Note To Gucci: Mazin's Point On "Summing Up Your Characters"

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  • #46
    Re: Note To Gucci: Mazin's Point On "Summing Up Your Characters"

    This is a great time to bring up, I just saw this movie, everyone loves it and I did not. Maybe I missed the entire point. But this happens so often with me. People rave about it -- especially screenwriters. And I got zero out of it.

    So I always think am I alone or is it more people are afraid to admit they don't like something.

    Comment


    • #47
      Re: Note To Gucci: Mazin's Point On "Summing Up Your Characters"

      Originally posted by GucciGhostXXX View Post
      BHow the fukk did Tony G think to do it that way? Smart!
      Plus he's really hot!

      Comment


      • #48
        Re: Note To Gucci: Mazin's Point On "Summing Up Your Characters"

        Whatever... I'm back.

        I wanted to take a quick look at the opening pages. Got sucked into reading 15 before I shook it off. "What am I doing, I already got my answer, but I can't stop reading."

        DO THAT!

        HOW? No idea... but somehow people do it.

        Here's what's funny... I honestly don't remember if he bothers to intro Arthur Edens. Lemme skim... nope... don't think so.

        AND...

        Funny that when he finally intros Michael Clayton on page... lemme look... page 6. His intro is NINE FUKKING LINES LONG.
        Bruh, fukkin *smooches*! Feel me? Ha!

        Comment


        • #49
          Re: Note To Gucci: Mazin's Point On "Summing Up Your Characters"

          Originally posted by Bono View Post
          This is a great time to bring up, I just saw this movie, everyone loves it and I did not. Maybe I missed the entire point. But this happens so often with me. People rave about it -- especially screenwriters. And I got zero out of it.

          So I always think am I alone or is it more people are afraid to admit they don't like something.
          Nah... just wasn't for you. No big deal.

          I hate sh!t people love all the time. Or...

          ...I love sh!t people assume I'll hate. Case in point: STAR IS BORN. Absolutely fukking LOVED it! I was NOT a Copper fan previous to this. After that, DEF! To direct that and be on set like "Lemme see playback... NOPE! Reset. Rolling." Then jump into the frame and kill it. Wow! Respect bruh!

          And he WENT there. Dark enough for me to be like "Yup... legit!"

          ..I usually HATE remakes.
          Bruh, fukkin *smooches*! Feel me? Ha!

          Comment


          • #50
            Re: Note To Gucci: Mazin's Point On "Summing Up Your Characters"

            Originally posted by Rantanplan View Post
            Plus he's really hot!
            Ha! True! Mancrush!
            Bruh, fukkin *smooches*! Feel me? Ha!

            Comment


            • #51
              Re: Note To Gucci: Mazin's Point On "Summing Up Your Characters"

              Originally posted by Bono View Post
              CM in real life is at The Emmys... so something tells me he won't be getting back to Joe anytime soon....
              Dammit! Shun again. I don't know how my ego can handle it.

              Comment


              • #52
                Re: Note To Gucci: Mazin's Point On "Summing Up Your Characters"

                Craig won! and gave a great speech, but sadly he didn't comment on this thread. Next year everyone!

                Comment


                • #53
                  Re: Note To Gucci: Mazin's Point On "Summing Up Your Characters"

                  Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                  That reminds me of Atonement

                  I love voice overs especially those that contradict what we're seeing. So the audience essentially gets two POVs or two stories.
                  Same. This works well for me.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Re: Note To Gucci: Mazin's Point On "Summing Up Your Characters"

                    Good content in this thread. As someone who has worked as a professional writer (but not screenwriter) for the past 10 years, I can offer my perspective.

                    One thing I usually tell clients or remind myself when working on a project is "let your audience come to that conclusion on their own."

                    A lot of writers tell. From a pure literary perspective, showing involves more patience, is technically sounder, and places more trust in the reader. However, a lot of times, writers worry that the audience won't figure it out.

                    Take the aforementioned unreliable narrator. Many of us love that, it seems. But give it to a rookie assistant or something, and they may not understand what is happening. "Wait, isn't this contradictory?"

                    The unrealiable narrator is just as much a risk as using 9 lines to introduce a character.

                    It is just as much a risk as what the author of THE KITE RUNNER did, in his extensive use of telling throughout, and that is widely considered to be one of the best novels of the last two decades.

                    The elements of story outweigh elements of style. Elements of style, like using one full page to write "nothing but snow..." - Craig or "Dead" - Gucci, is a cool technique, cool style, but that feeling is fleeting. After a day, or two, that doesn't stick with you hard. It is in the mind, but not in the soul. What does stick with you, long after the last line of the page, is the story.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Re: Note To Gucci: Mazin's Point On "Summing Up Your Characters"

                      Originally posted by Vango View Post
                      "let your audience come to that conclusion on their own."

                      showing involves more patience, is technically sounder, and places more trust in the reader.

                      The elements of story outweigh elements of style. Elements of style, like using one full page to write "nothing but snow..." - Craig or "Dead" - Gucci, is a cool technique, cool style, but that feeling is fleeting. After a day, or two, that doesn't stick with you hard. It is in the mind, but not in the soul. What does stick with you, long after the last line of the page, is the story.
                      "technically sounder-

                      Okay, lets not get all technical on us.

                      I don't feel comfortable saying SHOWING is a more "sounder- way to write to a creative person, especially for something as subjective as art.

                      I've seen showing done badly and telling done well and vise versa.

                      You say, "let your audience come to that conclusion on their own.-

                      This was Mazin's point about "summing up- characters. I get this. It's more rewarding and exciting for the readers to discover a character as the story plays out in its narrative instead of a big dose of summation when the character is introduced. Not done well, this non-visual information could be quite static and boring.

                      TELLING has its value which I mentioned previously.

                      I understand new writers tend to use TELLING as a crutch because of their inexperience, making it easier for them in introduce their characters, but they will learn, so I don't believe in taking away the creative option of TELLING if the writer deems it fits what they need to express.

                      You say, "the elements of story outweigh elements of style.-

                      I agree, but that doesn't mean I'm against seeing a pizzazz of style. I've read scripts, especially from writers who want to direct, where they focused on style and the story suffered. This doesn't mean a splash of style should be forbidden.

                      Yes, style is fleeting. Yes, it's the heart and weight of the story that people will remember, but style, done well, that just POPS. It's cool, exciting and marvelous.

                      Can't we strive for both, style and story, if done well?

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Re: Note To Gucci: Mazin's Point On "Summing Up Your Characters"

                        Originally posted by Vango View Post
                        Good content in this thread. As someone who has worked as a professional writer (but not screenwriter) for the past 10 years, I can offer my perspective.

                        One thing I usually tell clients or remind myself when working on a project is "let your audience come to that conclusion on their own."

                        A lot of writers tell. From a pure literary perspective, showing involves more patience, is technically sounder, and places more trust in the reader. However, a lot of times, writers worry that the audience won't figure it out.

                        Take the aforementioned unreliable narrator. Many of us love that, it seems. But give it to a rookie assistant or something, and they may not understand what is happening. "Wait, isn't this contradictory?"

                        The unrealiable narrator is just as much a risk as using 9 lines to introduce a character.

                        It is just as much a risk as what the author of THE KITE RUNNER did, in his extensive use of telling throughout, and that is widely considered to be one of the best novels of the last two decades.

                        The elements of story outweigh elements of style. Elements of style, like using one full page to write "nothing but snow..." - Craig or "Dead" - Gucci, is a cool technique, cool style, but that feeling is fleeting. After a day, or two, that doesn't stick with you hard. It is in the mind, but not in the soul. What does stick with you, long after the last line of the page, is the story.
                        Good stuff here, Vango.

                        I'd like to add to the Atonement example to say that the ending is a terrific example of when "on the nose" dialogue is not only justified but is a reward that reader or audience has earned the right to hear.

                        After we've gone through this emotional and tragic turmoil, we finally get to hear the words of Briony as she tells us the truth. And it's heartbreaking, but it's earned because we sat through the lie, we believed the tragic tale, only to find it was far worse than expected. I believe that there are moments when "on the nose" is absolutely warranted.

                        I think you're spot on about the possible inability of less experienced readers/writers to catch onto a nuanced story that uses devices as a deliberate way to mislead, misdirect, and ultimately to deceive them. But it is so deliciously satisfying when in the hands of a consummate professional.

                        I also agree that in the end, it is the story that will be remembered. Voice sells projects, no doubt, but only when there are also sufficiently complex characters and a compelling story. The best of all worlds.

                        So much of reading is enjoying the authorial voice. But a unique voice is also entertaining and can add great enjoyment in a story well told.

                        In the end, in its final filmic form, it is the story, the characters, and the director's vision that graces the silver screen. And I agree with your assessment that "showing" takes patience, is technically sounder, but a bit of telling might very well be important to get the story across. In a spec, you have to capture executive on page one... then, page two... but knowing they are overworked, tired, distracted reminds us that we much ensure they GET IT.

                        The thing about telling and newer writers who do it, imo, could be that they don't actually realize they're doing it until they gain the requisite experience and ability to judge their own writing objectively. And telling in a screenplay isn't as much a betrayal of the reader as in a novel, because ultimately, in film, someone will turn the telling [hopefully] into a visual moment.

                        The more you read good writing, the stronger writer you'll be. Personally, I don't agree with the "read bad writing, too," because if you only focus on the best your writing will be better for it.

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

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Re: Note To Gucci: Mazin's Point On "Summing Up Your Characters"

                          Originally posted by finalact4 View Post

                          And it's heartbreaking, but it's earned because we sat through the lie, we believed the tragic tale, only to find it was far worse than expected.
                          Very nice point. Sent goosebumps down arms thinking back to it. All great points, don't disagree with any of them.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Re: Note To Gucci: Mazin's Point On "Summing Up Your Characters"

                            Originally posted by JoeNYC View Post
                            "technically sounder-

                            Okay, lets not get all technical on us.

                            I don't feel comfortable saying SHOWING is a more "sounder- way to write to a creative person, especially for something as subjective as art.

                            I've seen showing done badly and telling done well and vise versa.

                            You say, "let your audience come to that conclusion on their own.-

                            This was Mazin's point about "summing up- characters. I get this. It's more rewarding and exciting for the readers to discover a character as the story plays out in its narrative instead of a big dose of summation when the character is introduced. Not done well, this non-visual information could be quite static and boring.

                            TELLING has its value which I mentioned previously.

                            I understand new writers tend to use TELLING as a crutch because of their inexperience, making it easier for them in introduce their characters, but they will learn, so I don't believe in taking away the creative option of TELLING if the writer deems it fits what they need to express.

                            You say, "the elements of story outweigh elements of style.-

                            I agree, but that doesn't mean I'm against seeing a pizzazz of style. I've read scripts, especially from writers who want to direct, where they focused on style and the story suffered. This doesn't mean a splash of style should be forbidden.

                            Yes, style is fleeting. Yes, it's the heart and weight of the story that people will remember, but style, done well, that just POPS. It's cool, exciting and marvelous.

                            Can't we strive for both, style and story, if done well?
                            Absolutely. Telling has immense value. Some of literature's greatest works, ones that writers have spent years, even decades, writing, include a great deal of telling. What's more, style is important. If our story is the foundation of our house, style is what we decide to furnish it with. What matters in the end to a buyer is the build, do they see the potential, etc., but the furnishing play a psychological role as well, as you alluded to.

                            Showing will often, but not always, leave a stronger imprint. I shall provide an example.

                            When I had an assistant, she brought up a fact to me to use for work.

                            I asked her, "do you have any facts on your resume?"
                            "Yes," she said.
                            "What's an example of one."
                            "I type 100+ words per minute."
                            I asked her to pull up one of the tests online. She did. And proceeded to type. At the end of the test, her WPM came up -- 72. She did it again. 71.
                            I said "What does this tell you about the things we read?"

                            The lesson could have easily been told to her, but it would not have the same impact. I showed her, and what's more, I didn't even sum up with a statement on what the lesson was. She drew the conclusion on her own from the question.

                            And to this day, she remembers that lesson.

                            Hope I've said something useful here.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Re: Note To Gucci: Mazin's Point On "Summing Up Your Characters"

                              Well... Now I feel like I have to defend my script and writing style a bit seeing as my script was singled out.

                              At the end of the day I had to trust the only other real creatives on the team, the showrunners (Who ran Nip/Tuck, BOSS, Masters of Sex etc.) They had a hell of a lot of experience, so I trusted them to know if my writing was "techincally sound." They were adamant it was, so off we went. Like I've mentioned, the studio wanted us to change some stuff in the pilot and they said "No!"

                              Again, I'm not championing my way of writing as THE WAY. It's merely A way.

                              I agree and disagree at the same time. If you're a first time writer attempting to break the rules, agreed, very good chance you won't break them in a way that works. I wasn't a first time writer on CARNIVORE, I was already repped at CAA.

                              I think FA4 hit on something important: The readers aren't the actual audience. You're trying to SELL this thing to over worked busy people who are bored by almost everything. I agree that style alone is meaningless, without a solid STORY you're DEAD! However, style may HELP you get past the readers into the hands of someone who might actually BUY your script, and from there if it gets MADE... well... NONE of your character intros will make it to the REAL audience sitting in front of their TVs.

                              I view character intros as ***TRAINING WHEELS*** for execs so that they have the inside scoop on where this is going. The purists don't like this approach. I get it. And if I was Craig Mazin I'd probably do it his way too because, like I said, he KNOWS people will read it to the end. I don't know that about my stuff. Do you? Are you confident everyone's gonna not put it down after page 1? I'm not.

                              I also believe on the nose writing can be highly effect as the last line of dialogue in a script. In my pilot the last word our guy says is "No..." However, the line the previous character delivers is two polar opposite questions wrapped into one. So this simple "No" tricks us, we don't know which question he's saying no to.

                              ...so now we have a cliffhanger ending despite me wrapping up the pilot in a way that feels complete. TV is hard that way.
                              Bruh, fukkin *smooches*! Feel me? Ha!

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Re: Note To Gucci: Mazin's Point On "Summing Up Your Characters"

                                Originally posted by Vango View Post

                                Showing will often, but not always, leave a stronger imprint.
                                In a medium such as film, there's no question that dramatizing is better than summarizing. Craig Mazin had a dogmatic opinion about summarizing ("not good craft") that I just wanted to express that TELLING is not wrong. It's a legitimate tool in the writer's tool box.

                                A new writer just needs to learn how to use that tool.

                                Comment

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