Friday, 12 February 2016

Ooh Child

Here's a cute short film from Matt and Oz in L.A.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

22 Story Lessons... from Pixar

Emma Coats is an animator who works for Pixar. Although she is a relatively low-level employee, she listens when the serious story-people talk. And when she hears something good, she writes it down. 

Early last year, she tweeted a series of “story basics”—guidelines she learned from her more senior colleagueson how to create appealing stories. In May 2011, the Pixar blog (The Pixar Touch) published a story about Emma's lessons

Some of the Pixar crew, hard at work
For those who missed them first time around, here are Emma's twenty-two Lessons.  
(Note:  I was interested to see Brian McDonald's story outline method included on the list.)
  • You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
  • You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.
  • Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
  • Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
  • Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
  • What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
  • Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
  • Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
  • When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
  • Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
  • Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
  • Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
  • Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
  • Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
  • If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
  • What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
  • No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on—it’ll come back around to be useful later.
  • You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
  • Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
  • Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
  • You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?
  • What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

To finish, here's The Beauty of Pixar.

First posted:  15 June 2012

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

How to Structure a Video Essay

Another offering from Tony Zhou, this time a layered explanation of how to structure a video esay, with help from Orson Welles and others.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Pixar’s Tribute to Cinema

Jorge Luengo Ruiz shows that the super-successful Pixar studio draws on cinema for some of its ideas. Interesting video, one you'll need to watch a few times to keep up.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

SuperBowl 2016 - Commercials

The Super Bowl. Yeah, it's really all about the commercials. Here's a few to sample.

Then the universal principle of unintended side effects kicks in...

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Illusionist - Martin Scorsese - A Personal Journey Through American Movies

This is Part 7 of Martin Scorsese's Personal Journey Through American Movies.

Movie clips included in this video are as follows:
The Cameraman (1928) - Buster Keaton
The Birth of a Nation (1915) - D.W. Griffith
Death's Marathon (1913) - D.W. Griffith
Cabiria (1914) - Giovanni Pastrone
Intolerance (1916) - D.W. Griffith
The Ten Commandments (1923) - Cecil B. DeMille
Samson and Delilah (1949) - Cecil B. DeMille
The Ten Commandments (1956) - Cecil B. DeMille
Sunrise (1927) - F.W. Murnau
Seventh Heaven (1927) - Frank Borzage
Anna Christie (1930) - Clarence Brown
Her Man (1930) - Tony Garnett
The Big House (1930) - George Hill
Scarface (1932) - Howard Hawks
The Public Enemy (1931) - William Wellman
Leave Her to Heaven (1945) - John Stahl

Movie clips included in this video are as follows:
Johnny Guitar (1954) - Nicholas Ray
The Robe (1953) - Henry Koster - First movie in Widescreen
East of Eden (1955) - Elia Kazan
Some Came Running (1958) - Vincente Minnelli
Land of the Pharaohs (1955) - Howard Hawks
The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) - Anthony Mann
Young Indian Jones Chronicles (1993) - George Lucas, Producer
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Stanley Kubric - Birth of Special Effects
Cat People (1942) - Jacques Tourneur