War and Screenplays

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • AnconRanger
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    I haven't seen THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE movie, directed by John Huston.

    May be off base here, but I think in some 'war movies' the actual war is much more of a primary character in the story, than in other movies. Like the primary story in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN could be inserted into any war zone...The Civil War, WWI, etc...and it would still be powerful. Where like in say PLATOON, the specific war plays a much more important role re conflict in that unit, etc.

    Leave a comment:


  • Clint Hill
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Russell Crowe's The Water Diviner, a WW I story, did a fine job of weaving into its plot the historical "why" the protag's sons were sent to the Battle of Gallipoli. Without knowing any history of WW I, viewers were given enough information to understand what happened and why without being hit over the head with it. The film also had many of the elements of the story being discussed (reiverx'). The Water Diviner story worked very well.
    Last edited by Clint Hill; 05-17-2016, 04:24 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • reiverx
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    I know that WWI is always going to be a tough sell. The line between the good guys and the bad guys is very fuzzy. Enemy soldiers in the trenches had far more in common with each other than with the decision makers.

    Most people know very little about WWI and I do think that's a big obstacle. How many know that Japan fought on the side of the allies? (and how their request for a racial equality clause was rejected by the western powers at the Treaty of Versailles).

    However, a movie has to be more than just good guys and bad guys. I think I have the right ingredients but they're not mixed the right way.

    Leave a comment:


  • ComicBent
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    The script by reiverx has emotional turmoil, self-discovery, loss, and personal growth - all against a background of trench warfare with devastating weapons and even with hand-to-hand fighting. And farther in the background is the personal drama of love back in England.

    But we have come a long way since The Red Badge of Courage. We have had innumerable films about the horrors of war, and Badge was a novel, which is a genre in which the art can proceed along interior channels of personal impression and emotional reaction, all conveyed in carefully constructed imagery and language.

    Leave a comment:


  • AnconRanger
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    It's been a long time since I've read THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE. In my memory, the reasons for the great forces colliding against one another, the understanding of a fairly new nation undergoing civil war...I don't remember stuff like that in the pages of the story. I don't remember receiving a history lesson between the lines. It was much more personal. A kid in the middle of something bloody and much bigger than he was. It was a growing up sort of story in the middle of a horror show. That's my memory of the story. It was a very personal and up-close one.
    Last edited by AnconRanger; 05-16-2016, 07:05 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • ComicBent
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Do you think that bringing the broader historical context more in focus is 1) doable within the constraints of the existing script 2) advisable?
    I think that it would be very difficult to do that in a 90-100 minute film and still have time for the personal story that the script presents. That is why I said that the script would work better as two or three episodes in a historical dramatic series to provide a context for the personal story. As the script stands now, the war background could have been any war.

    Leave a comment:


  • AnconRanger
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    One shouted in taunting mimicry, "Oh, mother, come quick an' look at th' sojers!"
    -Stephen Crane. THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE

    lines like that are searching for dead center.

    or i could be completely wrong, which is likely.
    Last edited by AnconRanger; 05-15-2016, 08:40 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • SBdeb
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    I would argue that the First World War is the origin of the murderous geopolitical woes that afflict us today. None of that is apparent in the script, as far as I remember.
    Interesting and thoughtful commentary. Do you think that bringing the broader historical context more in focus is 1) doable within the constraints of the existing script 2) advisable?

    I would argue that the First World War is the origin of the murderous geopolitical woes that afflict us today. None of that is apparent in the script, as far as I remember. Of course, people did not know in 1914-1918 that the war in Europe was not just another European conflict but was the most calamitous disruption of established society since the Black Plague.
    It would be an idea to look at other "successful" historical dramas [where the history itself was not the story] and see how and whether they weave the "big historical picture" into their narrative or background and how they did so.

    Leave a comment:


  • ComicBent
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Since I am the only commentator here who has read reiverx's screenplay, I have an advantage.

    His screenplay is graphic and is filled with action and has clearly drawn characters. The main character has an arc. I was drawn into the story.

    So why does it not work?

    It is often difficult to explain why a script would lack appeal as a film. My best attempt is to say that the subject matter is the problem. I would argue that the First World War is the origin of the murderous geopolitical woes that afflict us today. None of that is apparent in the script, as far as I remember. Of course, people did not know in 1914-1918 that the war in Europe was not just another European conflict but was the most calamitous disruption of established society since the Black Plague. From WWI we got
    Communism, the rise of Mussolini and Hitler, and the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, which led to exploitation of the Middle East by Western powers and eventually to the chaotic situation that we see there today.

    As I said, the characters in the screenplay would not know about all of this, but we know about it (some of us, anyway), and the story suffers, because it is essentially a domestic drama in which the main character is caught up in a war, partly through his own decision and partly through circumstances beyond his control.

    The screenplay works, actually, for what it is. But it is only an episode in a greater drama, and because it does not have that larger context, the story maybe comes across as a bit common and trite, despite its riveting scenes of trench warfare and the growth of its characters. This particular work might do remarkably well as two or three episodes in some kind of period-piece dramatic series like the Forsyte Saga.

    The author writes well and is conscientious in his work. I think that he can produce some really enjoyable and effective scripts.

    Leave a comment:


  • Goliath
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Like others said, probably the screenplay wasn't engaging enough. Probably need to spice it up. Add in more high tension moments. Strive to have conflict in every scene, either external or internal.

    Because if your historical protagonist's story isn't dramatic enough, people might as well read his Wikipedia article.

    Leave a comment:


  • reiverx
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    To be fair to the reader, I think there are definitely areas that can be improved. He seemed to want the protagonist to be more involved in making decisions that would affect outcomes. That isn't the crux of the story but I have to be objective about it.

    That said, he also suggested that the story should focus on the allies pushing the Germans back across the Maginot Line. Ummm. Wrong war, buddy.

    Leave a comment:


  • Clint Hill
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Originally posted by Ronaldinho View Post

    My guess is that you're falling short .... But maybe you're not. Maybe the reader just didn't like it and doesn't really know why, so just threw some comments at the wall. Heck, even very conscientious readers are often not aware of why something isn't working for them. (The vast majority of people who can accurately and consistently put their finger on why a script isn't working aren't working for $30 a read).
    What if the reader is just a young 20-something kid who grew up on CGI spectacle and cinematic razzmatazz? What if the reader doesn't care a fig about History, U.S. or otherwise, never did, and never will? What if the reader had something going on their sphere, was having a "bad day," or was otherwise distracted from concentrating on your story? What if the reader themselves CAN'T SCREENWRITE? The choice of the ill-fitting word "benign" is a clue. Too much credibility has been attributed to the reader in this thread until the above remarks (Ronaldinho's).

    Pass your script around some more and get other opinions. There are WW I re-enactment groups around. Find one, either in person or electronically, to read your script or hear out your premise. They'll have lots of technically accurate information that you'd never be able to fit into your piece, but chances are something will be said to you that sparks a creative thought you can use. You just might have encountered the wrong reader for the material.

    Take the good advice already given in previous posts.
    Last edited by Clint Hill; 05-13-2016, 05:57 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Clint Hill
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Originally posted by ComicBent View Post
    My Never Accepted Advice:

    Do not keep obsessing over something that you have written. If you have written one script, you can write another. Everything that you write is a form of growth. It really is. You get better because of what you have done. So move on, and take advantage of the growth that has occurred.
    Accepted. Good words by which to write.
    Last edited by Clint Hill; 05-13-2016, 01:32 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ronaldinho
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Obviously, I haven't read the script. Take with requisite caveats.

    I would not worry about the American intervention part.

    What I read that note as meaning - which could be wrong - is that the story feels like a dry series of events rather than a story with a point of view and dramatic urgency.

    This is a pretty common problem I see in amateur scripts. Rather than pushing forward from one scene to the next, it's simply "this happens, then this happens, then this happens." Rather than giving us the events of a story from a character's point of view, connect to their struggle, stuff just sort of ... happens.

    In a film, what happens is actually less important than how we're supposed to feel about it. It's your job as a writer not just to put us in the middle of the action, but to make us FEEL something about what's happening.

    My guess is that you're falling short in that area. But maybe you're not. Maybe the reader just didn't like it and doesn't really know why, so just threw some comments at the wall. Heck, even very conscientious readers are often not aware of why something isn't working for them. (The vast majority of people who can accurately and consistently put their finger on why a script isn't working aren't working for $30 a read).

    Plenty of successful films have been made that weren't about Americans. Sometimes an idea about non-Americans is re-purposed with an American set of characters (see U-571). But if the reader had loved the screenplay, he wouldn't have cared if the characters were Americans, English, Bangladeshi, or Martian.

    Leave a comment:


  • FoxHound
    replied
    Re: War and Screenplays

    Originally posted by omjs View Post
    For what it's worth, I interpreted the "benign accounting" phrase similarly, even without reading your script. It sounds like the reader felt you were just showing a series of events, like listing facts, rather than anchoring the story in an emotional way.
    I had the exact same reaction. Not dramatic or compelling enough. What's your hook? Maybe that's the problem.

    Also, when it comes to action/war movies, it's sometimes the little things that can make or break you. For eg. In EDGE OF TOMMOROW, the whole film easily could've turned into a CGI video game borefest like Battleship (it looked like it from the commercial). But Cruise's feelings for Blunt and being forced to watch her die hundreds of times repeatedly was such a brilliant / emotional / haunting addition. It gave the film enormous HEART. Which is what distinguishes it from 95% of other cgi action/war crap.

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X