
          Which is why I started the OP.


          But instead of being grateful that posters have taken the time to respond, you start acting like they're an idiot because their opinion doesn't specifically mesh with yours.
          Did you read the entire thread? If it needs spelling out to you:

          Mr Earth spouted absolute rubbish about a film, using the hogwash to verify his stance. So I questioned that. He then got personal so I told him to stop crying and to calm down. What's there to be grateful for?

          It isn't a difference of opinion, Figment, it's fact. He was incorrect to such an extreme degree that the only conclusion was that he hadn't seen HTTM and, more onerously, was trying to save his skin. That's as dangerous as it is disingenuous. What if he'd cited a film I hadn't seen in order to prove his point? I'd have been led astray, believing him in good faith.

          Which is why I said: "I am open to opinions - hence my OP. Unfortunately your opinions weren't about drama early in a comedy but about a film you clearly haven't seen. And I'm not open to those opinion - like calling a rude, crude romp a dark comedy."

          Do you see, Figment? My issue is not that he said "don't use that technique". I wasn't upset I didn't get a particular answer.


          But you can't keep asking for opinions and then slamming people for offering them. And sending out personal attacks and saying someone is "crying" for calling you out on it -- that's just silly.
          Again, I invite to reread the thread because that never happened. I didn't slam anyone for their opinion in response to my question (notice how no one else got criticised?). Nor did I say he was crying because he called me out - the reverse is true: I called him out on HTTM and then told him to stop crying when he threw his toys out.

          As said, no one else got "slammed", as you put it, because they didn't say obvious BS about a film and set alarms ringing. Do you get it? My issue with Earth was not his stance on the OP.

          I can't spell it out anymore than I already have but, for you, I'll do it one last time - it will also provide a true paraphrase instead of Earth's attempt -after which I won't comment on this sorry charade anymore.

          I posted the OP - asking a question about mixing comedy & drama early on.

          A couple of people responded.

          Earth advised against it and then asked for films which did.

          One sprang to mind - I gave it: a raucous, high jinx, gross funny romp that most people compare to The Hangover.

          Earth rejected it saying it was a dark comedy and that the suicide attempt was played for laughs.

          Amazed at such a wildly bad assessment, I pointed out this wasn't true and questioned his deeply troubling assessment of the film.

          He made a comment about how HTTM got away with a dramatic scene because the reader knows it's a comedy and expects far out stuff when it's called HTTM.

          I pointed out how that contradicts his entire stance and actually supports mixing comedy with drama and that with regard to HTTM: "if anything else, knowledge that it's a "crazy comedy" is going to make it an even tougher sell to inject such serious scenes within the opening minutes."

          Earth, in blatant disregard, said: "I still would like to hear any example of a comedy for the first 1.5 pages and serious stuff for the next 1.5 pages. I'm not saying it hasn't been done, but I still can't think of any good examples."

          I responded by saying there's not much point in providing any more examples if he's going to just ignore.
          (And as a side point, someone gassing themselves in their car isn't a good example? WTF?)

          Earth then made it personal by telling me to stop asking questions if I didn't want the answer/already had my own and to go win an Oscar.

          I told him to stop being a drama queen and lashing out just because he's been shown to be wrong.


          And that's it, Fig. I didn't slam him for his opinion on the OP - just like I didnt slam anyone else. I questioned his assessment on HTTM and called him on it - and I called him on his supporting evidence too. That is when he got personal and that's when I told him to stop crying.

          Is that clear now? It should've been clear from throughout. How you saw it any other way is a mystery.

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          • #50
            And so moving on from Mr Earth

            Originally posted by ATB View Post
            Hot Tub Time Machine barely made a profit.

            If you factor in advertising, it probably didn't.

            Therefore, try not to compare your script to HTTM. It's not gonna help your endgame.
            This isn't solid ground on which to make an argument though. Most films do not make money and there's a plethora of reasons as to why films do and don't. There's also a host of unquantifiable reasons which makes the whole game of film making a high risk business. And there's loads of great films that underperformed at the BO - films that are revered. So to say it's not a good example to follow a film's example because it didn't romp at the BO is dubious.

            And to be clear, because Fig and Earth missed it (despite me spelling it out) I'm not saying this to defend HTTM or mixinf comedy and drama in the opening 3 pages/minutes. I'm saying it because it stands to reason indpendently of these elements.

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            • #51
              Re: Opening pages - does what it says on the tin

              Pops and buzzes, that's all I'm hearing.

              HH

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              • #52
                Re: Opening pages - does what it says on the tin

                Haven't read all the posts but re: the OP's first post...

                It seems like what you're talking about is tone. One thing that is important is to give the audience a sense of the range of tone early on. A Harold and Kumar movie is gonna have a far more outrageous tone than an Apatow movie. And the Farreleys in Something About Mary had a pretty wide range to play in...

                So they open with some heartfelt sh!t AND they show balls getting caught in the zipper. That way early on the audience is ready to allow them all those kinds of moments moving forward.

                However, it's not like you can just impose wildly different sh!t so that your tone is "everything." It's hard to explain, you just have to have a sense of what is right.

                But you are smart, imo, to let the audience know that your movie will be heartfelt AND funny in the opening pages.

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                • #53
                  Re: And so moving on from Mr Earth

                  Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
                  This isn't solid ground on which to make an argument though. Most films do not make money and there's a plethora of reasons as to why films do and don't. There's also a host of unquantifiable reasons which makes the whole game of film making a high risk business. And there's loads of great films that underperformed at the BO - films that are revered. So to say it's not a good example to follow a film's example because it didn't romp at the BO is dubious.
                  All true. But your only example of why you're right is HTTM. One movie.

                  And that movie underperformed. In my opinion, because of the story and the way in which it was presented (I did see it).

                  I'm not saying you're right or wrong. No one really can unless you post pages. But if your only example is a movie that lost money, then you should ask yourself if you really wanna be compared to that film.

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                  • #54
                    Re: Opening pages - does what it says on the tin

                    I've completely changed my mind on this subject. Comedy and serious stuff goes hand and hand and happens all the time. Don't worry about pacing or tone, just go from one thing to another and do it as quickly as possible. There are loads of examples if you just take the time to think about it.

                    I forgot about the bird dying in Dumb and Dumber that had a profound effect not just on me, but on the characters in the film. Likewise, Alan's drug abuse in the Hangover was especially sobering. And don't even get me started about the pathos that was developed when the Griswold family accidentally killed the dog in Vacation.

                    Now, these examples might not happen in the first 3 pages of the script, but I'm sure that's only because no one's ever been smart enough to do that.

                    Thank you for opening my eyes. I will be watching comedies in a whole new way from now on.
                    On Twitter @DeadManSkipping

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                    • #55
                      Re: And so moving on from Mr Earth

                      Originally posted by ATB View Post
                      All true. But your only example of why you're right is HTTM. One movie.

                      And that movie underperformed. In my opinion, because of the story and the way in which it was presented (I did see it).

                      I'm not saying you're right or wrong. No one really can unless you post pages. But if your only example is a movie that lost money, then you should ask yourself if you really wanna be compared to that film.
                      Ahh but bear in mind I'm not trying to prove I'm right. Never have throughout this thread. I assumed it's fair game but haven't argued for it to be true. HTTM was provided as an example only because someone asked for one and I was more than happy for people to say - as you have - "I think that is why it underperformed" or "I think it caused an imbalance in the film despite it raking in $300m".

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                      • #56
                        Re: Opening pages - does what it says on the tin

                        Originally posted by BattleDolphinZero View Post
                        Haven't read all the posts but re: the OP's first post...

                        It seems like what you're talking about is tone. One thing that is important is to give the audience a sense of the range of tone early on. A Harold and Kumar movie is gonna have a far more outrageous tone than an Apatow movie. And the Farreleys in Something About Mary had a pretty wide range to play in...

                        So they open with some heartfelt sh!t AND they show balls getting caught in the zipper. That way early on the audience is ready to allow them all those kinds of moments moving forward.

                        However, it's not like you can just impose wildly different sh!t so that your tone is "everything." It's hard to explain, you just have to have a sense of what is right.

                        But you are smart, imo, to let the audience know that your movie will be heartfelt AND funny in the opening pages.
                        Thanks for the input BDZ. I've seen similar stuff in other rom coms - not as extreme as the suicide in HTTM - but there nonetheless. I'm pretty sure my pages are okay but as has been mentioned, the only way is to get a fresh pair of eyes on it.

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