Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Build Your Story World
Sample Movie Deconstruction (2)
Were you surprised at your list of go to movies? Can you identify common threads regardless of the genres?
I asked facebook friends to list their ten plus movies and received a multiple assortment. I was not surprised at their choices because they were all quality movies in some area. However, I did notice two other common denominators. Many lists had multiple genres on them, such as Pride and Prejudice alongside The Princess Bride, The Matrix and Wizard of Oz, Sweet Home Alabama and Star Wars.
And the other factor is that the common thread viewers ranged from age 20’s to 60’s on the same choices. One response noted “watching these movies over and over is often more about a shared cultural experience with others, rather than just about the movie itself.”
However for the movie to encompass personal and communal resonance it had to fulfill the expectation it set up in the opening. Perhaps not the actual physical consequences, but at least the emotional resolution.
In a workshop series T. Davis Bunn gave at Mount Hermon Writer’s Conference 2013 he stated that the first chapter of every book is your contract with the reader. He gave four criteria. Where are you going, What is your emotional tone, What is the first fragment of the dilemma, and what is the pace? The opening lays out the map.
Movies need to fulfill that contract as well, or we won’t watch over and over when we already know the end.
1. Rewatch the initial opening of the movie you chose in order to identify the general impression of the premise. This time include the preliminary sequence, but keep the sound mute until the actual movie begins.
2. Note when the opening scene changed.
3. List the few details that stood out to you in this opening few minutes re character—anyone, setting—familiar or unfamiliar, and language—any words that seem unusual.
Share: Which element enticed you to watch and find the answer?