Year of birth: 1968
Marital Status: married
Weirdness factor: 31%
Experience Level: JonKatz Wannabe Medieval Career: Black Knight
Star Wars Archetype: Han Solo
Star Wars Name: Antba Mosub Nemcortina of Teldane
Superhero Name: The Unknown Skribe
Pirate Name: Captain John Kidd
Pro-wrestling Name: Mister Macho
Electronica Name: Null
Hobbit Name: Meriadoc Gamgee-Took of Bywater Pokemon Name: Shatbar
Indian Name: Todd Bona Fide Ram
Pornstar Name: Ian Rod
Wu Name: Sabre-Toothed Portillo
Mob Name: The Coin Operator
Fairy Name: Gossamer Moonfilter
Rasta Name: Burning Bassey
Ninja Name: Mosuke Fujiwara-san
African Name: Mahamid
HipHop Name: King Nasty Mack of the underground
Expected Death Date: June 30, 2050
Here’s a really great video demonstration of how the latest technology is changing cinema. Most of these shots would not be possible five or ten years ago and the ones that were possible would have been prohibitively expensive. While I expect this rig is not cheap, the use of the latest tools and digital cinema allows the camera to go to the places and to show events like nothing before. And that has got to be great for storytelling possibilities.
There was once a time, not so long ago, when the best thing about some movies was often the opening credits. Whether they were fun animated sequences, like in The Pink Panther or Catch Me If You Can, or the long, slow opening outer-space scenes from Alien and The Fifth Element. They always felt an integral and necessary part of the movie. However, recently the tendency is to move away from these elaborate introductions. In fact on many contemporary movies the traditional opening credits have been moved to the end and there are few or no opening credits at all. This is all part of a deepening trend in movie-making and Facebook is to blame.
Of course, if you’re familiar with movies from the 50s and older you’ll know that putting all the credits at the end of the movie is not a new trend. What is new is that this is part of an evolving style to speed up the action, to get the audience involved in the narrative and connected with the characters as quickly as possible.
As a screenwriter you can no longer wait until the 15 minute mark to introduce the initiating action. Your screenplay might even be considered to have a slow opening if you leave it until the 10 minute mark. This is especially true given that in many contemporary movies the first turning point tends to take place around the 20 minute mark and the end of the first act around the 25 minute mark. This cascades down through the movie with the traditional three/four act structure evolving into a five or six act structure. The effect is that there are more crisis and more turning points so that there are few ‘dead zones’ and the audience is constantly on the edge of their seat.
The reason for this increased tension is pretty obvious. Movies are rarely watched in cinemas anymore. Most movies are now consumed in the home. While that has been the case for twenty years or more there is no longer a guarantee that the audience will dedicate their entire attention to a movie. We now consume our video products while searching the web; chatting with our friends, via Facebook, Twitter or other IMs; watching online video, listening to music and reading a book. There is now so much more competition and movie-makers have been forced to adapt.
So, what does this mean for the screenwriter?
Never include a credit sequence in your screenplay. I still see these in the screenplays of novice writers even though they have always been the province of the director and producer and not the writer.
No exposition in the first 15pages. Exposition removes tension, whether it is done through dialogue, flashback or voice-over.
Keep your scenes short: 1-2 pages maximum.
Every scene must multi-task: they must drive the narrative forward and develop the characters at the same time.
Your scenes can’t be static. Two people talking in a room or around a table is static. It’s dead air. It screams look at me I have something important to tell you, and not I have something entertaining to show you. Movies are about movement.
I doubt we’ve seen the end of the entertaining opening credit sequence. These trends are constantly evolving. However, the days of credits over slow, laborious exposition or scene setting shots are thankfully over. That can only be a good thing. What do you think?
Today was the first day of production for our short comedic film based on Chekhov’s The Bear. Written and directed by David Meadows. Produced by Antonio Barimen. Starring Adam T. Perkins, Summer Williams and Kym Bidstrup.
This is an absolutely awesome innovation for machinimators. Those that know me know how much I talk-up machinima and its potential. Usually I’m met with scepticism because so far there’s not a lot of hard-core evidence for my claims. However, I firmly believe that this is the future of film-making. We’re only now just seeing the nascent tools emerging that 10-20years from now will allow this art form to completely dominate the world of movie making. Source Filmmaker and the Cinema version of CryEngine are only the beginning.