Saturday, 13 May 2017

Air fresheners in movies

I was waiting at a bus stop recently when I noticed a car with a Christmas Tree air freshener hanging from the rear-view mirror, which put me in mind of Repo Man (1984) and the whole business of the Little Trees homage shots that subsequently made their way into movies and TV.

Repo Man features pine tree-shaped air fresheners in almost every vehicle in the movie, including the police motorcycle. People will tell you that the manufacturer, Little Trees, funded the movie, but that's not true. No money changed hands, but a number of air fresheners did. It is part of the legend that every Little Tree used in the movie was scent-free, because no one could handle the smell of them.

Repo Man is a cult movie, little known in the mainstream, but beloved by aficionados, who include many young Hollywood directors. I don't know exactly when the trend started, but it became a thing to include a Christmas Tree air freshener somewhere in your movie. Here are some examples.

Repo Man (1984). The first car recovered by Emilio Estevez has a blue one.

In Repo Man (1984), even the police motorcycle has one.

Cadillac Man (1990). Robin William's wife has a red one.

Robin Williams wears a green one in The Fisher King (1991).

Charles Durning has two in his car in Home for the Holidays (1995).

Full screen in Ocean's Eleven (2001). Is this big enough?
In The Wire (2002), Season 1, Episode 2, Rawls tosses the wrong office. Landsman points out that this is McNulty's office. Notice the green leaf, bottom right.
As befits a Shopgirl (2005), Claire Danes has a pink one.
In 10 Items or Less (2006), Morgan Freeman checks all the options...
... before choosing a green Christmas Tree for Paz Vega's car.
In The Unit (2007), the CIA use a green one as a signalling device.

Ellen Page has the red Autumn Leaf version in Juno (2007).
Amy Poehler has a red Christmas Tree in Baby Mama (2008).
And in Despicable Me (2010), Gru opts for a generic green one.

First posted: 18 January 2013

Friday, 12 May 2017

Sunday, 7 May 2017

100 Greatest "Music Scenes" in Movies

Mew Lists has come up with their version of the 100 Greatest "Music Scenes" in Movies. I know you'll disagree with some of them. I would have liked to see the following included: Ray Charles singing "Mess Around" in Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987), the "Stayin Alive" segment from Foul Play (1978), the karaoke scene from Paperback Hero (1999), the title song from Shaft (1971), the title song from Live and Let Die (1973), "Let the River Run" from Working Girl (1988), "Why Don't You Do Right" from Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), "Sooner or Later" from Dick Tracy (1990), "Cruisin'" from Duets (2000), the title track from Mo' Better Blues (1990), the karaoke scene from The Actors (2003), Wolfman Jack playing "Green Onions" in American Graffiti (1973), "Things Have Changed" from Wonder Boys, and "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" from At The Circus (1939).

What about you?

In case you were curious...

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Chili Palmer Talks Screenwriting

Can you believe it? Get Shorty is now twenty-two years old. Where did that time go?

Friday, 5 May 2017

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Linda Aronson: Two-Day Writing Masterclass - Sydney

If you are a writer in film TV or games (or want to be) and the only story model you know is one hero-on-a-chronological-journey you are at a serious professional disadvantage. The reality is that games, films and TV forms are now full of multiple protagonist stories. But in addition you need to master over a dozen nonlinear and fractured forms, including nine types of flashback, multi-plot and fractured tandem narrative, because these forms are now mainstream.

They are routinely nominated in the Academy and Golden Globe Awards and the Emmys and they're on TV every night. Audiences expect them. They are everywhere and, crucially, they are hybridising.

Like today’s leading writers in Europe and the USA, these forms need to become part of your stock in trade. Linda Aronson is the world expert in these complex structures. She is the only guru to provide practical guidelines for creating them. New Structures for New Audiences explains them.


Day 1: (29 July 2017): 

Mentor antagonist stories, tandem narrative, multiple protagonist narrative, double journeys, simple flashback.

Day 2: (30 July 2017) :

Complex flashback forms, consecutive stories (including Pulp Fiction), fractured tandem, nonlinear fixes for film. Nonlinear in games and to promote binge viewing in new generation serial TV serials.
The 'what' and the 'how to create' of six families of nonlinear and multiplot narrative and their subcategories (over 30 story structures) that don't fit the Hollywood model, including 9 types of flashback structure.
How each form relies on splitting up, multiplying or truncating the basic three act structure of traditional screenwriting according to predictable patterns that you can use as templates.
How to use multiple protagonists, mentor antagonists, the passive protagonist and how the same character can be a protagonist in one time frame and antagonist in another; ‘the death of the second act’, that is, structures that truncate or do away with the second act altogether; also, stories that are exposition-heavy and cannot be told suspensefully except via non-linear.
How to use cross-connecting devices, including the 'macro plot' and 'the facilitating character'. 

How to use the 'portmanteau structure' a structural technique which permits a number of stories to piggyback on the structural build of one story (as in Pulp Fiction, Amores Perros, etc.)
Using a portmanteau to create your own Pulp Fiction-style structure.
Using nonlinear fixes for problem feature films.
How to use nonlinear series arcs to trigger binge viewing in new generation TV drama serials.
How nonlinear forms in games can increase emotional engagement and replayability. 


What the experts say.

'Linda Aronson is one of the great and important voices on screenwriting.’
~Linda Seger

'At last you will understand Pulp Fiction! All the vague confusing things that teachers and studio executives say about flashback, turning points and multiple protagonists are whipped into coherent shape, in a comprehensive, precise and extremely practical theory.' ~Christopher Vogler, The Writers' Journey

'Anyone who has heard Linda Aronson speak about screenwriting knows that the insight that she can offer YOU, about YOUR screenplay, is extraordinary. I have personally heard all of the so-called ‘script gurus’ speak, and I can tell you, if you want advanced professional script insight, Linda is the person for you.'
~Chris Jones, Academy-Award Nominated Screenwriter, organizer London Screenwriters' Festival

‘Linda Aronson is one of my heroes. My inspiration. Screenwriting Updated blew me away - Linda Aronson was the first person, maybe still the only person to really talk about the fact that structure doesn’t always have to be about one form.’ ~Pilar Alessandra. Leading Hollywood Scriptwriting Teacher.

‘F- ing brilliant’ ~Duncan Thompson, writer/script editor/screenwriting teacher.

'Narrative structure goddess' Linda Aronson ~Lucy Hay, top UK script editor.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Linda Aronson

Linda Aronson is one of the best screenwriting "gurus" out there. Here she discusses advanced screenwriting techniques such as non-linear stories, flashbacks and stories with multiple protagonists.