Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Stark Space of Chaos ~ Insights from the Dark Knight Script

joker behind bars

Recently I've been reading stuff suggested by a Stephanie Palmer in her Screenwriter Starter Kit. Among the blogs, articles, and podcasts she suggested she provided many different links to scripts that are available for viewing online, and I was flipping excited when I saw one of my favorites, The Dark Knight, as one of the firsts. She suggested doing them one at a time (which I totally agreed with) and it was a quick toss up between DK and Christopher Nolan's other incredible work, Inception. (Some of have called it his brain child). But DK happens to be a bigger love of mine, so...Inception will come second.

  Palmer suggested taking notice of the beat of the sequences, the major change in a given scene, see how it plays out into the scheme. It's also giving me a look at the structure of putting it down on paper, how the idea of the scene plays out in type on the page. One of the most interesting things is seeing little things that are different in the script than in the movie--seeing how they changed it when it came to filming.

  One thing really arrested my attention. In the scene when Joker unveils himself, and the bank manager is on the floor, Joker sticks the grenade in his mouth. When Joker moves away in the truck the attached string pulls out of the grenade, and we get a shot of the bank manager looking at the plume of smoke going up in the air. But in the script, he's surrounded by customers that scurry away from him when they see this. (In the movie they're far away in the background, the manager has a solitary presence).

  I immediately had a reaction of dislike to this version--and then tried to figure out why. Quickly realized the reason. It completely changed the interpretation of the scene, which was one that played into the theme of the story arc. The stark, mysterious and ominous landscape, that image of a city both dark with light in the distance, the singularity of an intimate psychological game on ground zero of your mind. An image of you, alone, forced to look at your own image, and discover what it is.

  This scene, if done as it is on the page, takes away the solitary experience. The truth that Joker even speaks of, when he points out that people freak out if "one random person is going to die", but don't if the papers say a truckload of soldiers will be blown up. It makes it personal, intensely personal, when the scene is done as it is on the screen. Private, at least in the frame of the screen. One on one, just you and the embodiment of chaos having a keen look.

  It amazed me, this proof and my own personal experience of it of how one scene plays into the whole. Definitely has been an intriguing lesson.....

  I'll be sharing more as I keep up my study in screenwriting.


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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Inheritance of the Force ~ The New Saga

luke skywalker the force awakens

   Anyone who knows me knows that I am freakin' excited about the upcoming Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. When I first heard about the Star Wars franchise being sold to Disney, it felt...WRONG. And technically I still don't like the idea, I liked Star Wars being its own thing, Lucas the Star Wars god. (Regardless of some fans' opinions). But the idea of upcoming movies being added to the franchise--man, I was excited. And then I was freaking out. What if they ruin it? What if they just load it with a bunch of CGI like the prequels? While I like the prequels, they don't have the beauty of the originals. The Original Trilogy will always be my favorite.

  My worries however started waning when I heard that J.J.Abrams was going to be doing the movies, and that he wanted to go back to the old ways of doing things, going back to the sets, and only using CGI as it was intended. When necessary. I was like, "Oh, finally! Someone after my own heart! Thank God. And I mean that." And then I got to see the leaked photos, go to see the bit of behind the scenes shots, and interviews will J.J, and it just gave my heart relief. It looked awesome. And then...the teaser trailer was awesome. And then...the official trailer just blew me away. That initial backdrop of the speeder racing across the desert with the Destroyer in the distance--it just made my heart stop.

  I am just over the moon with expectation. Not only do I have great confidence (only a little bit of dubiousness left--natural fear. This is, after all, continuing a huge canon of fan-loved material) but I'm eager to see what new things the cast and crew will bring to the saga now. A story should always be organic, while being true to itself.

  But I got to tell you, the best part was "Chewie, we're home." Han Solo and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon. Ah! Beautiful. I was so overwhelmed I did a weird laugh/squeal, and I said to my dad, "I'm sorry, I'm just so excited!" And he responded, "Ha, I can tell." But then, it's not uncommon that I get those queer looks from people. I'm just passionate, that's all.

  I cannot wait until Christmas. I wonder if I should dress up as Han Solo.

  What are your thoughts? Are you confident that The Force Awakens will live up to its inheritance? You have to admit though--Luke Skywalker looks freakin' good with a beard.


P.S.  As an after note, I thought about titling this "Something Forceful This Way Comes" but then I thought, "Girl, that's just too cheesy. Just stop."