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Tagged ‘screenwriting‘

Plot analysis unicorns

I worked briefly for a film and theater producer who liked to speak of “pushing plot through” a script, as if plot were a waste product excreted through the screenplay’s GI tract. That makes the process, and the producer, sound crass and uncultured, but it was just the opposite: I can think of hardly anyone (certainly not most writers) who had such a sophisticated understanding of plot, who could see a story beat by beat. If yours wanted for drama, if its characters sometimes lacked motivation or some aspect of its narrative felt contrived, he could fix it, and not by cheapening or sensationalizing the plot, but by showing you, on your own terms, what the stakes really were. Tellingly, he eschewed the term plot arc, which summons a tidy rainbow of conflict and resolution, in favor of that uglier but truer “pushing plot through”: what a compelling story needs isn’t a clean trajectory but a healthy appetite and a good digestion.

-via @parisreview

Seriously, this guys exists? Sounds like my long-lost best friend. I wholly embrace the infinite and eternal plot analysis compulsion. I’m not sure I fully understand the processes of pooping out plot; but that’s okay, I am distracted easily.

What we really want to assimilate is Computational methods for detecting mood, tone, sentiment, or perhaps even affect. Extracting plot arcs from fiction. Quantifying sentiment. Vonnegut’s Man in a Hole.  Paul Harvey. A finite number of plots. Plus, Blood Meridian. This emotional valence sounds like the business.

If only I could figure out how to run George Saunders and Danielewski through the Syuzhet package. Then probably tattoo those plot graphs somewhere. Oh, and don’t break the capitol sin of the Internet: Don’t read comments.

The Three Laws

Be forewarned, these are hard and fast rules that supersede formatting, style, and etiquette. Immutable. Rules that ensure success. Rules for screenwriting, radicals, drug-running, and life in general:

1. Excuses are boring.
2. Hustle > talent.
3. Put the damn thing to bed.

“The Laws apply, as a matter of course, to every tool that human beings use.”

New Screenwriting Method: Ctrl+H your way to accolades and success

Ahh, the Black List. Obligatory cool kids club for screenwriters and crib sheet for development folk. Interesting to see they dispatched the whole under-the-table script trade slash screenplay hording aspect this year and distributed a dropbox link of all the scripts directly to the masses. I guess I’m all for not having to do illicit back-alley deals or arm-twisting the mailroom kids to read what’s in circulation, but I do wonder what the consensus is of the screenwriters that appeared on the list. Franklin Leonard should do a survey. Actually scratch that, he probably already does one since the Black List is all bout dat data . I guess the idea is that getting reads is never bad, but I’d probably feel a little conflict at being distributed to the internet at large.
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Crazy gut wrench over this painting.

Rich Pelligrino kills me. $850.00 is a steal. Never mind that it might just happen to make the perfect portrait for one of my favorite original characters, from (to date) probably my favorite screenplay.

 

Flames

Flames

Knocking out some rewrites.

Inheriting toys…

Inheriting toys…

From the Grandparent’s estate. FFC wrote ‘The Godfather’ on one of these, I discovered this just before starting a new spec that is somewhat resemblant. Stop goofing with me, Spacetime, I am masochistic enough to try and write a whole spec on this thing. As soon as I find a Victrola with which to blast some Irving Berlin.