Kinetic Energy Writing - Point Break

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  • Kinetic Energy Writing - Point Break

    We all have our favourite scripts and writers but I just had to bring attention to what I consider to be superlative writing. In a word: kinetic.

    So descriptive with such few words. And even more than that, it's engrossing, palpable, adrenalised. This is the level that I aspire to. It's inspiring and ego-thumping at the same time. It's not flowery yet it's vivid beyond even my best attempts. That much of it is achieved with simple words - "squawking", "meteors", "blurring along" - is staggering. A lesson in judicious word selection if ever there was one.

    IMO, this is the real deal. This is what makes producers turn pages at 3 in the morning after a 20 hour day. We can talk about 8s and 9s on the Black List all day long but how many of us are writing to this level? Not many, I wager. And best of all, it cuts through all the 30 page posts and back and forth and distills "all that matters" into one page of a script. Now that's brevity! That's class!

    This isn't the only sequence, the script is full of many like it, but it perfectly encapsulates the heart-pumping, reader-immersing qualities that I'm on about. Many will poo-poo the writer but for me, for dragging you off your arse and yanking you into the story, he's up there with the Wachowskis.



    Code:
    INT/EXT. NEIGHBOURHOOD - FOOTCHASE SEQUENCE
    
    It becomes a blur.  Pure kinetic energy.  Two meteors
    rocketing through a low-rent suburb.  And God help anyone
    who gets in the way.
    
    Reagan crosses a cluttered backyard.
    Broken field run through toys, swing set, stacks of god-
    knows-what.
    He runs through a Mr. Turtle Pool in an explosion of
    spray.
    Crashes through a hedge.
    Through the narrow gap between houses.
    Utah powers into the tight space behind him.
    Blurring along between stucco walls.
    
    They emerge into the front yard.
    A WOMAN watering her lawn is so surprised she yelps and
    falls down.
    Reagan and Utah both hurdle her.
    
    AHEAD, KIDS ON BIKES, racing along the sidewalk.
    Reagan dodges the first, Utah slams into the next two.
    He crashes, rolling, tangled up in bikes and squawking
    teenagers.
    He comes out of a pile-up somehow still in high gear.
    
    Reagan flashes across the sunlit street.
    Dodges in front of a GARBAGE TRUCK which locks up the
    brakes.
    It stops so fast, one of the guys falls off the back.
    The GUY is getting up as Utah whips around the back of the
    truck.
    Knocks him sprawling.
    Utah doesn't stop.  Doesn't look back.
    Like he doesn't see anything in the real world but the
    figure running ahead of him.  Like it's some kind of
    hyperkinetic video game.
    
    Everything is a blur.  Suburbia smeared into staccato
    impressions.
    The house across the street is blocked by fence on both
    sides.
    A MAN is picking up his mail.
    Reagan pounds past him.  Right through the front door of
    the house.
    Utah follows.
    
    Panting as he sprints down a dark hallway.
    A WOMAN with a basket of washing SCREAMS as Reagan blasts
    past her, knocking her flying.
    Utah leaps over her sprawled legs.
    Cats blur underfoot.  Utah crunches down on a tail.  A CAT
    EXPLOSION.  Screeching merges with the woman's shrill
    shouts as Utah slams the back screen door off its hinges.
    
    Across the back yard.  Fence.  Over it.  Running on.
    
    REAGAN looks back.
    Sees Utah still behind him like in a bad dream.
    He enters the next house.  Sliding glass door.
    Utah sees Reagan pull it closed.  Locking it.
    Without breaking stride Johnny grabs a potted plant off a
    patio wall.
    Heaves it ahead of him.
    
    The glass BURST INTO A WALL OF DIAMONDS.
    Utah blasts through a microsecond later.
    Topples the kitchen table.  Furniture and crockery
    crashing everywhere.
    He sprints down a hallway after Reagan.
    A FIERCE WOMAN in a housecoat shouting at them as they
    pass, holding a vacuum cleaner like it's shot-gun.

  • #2
    Re: Kinetic Energy Writing

    Absolutely. Point Break is a friggin' killer script.

    ("Suburbia smeared into staccato impressions" is the type of line that makes me, as a reader, salivate. Holy moly.)

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Kinetic Energy Writing

      Oh man, now I have to watch the movie again. That scene is a joy to read and is perfectly captured in the film.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Kinetic Energy Writing

        Every time Point Break is on tv., I have to watch it.

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        • #5
          Re: Kinetic Energy Writing

          Good stuff. Love this line:

          Across the back yard. Fence. Over it. Running on.

          Totally encapsulates concise, visual storytelling. I think the trick to this kind of writing is to trust the reader to keep up. A lot of newbie writers will try to spell everything out, but wind up bogging down what's supposed to be fast-paced action. I remember I made this mistake myself in my first script - trying to be clear about what I saw in my head, I wrote blocks of text to describe something that would take up screentime of less than ten seconds.

          It's all about the flow. I can't tell if I love or hate the line, "knocking her flying" though. Haha, it's such awful English, but I know exactly what the writer's trying to communicate, so it works. Vividly.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Kinetic Energy Writing

            So many to choose from but "blurring along between stucco walls" is stand out for me.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Kinetic Energy Writing

              No idea what stucco is, though.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Kinetic Energy Writing

                STUCCO:

                noun
                fine plaster used for coating wall surfaces or molding into architectural decorations.
                verb
                coat or decorate with plaster.
                "a stuccoed house"

                Late Night Writer

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Kinetic Energy Writing - Point Break

                  If you live in CA, I imagine you would know stucco - almost all houses seem to have it.
                  www.JustinSloanAuthor.com

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