Thursday, 7 January 2016

Don't miss this in films!

Everybody, no matter how old or how young, watches movies.

However, since my interest in screenwriting has sky-rocketed, I have noticed that there is so much to see in a film that usually is missed or simply has not attention paid to it.

So I thought that it would be useful to maybe highlight one point that I think is grossly missed when watching films. Maybe it is because I consider myself a writer that I am biased to this point but trust me, it is worth noting.


Pretty obvious isn't it?

I'm sure many of you, or few of you, who are reading this are thinking, 'I'm not deaf, I do listen to the dialogue.'

Granted, that is a fair point but ever since I have started writing screenplays I have noticed that there is such a incredible art to good on-screen dialogue.

Listen to what the characters exactly say. Consider why they say it and what purpose it has when they say it. Do that and a new world opens up.

Take Quentin Tarantino's film 'Pulp Fiction' for example.

If you haven't seen it then you are part of a small and rather unfortunate group to which have not had the pleasure of watching one of the greatest films of all time.

It is filled with some of the most brilliant conversations you'll ever hear and so much of it gives so much story to the characters in such small sentences.

Here's an example and one of the most quoted scenes from the film. The famous 'Royale with cheese' scene.

Get it?

It isn't filled with large, victorian sounding, sophisticated words.
The conversation isn't even about anything particularly important, unless you are a McDonald's fan who is en route to Paris.

It is simple, witty and a writing masterclass.

So much of their relationship is revealed in this early scene and you quickly get that these two are comfortable with each other, even though they deal with very serious people. It doesn't tell you that they are good friends, it shows it. Anyone who has ever come close to a creative writing class will understand that the most important rule in writing is showing, not telling.

It could so easily be missed by looking at your phone or wondering where all the popcorn has gone as your belly begins to protrude.

Don't miss these little gems. No amount of popcorn is worth that, surely?

Another film that is filled with exquisite dialogue, and perhaps my favourite ever film, is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. If you haven't seen it, watch it and divulge in the brilliant relationship of the two protagonists. It is old and I know that puts a lot of people off but christ! There's a reason people say, 'they don't make'em like they used to'.

When watching a film listen to every little detail and critique it. You can tell a lot about a film not by the explosive special effects or the amount of money spent on it but by what they simply say and the way they say it (but that is usually the work of the actor and not the writer). No good writer puts something down unless it is absolutely necessary.

Are you a victim of this crime? If so then redeem yourself by watching a 'good' film, not a film about superheroes or some shitty action movie, and focus on what's being said. Trust me, it'll be worth it.

*A brief list of good films to watch:

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid- 1969
Pulp Fiction- 1994
Strangers on a Train- 1951
Chinatown- 1974
It's a Wonderful Life 1946
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 1975
Shawshank Redemption- 1994

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