The secret ingredient that made "Breaking Bad" as addictive as meth



I’ve been having a lot of conversations lately about Breaking Bad, and also a lot of conversations about story structure, and it reminds me that when I wrote my “How to Structure an Episode of One Hour Drama” blog post last fall, I promised I’d write a follow-up post about story…

2 weeks ago 126 via
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this article stolen from here.

Joss Whedon is most famous for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer, its spin-off Angel and the short-lived but much-loved Firefly series. But the writer and director has also worked unseen as a script doctor on movies ranging from Speed to Toy Story. Here, he shares his tips on the art of screenwriting.


Actually finishing it is what I’m gonna put in as step one. You may laugh at this, but it’s true. I have so many friends who have written two-thirds of a screenplay, and then re-written it for about three years. Finishing a screenplay is first of all truly difficult, and secondly really liberating. Even if it’s not perfect, even if you know you’re gonna have to go back into it, type to the end. You have to have a little closure.


Structure means knowing where you’re going; making sure you don’t meander about. Some great films have been made by meandering people, like Terrence Malick and Robert Altman, but it’s not as well done today and I don’t recommend it. I’m a structure nut. I actually make charts. Where are the jokes? The thrills? The romance? Who knows what, and when? You need these things to happen at the right times, and that’s what you build your structure around: the way you want your audience to feel. Charts, graphs, coloured pens, anything that means you don’t go in blind is useful.


This really should be number one. Even if you’re writing a Die Hard rip-off, have something to say about Die Hard rip-offs. The number of movies that are not about what they purport to be about is staggering. It’s rare, especially in genres, to find a movie with an idea and not just, ‘This’ll lead to many fine set-pieces’. The Island evolves into a car-chase movie, and the moments of joy are when they have clone moments and you say, ‘What does it feel like to be those guys?’


Everybody has a perspective. Everybody in your scene, including the thug flanking your bad guy, has a reason. They have their own voice, their own identity, their own history. If anyone speaks in such a way that they’re just setting up the next person’s lines, then you don’t get dialogue: you get soundbites. Not everybody has to be funny; not everybody has to be cute; not everybody has to be delightful, and not everybody has to speak, but if you don’t know who everybody is and why they’re there, why they’re feeling what they’re feeling and why they’re doing what they’re doing, then you’re in trouble.


Here’s one trick that I learned early on. If something isn’t working, if you have a story that you’ve built and it’s blocked and you can’t figure it out, take your favourite scene, or your very best idea or set-piece, and cut it. It’s brutal, but sometimes inevitable. That thing may find its way back in, but cutting it is usually an enormously freeing exercise.


When I’ve been hired as a script doctor, it’s usually because someone else can’t get it through to the next level. It’s true that writers are replaced when executives don’t know what else to do, and that’s terrible, but the fact of the matter is that for most of the screenplays I’ve worked on, I’ve been needed, whether or not I’ve been allowed to do anything good. Often someone’s just got locked, they’ve ossified, they’re so stuck in their heads that they can’t see the people around them. It’s very important to know when to stick to your guns, but it’s also very important to listen to absolutely everybody. The stupidest person in the room might have the best idea.


You have one goal: to connect with your audience. Therefore, you must track what your audience is feeling at all times. One of the biggest problems I face when watching other people’s movies is I’ll say, ‘This part confuses me’, or whatever, and they’ll say, ‘What I’m intending to say is this’, and they’ll go on about their intentions. None of this has anything to do with my experience as an audience member. Think in terms of what audiences think. They go to the theatre, and they either notice that their butts are numb, or they don’t. If you’re doing your job right, they don’t. People think of studio test screenings as terrible, and that’s because a lot of studios are pretty stupid about it. They panic and re-shoot, or they go, ‘Gee, Brazil can’t have an unhappy ending,’ and that’s the horror story. But it can make a lot of sense.


Write the movie as much as you can. If something is lush and extensive, you can describe it glowingly; if something isn’t that important, just get past it tersely. Let the read feel like the movie; it does a lot of the work for you, for the director, and for the executives who go, ‘What will this be like when we put it on its feet?’


Having given the advice about listening, I have to give the opposite advice, because ultimately the best work comes when somebody’s fucked the system; done the unexpected and let their own personal voice into the machine that is moviemaking. Choose your battles. You wouldn’t get Paul Thomas Anderson, or Wes Anderson, or any of these guys if all moviemaking was completely cookie-cutter. But the process drives you in that direction; it’s a homogenising process, and you have to fight that a bit. There was a point while we were making Firefly when I asked the network not to pick it up: they’d started talking about a different show.


The first penny I ever earned, I saved. Then I made sure that I never had to take a job just because I needed to. I still needed jobs of course, but I was able to take ones that I loved. When I say that includes Waterworld, people scratch their heads, but it’s a wonderful idea for a movie. Anything can be good. Even Last Action Hero could’ve been good. There’s an idea somewhere in almost any movie: if you can find something that you love, then you can do it. If you can’t, it doesn’t matter how skilful you are: that’s called whoring.

2 weeks ago 187 via
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2 months ago 4335 viasource
# movie stuff  # story ideas  # les mis  # les miserables 



this literally gave me chills.

I’ve never hit the reblog button so fast in my life.

2 months ago 408904 viasource
# DIsney  # storytelling  # they don't rock everything  # but when they get it right  # they get it right.  # beautiful films  # screenwriting  # movie stuff 


Crime Scene Science: The Modern Methods for Solving Crimes

(via themostgirlishotakuever)

2 months ago 56745 viasource
# writing reference  # screenwriting  # writing  # crime  # mystery  # thriller  # blood  # bodies  # gore  # career 

Escape from Tomorrow is a 2013 American fantasy-psychological horror film, the debut of writer-director Randy Moore. Its about man having increasingly disturbing experiences and visions during the last day of a family vacation at the Walt Disney World Resort.

It drew attention because Moore had shot most of it on location at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland without permission from The Walt Disney Company, owner and operator of both parks. Due to Disney’s reputation of being protective of its intellectual property, the cast and crew used guerrilla filmmaking techniques to avoid attracting attention, such as keeping their scripts on their iPhones and shooting on handheld video cameras similar to those used by park visitors. After principal photography was complete, Moore was so determined to keep the project a secret from Disney that he edited it in South Korea. Sundance similarly declined to discuss the film in detail before it was shown. It was called “the ultimate guerrilla film”. (x)

2 months ago 4006 viasource
# this looks trippy as shit  # and i love sneaky film makers  # i wanna see this  # film  # movie  # guerrilla film  # guerrila filmmaking  # horror  # horror film  # movie stuff  # horror movie  # disneyland  # disneyworld 

visually stunning films: Dredd (2012)

2 months ago 412 viasource
# Judge dredd  # it really is cinematically beautiful  # great color denisty  # great dark and gritty scenes  # absolutely beautiful  # film  # movie  # cinematography  # visually stunning  # lena headey  # karl urban 

SNAPSHOT: A beautifully acted film that suffers from so-so writing. 

Spoilers below the cut. 

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2 months ago 1
# her  # her film  # joaquin pheonix  # Scarlett Johansson  # scarjo  # pink  # romance  # love  # operating system  # andriod  # aritifical intelligence  # decent but not great  # screenwriting  # film review  # film reviews  # movie  # movie reviews  # acting 

The Tyrells were only stewards that the dragon-kings had upjumped far above their station. Their vanity was exceeded only by their ambition.

2 months ago 8112 viasource
# an interesting family  # margery tyrell  # is the boss queen bitch  # loras tyrell  # house tyrell  # tv show  # film  # movie stuff  # also well done graphic  # font could be a little larger  # not bad 
Book remake Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 
2 months ago 15776 viasource
# harry potter  # movie stuff  # really cool design  # geometric and colorful  # almost looks like a yearbook  # this is really epic  # voldemory  # goblet of fire  # yule ball  # triwizard tournament