film-critic-hulk

Dents: Why The Winter Soldier Was So Good

If you want to understand what Captain America: The Winter Soldier is all about, watch the shield. Yes, it’s a very good movie, probably the best of the Marvel flicks so far. Yes, it’s a four-color take on a Seventies political thriller, which is why Robert Redford was so wonderfully cast. Yes, it had issues of moral complexity that, depending on where you sit were either painstakingly simplistic or deeply adventurous for a billion dollar tentpole flick. 

But what matters is the shield.

Because when Captain America’s shield hits something in this movie, there’s an impact. It slices into walls and stays there. It gets used to hack open padlocks and smash through things. When Cap takes a corner too fast and bounces off the wall, shield-first, it leaves a mark. 

And that’s what the movie’s about. Nothing happens in a vacuum. Everything makes ripples. Everything has unintended consequences. Even the purest thing on the planet - either Cap’s conscience or his vibranium alloy shield - can’t help leaving a trail of damage wherever it goes, even if it was put into play for what were presumably the best of reasons.

Which is why, and I know i’m getting all Film Critic Hulk here (maybe Film Critic Doc Samson? Film Critic Abomination? Whatever) it’s such a big deal when Cap throws his shield at the Winter Soldier and the Winter Soldier catches it before returning serve and knocking Cap on his ass. The purest thing in Cap’s arsenal just got turned around on him. Never mind what just happened to Nick Fury, this is the real signifier that the old rules don’t apply, and that your best efforts just might be what gets you killed.

So that, really, is why I loved the movie. Well acted, yup - it’s really an ensemble piece for Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Anthony Mackie, and they play off each other beautifully. The deep cut easter eggs for the Marvel true believers are fun without requiring you to be Comic Book Guy. The action scenes feel like a comic book, Batroc the Leaper gets his fifteen minutes, and the Russo brothers do a superb job of melding the slippery camerawork of those 70s thrillers with the shiny CGI demanded of a Marvel blockbuster.

That being said, it all comes back to the shield. And every time it cut into sheetrock or metal, every time it left an imprint on the world I cheered a little. This was the first time a modern superhero film really interacted with its world. Talk all you want about the Nolan Batmans and the Manhattan carnage of The Avengers, their violence was all spectacle. Buildings explode. Stadiums crumble. Bridges go down. Cliffside mansions get knocked into the ocean by arrays of missiles. These are things beyond the scope of the everyday. They’re showy statements. (That, incidentally, was always the basic disconnect with Nolan’s Batman: he’s a street-level character without superpowers who exists on a plane of wealth so far beyond comprehension that his Batman-ing seems the least effective thing he could do. Better to buy up Gotham - real estate’s cheap - and rebuild it than squat on rooftops waiting for muggers.)

Cap, however, makes dents you can see. Maybe the ones in your office wall are a little smaller and not quite as deep, but that’s a difference of degree, not of kind. These are impacts we can understand. These are, to be brutally honest, the things we all leave behind in our lives as we struggle along, bouncing off people and things, and leaving indelible marks as we do so.

Even if we try not to. Just like Cap, and his shield. 

“We forget one of the key last scenes of Do the Right Thing, wherein the stuttering Smiley wanders into the ruins of Sal’s pizzeria and places the images of Malcolm x and Martin Luther King Jr on the wall. The film later follows this up with two of the most famous quotes by both figures on the nature of violence. Hulk’s literally seen people proceed to argue which is "right” and which one the film is trying to convey, which dumbfoundingly misses the idea being presented that both inclinations logically, emotionally and rightfully lie within every human being. And to deny that right, to hold one to ridiculous standards that they do not hold for themselves, especially in the face of oppression, is not impossibly unfair but just another form of the oppression itself. We cannot operate a society under the pretense that oppressed groups have to act as Martin Luther King Jr. Or Ghandi (two of the greatest human beings / leaders the world has ever known) in order to be taken with even a hint of validity / not get shot. It’s a comically dark expectation. Especially when we more readily give the benefit of the doubt to violent police officers, rapists, etc. It is a reality that hulk cannot even imagine. The one that’s actually kept hulk awake the last few nights. For whenever we have to suffer 1/64th the inhumanity that black males are subjected to on a regular basis, we practically go off the handle.“

Hulk’s whole Do the Right Thing article is great.

MAN OF STEEL, LIKE MOST RIDICULOUSLY MALE-CENTRIC FILMS OF TODAY, DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO MAKE ONE OF THE BEST FEMALE CHARACTERS IN COMIC-DOM INTEGRAL TO THE PLOT OF THEIR FREAKING MOVIE? SERIOUSLY?!?!?!? IT’S NOT LIKE AMY ADAMS IS A SLOUCH. IN FACT, SHE’S ONE OF THE BEST ACTRESSES OF HER GENERATION AND CAN BE EFFECTIVE IN EVEN THIS RIDICULOUSLY LIMITED PART. IT’S NOT THE ACTRESS. IT’S THE FACT THAT THE CHARACTER IS SCOTCH-TAPED TO A STORY THAT DOESN’T REALLY NEED HER. NO WHERE IS THAT MORE EVIDENT WHEN SHE RUSHES DOWN THE STEPS AT THE END, INCONSEQUENTIAL TO ANYTHING. SHE IS SIMPLY THERE. SUPERMAN IS NICE TO LOIS AND STUFF, BUT AT NO POINT DOES HE EVEN SEEM TO HAVE THE VAGUEST ROMANTIC INTEREST IN HER. THEIR ULTIMATE KISS IS DOWNRIGHT JARRING.

As usual, I am humbled by Film Critic Hulk’s ability to articulate everything I want to say about a movie so much better than I could ever say it. While … screaming, apparently?

He is so good at cutting to the core of drama that it goes past criticizing this particular movie, or even past movies that are similar to this movie, to making me downright nervous about my own understanding of the subject. :| I’m afraid, right now, that I’ve been so close to my Jekyll and Hyde characters that I assume empathy–since I care about Dr. Jekyll, everyone else must too! But thinking about it now, I’m not sure if I really have many real scenes of emotional connection with my characters. This is awful!

TO BE FAIR, THE MOMENT IS A DIRECTLY CHALLENGING POINT OF CONTENTION WHEREIN THE WHOLE ARGUMENT OF THE MOVIE COMES TO A CRUX. DESPITE EVEN THE MOST BASE OF THE AUDIENCE LIKELY BEING ON BOARD WITH AVA AND KYOKO’S VENGEANCE AGAINST NATHAN, THEY STILL SEE HER ABANDONMENT AND LOCKING-IN OF CALEB AS EVIDENCE OF HER INHUMANITY AND CRUELTY. MAYBE A RETALIATORY DISPLAY OF THE SAME KIND OF TREATMENT THAT WAS SHOWN TO HER. TO SOME, IT EVEN READS AS AN ACT THAT WOMEN ARE INHERENTLY DECEPTIVE AND SELF-SERVING (AS ONE POINTED TWEET TO THE A24 PRODUCTION COMPANY WAS PUT “Ex Machina proves that you can’t trust these hoes”). AND LIKEWISE, THERE ARE SOME ACCUSING THE FILMMAKER OF ESPOUSING THOSE VERY SAME BELIEFS. BUT FOR HULK, THE INTENTION OF THE SCENE COULDN’T BE CLEARER.

IT’S ESSENTIALLY OUR OWN “GENDER-BASED CHARACTER-IDENTIFICATION TURING TEST.”

— 

Film Crit Hulk Smash: EX MACHINA And The Art Of Character Identification (Birth. Movies. Death.)

and this is why I was clapping at the end of Ex Machina

TO HULK’S DYING DAY HULK WOULD NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND THE IDEA OF OUTRIGHT BELITTLING SOMEONE ELSE’S INTERESTS. ON A FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN LEVEL IT JUST SEEMS STRANGE. SURE, THERE ARE ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM THAT CAN CERTAINLY RAISE AN EYEBROW (BRONIES FOR ONE), BUT THE FACT THAT WE CAN LUMP IN SOMETHING THAT EFFECTIVELY REGISTERS TO THE PUBLIC AS “A GIRL SHOW” WITH SOMETHING WITH THAT SPECIFICITY IS A LITTLE WEIRD TO HULK. GRANTED, IT IS PRECISELY THIS KIND OF “THIS IS GOOD/THAT IS BAD” BRAND OF REFLEXIVITY THAT USUALLY SETS OFF PEOPLE’S POST-MODERN-BELLS ABOUT HOW EVERYTHING IS RELATIVE AND TRUTH IS A LIE… THAT’S ALL WELL AND GOOD, BUT PLEASE EXCUSE HULK FOR TRYING TO COME UP WITH SOME KIND OF PRODUCTIVE ANSWER ON HOW TO MAKE FUCKING SENSE OF THIS SITUATION. REFLEXIVITY DOESN’T MEAN THAT WE JUST ABANDON ALL SENSE OF OBJECTIVITY, IT JUST MEANS WE SHOULD HAVE A LITTLE HUMANITY AND UNDERSTANDING WHILE DOING IT. SO WHEN LOOKING AT SOMEONE ELSE’S INTERESTS PERHAPS WE SHOULD JUST MEET THEM WITH A SHRUG AND NOT OUTRIGHT ANIMOSITY AND LONG-WINDED COMMENTS ABOUT HOW LENA DUNHAM IS VACUOUS AND DOESN’T DESERVE ANY OF HER SUCCESS.
—  Film Critic Hulk surely apologizes for all the caps on your dash. But he has some good things to say about culture, New Girl, and just letting some things stay in their own lane if they’re not bothering anyone.

Hulk’s latest target of smashing: blockbusters that get so so convoluted, so byzantine in their reveals that they alienate story-seeking audiences.

The real reason I had to stop reading MTMTE.

Also, making me think about how this applies to my own writing and how writing unfolds in tandem with worldbuilding.

I want to be clever, not contrived. :\

Disclaimer: I’m a huge fan of Film Critic Hulk.

OKAY. SO NO ONE EVER ACTUALLY EXPLAINS WHAT MAKES GOOD AND BAD CINEMATOGRAPHY AND WHY A CHOICE WILL WORK IN ONE SETTING AND NOT IN ANOTHER. SO LET’S TALK CINEMATOGRAPHY THEORY BASICS WITH A LITTLE MINI-COLUMN THAT HULK WILL CALL: “CINEMATIC AFFECTATION 101.” HULK ISN’T GOING TO EXPLAIN THE SHOTS IN DETAIL OR ANYTHING BECAUSE YOU CAN SUPPLEMENT THAT INFORMATION ANYWHERE. HULK’S POINT IS TO DISCUSS THE WAY THOSE SHOTS AFFECT YOU.

NOTE: IF YOU’RE A NEWBIE, STICK THIS LIST SOMEWHERE. AND LET HULK KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS IN THE COMMENTS.

A) FIRST UP HULK IS GOING TO EXPLAIN BASIC CONCEPTS OF “SHOTS.” ONE JUDGES WHAT CONSTITUTES “A SHOT” BY THE SIZE OF THE SUBJECT, HOW MUCH WE CAN SEE OF IT AND HOW CLOSE WE ARE. A WIDE SHOT COVERS A LOT OF SPACE WHETHER IT BE A LANDSCAPE OR A ROOM, AND IT ESTABLISHES THE NEEDED SCOPE, GEOGRAPHY, SPACE AND CONTEXT.

B) MEANWHILE, A CLOSE-UP IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL TOOLS FILMMAKERS HAVE AT THEIR DISPOSAL. IT BRINGS US CLOSE TO AN ACTOR TO SEE EVERY BIT OF EMOTION ON HER OR HIS FACE… BUT THERE’S A DELICATE ART TO IT. LETTING US CLOSE TO AN ACTOR’S FACE MAKES FOR SUCH A UNIQUELY INTIMATE MOMENT THAT IF YOU DO IT FOR TOO MUCH TIME IT LOSES ITS EFFECT. BUT IF YOU’RE TOO FAR AWAY IN A GIVEN MOMENT WHERE YOU NEED TO CONNECT, IT CAN BE EQUALLY DAMAGING. BUT WHILE FINDING THE BALANCE IS DIFFICULT TO PERFECT, MOST FILMMAKERS AND CINEMATOGRAPHERS STILL UNDERSTAND THE REMARKABLE POWER OF THE CLOSE-UP AND HOW IT MUST HAVE CONTEXT WITHIN A MOVIE.

C) A STATIC SHOT IS THE BASE LANGUAGE OF ALL FILMMAKING. IT PRESENTS THE SUBJECT PLAINLY, BUT THAT PLAINNESS IS ITS OWN LANGUAGE IF USED CORRECTLY (THINK OF HOW FILMS BUILD UP “NORMALCY” BY NOT STYLIZING THEIR FILMS AND BRING THE SUBJECTS TO THE FOREFRONT).

D) A HAND-HELD SHOT IS AKIN TO “GOD’S EYE” SUDDENLY BEING OFF-KILTER. NOW. IT DOESN’T NECESSARILY LEND ITSELF TO AN AUTOMATIC DOCU-LIKE AFFECTATION, WHERE THE INTENT IS TO MAKE GOD’S EYE HUMAN (THOUGH IT CAN IF THAT’S THE INTENTION), HAND-HELD IS MORE OF GENERAL WAY TO CHARACTERIZE THAT WE LOSE THE STABILITY OF THE STATIC SHOT AND EMBRACE A WILDER SENSE OF OUR CINEMATIC WORLD. IT IS THE SENSE OF THINGS NOW BEING SOMEWHAT OUT OF CONTROL AND UNEASY. WHAT HULK HOPES TO CONVEY IS THAT HAND-HELD DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY = REAL. COOL? COOL.

E) A DOLLY SHOT (CAMERA ON A RIG WITH TRACKS) PUTS THE CAMERA’S EYE IN MOTION, BUT JUST ON THE HORIZONTAL PLANE. IT PUTS THE ENTIRE WORLD IN MOTION AND GIVES THE VIEWER A SENSE OF CONTROL, BELIEVE IT OR NOT. WE FEEL LESS LIKE WE ARE WATCHING AND MORE LIKE WE ARE INVESTIGATING IF THAT MAKES SENSE. WHILE OUR PERSPECTIVE CAN MOVE, WITHOUT THE Y-AXIS IT IS MORE OF THE VOYEUR TRAVELING WITH OTHER PEOPLE.

F) A STEADY-CAM / CRANE SHOT FUNCTIONS LIKE A DOLLY, BUT WITH EVEN MORE FLUIDITY AND USE OF THE Y-AXIS. IT IS THE TRUE GOD’S EYE VIEW. ALL-SEEING, BUT ORNATE AND QUITE POWERFUL. ALMOST DREAM-LIKE POWER. LIKE THE CLOSE-UP THERE IS A DICHOTOMY. NOT ENOUGH STEADY-CAM OR DIVING INTO THAT KIND OF SHOT WITHOUT A GOOD REASON CAN FEEL LIKE A SUDDEN BREAK IN HOW YOU SEE THE FILM’S UNIVERSE. BUT SINCE MOST HOLLYWOOD FILMS SHOOT AS MUCH AS THEY CAN ON STEADY-CAM THESE DAYS, THEY FALL VICTIM TO THE OPPOSITE EFFECT AND LOSE THE POWER OF THE SHOT’S REAL PURPOSE.

(NOTE: NOW IS AS GOOD A PLACE AS ANY TO TALK ABOUT THIS, AS POINTS D THROUGH F CAN ALL CONSTITUTE A SIMILAR TERM FOR A CAMERA MOVE CALLED A “TRACKING SHOT.” PEOPLE USE THIS TERM ALL THE TIME AND THE WHOLE USAGE ISSUE SECRETLY DRIVES HULK FUCKING NUTS. AND THE REASON IS THAT PEOPLE MISTAKE “TRACKING SHOT” FOR MEANING “A SHOT THAT TRACKS THE SUBJECT,” BUT THAT’S NOT WHERE IT COMES FROM AT ALL. HISTORY! ONCE UPON A TIME ALL MOVING SHOTS HAD TO BE DONE ON DOLLIES BECAUSE THERE WAS NO OTHER EQUIPMENT. AND FOR DOLLIES YOU NEEDED TO LAY DOWN ACTUAL “TRACK,” HENCE “TRACKING SHOT.” THE PROBLEM IS ONCE WE STARTED MAKING RUDIMENTARY CRANES AND EVENTUALLY STEADY-CAMS, A LOT OF PEOPLE KEPT CALLING IT “TRACKING SHOTS,” BUT YOU WILL FIND CINEMATOGRAPHERS WHO ONLY USE THE TERM MEANING DOLLY SHOTS, ONES WHO USE THE TERM FOR JUST WHEN A SHOT “TRACKS THE SUBJECT FROM BEHIND” AND NOT ANYTHING ELSE, AND ONES WHO USE IT TO MEAN ANYTHING. JUST A TIP CAUSE IT’S SILLY SO HULK NEVER USES THE WORD EVER. DOLLY. STEADY-CAM. CRANE. THAT’S IT).

G) A DUTCH ANGLE IS MEANT TO MAKE US AND THE WORLD FEEL OFF-KILTER.

H) AS FOR CHARACTER EYE-LINES, MOST OF THE TIME A CHARACTER LOOKS “WITHIN 45” (DEGREES), MEANING THEY ARE COMMUNICATING WITH ANOTHER CHARACTER EITHER WITHIN THE FRAME OR JUST OUTSIDE OF THE FRAME, AND THIS GIVES US JUST ENOUGH VISIBILITY TO SEE THE FULL INFORMATION OF WHAT THEIR EYES ARE DOING AND COMMUNICATE THEIR EMOTIONS BEAUTIFULLY, WHILE STILL HAVING THE ADDED BENEFIT OF THEIR NOT LOOKING AT THE CAMERA/AUDIENCE AND BREAKING THAT EMOTION.

I) WHEN A CHARACTER LOOKS COMPLETELY AWAY FROM A CAMERA THEY INSTANTLY BECOME A MYSTERY, AND EVEN IF THEY ARE TRYING TO HIDE SOMETHING, IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT WE ARE STILL MISSING THE QUALITY THAT BEST SHOWS THEIR EMOTIONAL CONNECTION (THEIR FACE). SO IF YOU TURN A CHARACTER AWAY, PLEASE UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH RESONANCE YOU ARE LOSING (HULK’S LOOKING AT YOU, EAT PRAY LOVE).

J) WHEN A CHARACTER LOOKS DIRECTLY INTO A CAMERA, IT IS… UNNERVING. OFF-PUTTING. CREEPY. EVEN SCARY. AND THAT’S BECAUSE UNLESS WE’RE A STAND-IN FOR A CHARACTER THE PERSON IS TALKING TO (THINK SILENCE OF THE LAMBS) IT IS EFFECTIVELY “BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL” AND THE SOCIAL CONTRACT WITH THE AUDIENCE. IT AUTOMATICALLY MAKES US THE VOYEUR. AND EVEN IF WE ARE THE LITERAL STAND-IN FOR THE CHARACTER P.O.V. SO THAT IT DOESN’T BREAK THE FOURTH WALL, IT SHOULD STILL HAVE THE DIRECT INTENTION OF CREEPING US OUT.

K) WITH LENSES YOU ARE ESSENTIALLY TALKING ABOUT TWO ARENAS: DEPTH AND ANGLE. A LENS WITH A DEEP FOCUS CAN SHOW LOTS OF INFORMATION IN BOTH THE FOREGROUND WITH THE SUBJECT AND DEEP IN THE BACKGROUND AS WELL. IT’S GOOD FOR LANDSCAPES OR WHENEVER YOU WANT TO PUT A SUBJECT IN DETAILED CONTEXT WITH THE SURROUNDING AREA.

L) A LENS WITH A SHALLOW FOCUS WILL MAKE ANYTHING NOT ON THE PLANE WITH THE SUBJECT SEEM OUT OF FOCUS, WHICH HAS THE BENEFIT OF JUST GETTING YOU TO FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS AND EVERYTHING IN THE BACKGROUND OR IMMEDIATE FOREGROUND SEEM UNIMPORTANT.

M) MEANWHILE THE ANGLE OF THE LENS AFFECTS THE SIZE OF THE INFORMATION DEPENDING HOW CLOSE IT IS. FOR INSTANCE, A “NORMAL LENS” WILL ACT LIKE OUR EYE DOES AND EFFECTIVELY CORRECT EVERYTHING SO THAT IT BOTH HAS A SENSE OF DEPTH, BUT APPEARS “FLAT” TO A CERTAIN DEGREE (FYI - OUR EYE, AKA THE WAY WE SEE THE WORLD, IS SUPPOSEDLY CLOSEST TO A 50MM LENS.)

N) BUT A “WIDE-ANGLED LENS” WILL MAKE EVERYTHING CLOSE TO THE CAMERA SEEM HUGE AND BULBOUS AND EVERYTHING FAR AWAY SEEM SMALL AND TINY. IT HAS A RATHER DRAMATIC, SURREAL EFFECT ON THE VIEWER AND IT LOOKS LIKE THIS:

NOTE: THERE’S A REASON CINEMATOGRAPHERS ARE OBSESSED WITH LENSES AND COULD KIND OF GIVE FUCK ALL ABOUT THE CAMERA: THE LENSES CONTROL WHAT YOU SEE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE. IT’S THAT SIMPLE. SO MIX AND MATCH LENS ANGLE AND DEPTH UNTIL YOU GET THE CLARITY AND SIZE OF IMAGE YOU WANT AND IT CONVEYS WHAT YOU WANT YOUR STORY TO CONVEY.

O) WHEN IT COMES TO TONE AND COLOR, A WARM SUMMER PALETTE MAKES THINGS FEEL ROMANTIC AND SUMPTUOUS.

P) A COOL BLUE SHEEN MAKES THINGS FEEL DISTANT, COLD AND POSSIBLY UNRUFFLED OR “COOL.”

Q) COMEDIES, ROMANTIC OR OTHERWISE, ARE OFTEN SHOT IN HIGH-KEY LIGHT (MEANING EVERYTHING IS REALLY BRIGHTLY LIT AND DETAILED AND THERE’S NO CONTRAST) WHICH MAKES THE ACTORS LOOK GOOD, BUT IT HAS THE ADDED BENEFIT OF MAKING THE AUDIENCE FEEL COMFORTABLE. SERIOUSLY, IT MAKES US FEEL LIKE NOTHING TRULY WRONG COULD HAPPEN. IT REPRESENTS SAFETY AND “MOVIE NORMALCY.”

R) DRAMA IS LOW-KEY LIGHTING. HIGH CONTRAST. SHADOWS. LOTS OF SHADES OF GRAY AND GRADIENT. IT IS ESSENTIALLY MORE “DESIGNED” AND SIGNIFIES TO US A MORE SERIOUS, DANGEROUS, TRAGIC AND SAD WORLD.

TA-DA!

THAT’S IT! HULK COULD PROBABLY THINK OF A S-Z, BUT THAT’S ALL THE RELEVANT STUFF FOR TODAY. THEM’S THE BASICS AND HULK HOPES THAT WAS FAIRLY SIMPLE AND SELF-EXPLANATORY. AFTER ALL, THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.

BUT WHAT A DIRECTOR OR CINEMATOGRAPHER DOES THAT IS TRULY REMARKABLE AND KIND OF LIKE ROCKET SCIENCE IS TO USE THESE BASICS TO THEIR ADVANTAGE TO CRAFT MOMENTS.

El método Copo de Nieve

El domingo terminé la lectura de la que hablé la semana pasada: Screenwriting 101 (aquí). Es posiblemente el mejor libro de guión que podía haber leído en este momento. Es un libro que ayuda a la práctica de la escritura de guión y que se decide a romper los mitos impuestos por otros libros de estructura de guión anteriores. Aunque aún no he podido descubrir qué guionista americano se esconde detrás de Film Critic Hulk está claro que trabaja día a día, profesionalmente, en lo relacionado con la escritura de guión. Se nota.

En cuanto terminé el libro me decidí a poner en mi pared los métodos de trabajo que exponía como posibles a la hora de meterse a trabajar en una historia. De ellos me gustan especialmente dos: Character trees Snowflake method.

El primero se basa en ir construyendo al personaje en base a ir haciéndose preguntas respecto a él y poco a poco ir dándole más profundidad. Pero, sin duda, el que más me ha interesado ha sido el del método del copo de nieve. Se basa en empezar con una simple cosa e ir expandiendo el universo de la historia a su alrededor. Así, Film critic Hulk expone varios pasos a seguir, que trataré de traducir y exponer brevemente:

  1. Gastar una hora en escribir un resumen de una línea de lo que es tu historia.
  2. Gastar otra hora más en ampliar esa línea a todo un párrafo en el que se explica el inicio, el acontecimiento principal y el final.
  3. A partir de ahí, por cada uno de los personajes principales gastar una hora en crear una página sobre cada uno en la que se diga: nombre, resumen de su historia en una línea, motivación, objetivo, conflicto, epifanía (si la hay). Después volver a coger la línea resumen y ampliarla a un párrafo.
  4. Coger cada una de las líneas del último párrafo resumen de cada personaje y expandir cada una en un párrafo en sí misma. El último párrafo ha de ser el final de la historia.
  5. Escribir una página de descripción de cada uno de los personajes principales y media página para cada uno de los menos importantes. Estas “páginas sinopsis” deben contar la historia desde la perspectiva de cada uno de estos personajes.
  6. Tranquilamente, en una semana, ampliar el resumen de la historia de una página y convertirlo en cuatro páginas.
  7. Coger cada una de las páginas de los personajes y convertirlo en una ficha completa en la que se hable todo lo posible de los personajes. Todos los datos posibles y, sobre todo, cómo habrá cambiado el personaje (si lo hace) al final de la historia.
  8. Coger las cuatro páginas de resumen y hacer una lista con todas las escenas necesarias para poderla convertir en un guión.
  9. Con toda esa información escribir el primer borrador.

La verdad es que me parece un buen método de crear una historia bastante hermética, sin muchos problemas, desde un inicio. También es bueno si se quiere saber pronto si hay una historia interesante que contar o no.

De momento no sé cuánto bien funciona. Estoy comenzando a poner en práctica esta técnica. Seguiré informando.

Strip away all the extraneous narrative crap we’ve gotten used to, and are you surprised that a clean story isn’t recognized as one?

Every narrative has a function, but it usually isn’t the reason a story exists. The story exists to express an idea, the narrative is one of the tools a story has to facilitate the expression.

—  Somebody in the comments on this

So I’ve been working on my Feature Screenplay for class but I’ve found that I"m just failing in Act 2. Thats what everyone says: Act 2 is where a film goes to die. 

This article really put it in perspective for me. 

Forgive the capitals and the length of it- but he has some really good points behind his hulk smash. Mostly about how the three act structure is a lie- because you have 30 pages that introduce, 60 pages that rise the action to the climax in act 3 with the conclusion. 

He stresses that the problem here is that the 60 pages of rising action are boring unless there are multiple changes so really the act 2 has many other acts in it as well

In an aside: I have a friend who I’ve been talking to about The Avengers. 

On the first day we talked for 5 hours trying to squeeze it into the 3 acts- trying to point out the inciting incident and act 1 and 2 breaks. 

We were really having trouble until I read this article that really put it into perspective for me- We spent 3 more hours trying to talk about the multi-acts in The Avengers, and we’re still dissecting it. 

… AND ONE LAST THING. IN TONIGHT’S FINALE JOAN TALKS TO DON ABOUT LANE’S SUICIDE AND DON KEEPS AVOIDING THE “WHY” PRECISELY BECAUSE HE KNOWS EXACTLY WHY. BUT DON ALWAYS MOVES FORWARD NO MATTER THE COST. BUT ONE THING HULK WANTED TO REMARK ON WAS HOW JOAN SAID THAT SHE WISHED SHE COULD HAVE JUST GIVEN HIM WHAT HE WANTED, IMPLYING A RETURN ON LANE’S SEXUAL ADVANCES. HULK WORRY THAT SOME PEOPLE MAY TAKE THAT THE WRONG WAY. YES, SHE’S OBVIOUSLY TALKING ABOUT SEX BUT HULK PRETTY SURE THAT IT WASN’T REALLY ABOUT THE SEX. IT WAS MORE ABOUT THE INTIMACY. JOAN SEEMED TO RECOGNIZE THAT LANE WAS A SOUL THAT WAS CLEARLY LONGING FOR SOMETHING HE NEEDED. HIS SEXUALITY WAS RATHER AWKWARD AND UNSEXY AFTER ALL. THERE WAS JUST A TRUE EMPTINESS THERE. AND TO JOAN, SHE SEEMED TO TRULY REGRET IT, AND MERELY WANTED TO HELP HIM.
— 

Film Critic Hulk puts this so eloquently—no, Joan wasn't talking about the sex. That was the easy answer she could present to Don. She was talking about giving Lane the love and devotion she didn’t feel for him, in order that she could still have a friend who understood her, someone she can talk to.

Season six Joan is going to be terribly adrift, I think.