Thursday, July 8, 2010

Video Talk: Michael Arndt

Excellent video - Q & A with one of the bright screenwriters - Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine & Toy Story 3)

Won Oscar for LMS and he should be on the shortlist for nomination for TS-3

Writes a draft for LMS in three days (story / characters in head for a long time)

Rewrites for a year

No one is interested in the script...for five years

The intelligence / foresight of Pixar - they pick him up for Toy Story 3 before the film (Little Miss Sunshine) was made. They read LMS and go for the guy right on. It's amazing when you think about it - a studio that has brilliant writers, they pick-up an amateur. When you see / hear Arndt, you know...he isn't a schmuck.

Taught myself screenwriting for 10 yrs

Easier to have your script read than write

Top writers have more unproduced scripts than produced

Never send a rough script; the best / complete it can be

Best case scenario: 90% failure rate - realistic way to look

Love your characters; No. 1 commitment for screenwriter

Do it for the pleasure of it

The Video

[1.04 mins]

You can jump at chapters (below the video)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Viewed: Toy Story 3 (3-D)

Solid flick. Enjoyable and moving too.

As usual...super writing. And then - Pixar process at work. Try seeing it...

I haven't seen many flicks this year...been a coward like before...but this one's the best of the year.

Interesting / 'correct' things it does with respect to important aspects of story-telling (this is in the technical realm):

- Is there a clear 'want'?

- Is there an inner 'need' for the protagonist?

- Do we care for characters?

- Are there themes flowing across?

- Is the ending satisfying / fulfilling. Does it affect you emotionally?

- Is the opposition / conflict built in with clarity and in multiple dimensions - inner and outer?

- Importantly: does it make it easy for the protagonist/team to overcome obstacles?

--- the complications are rising

--- check out: how they never ever make it easy; if you stop to think of a solution, you discover that these buggers push them till the end.

[Personally, that's pretty tough to do; a bane of indian films - resolve things comfortably. But check this one out. Note 'Woody's' escape from the day-care center in the beginning; they can make him walk out any time and it wouldn't be much of an issue, but how they play around with that! wont get it unless you see it.]

As i always feel about such works, it's a pity that people don't go for such flicks. Maybe prejudice, maybe lack of promotion / hype, but...such films take you on a journey and that is very satisfying; you don't know how the time goes by since you are so engrossed by the progression of the story.

This IS tough. Not a joke. Not a kid's place. No cuteness saves a story.

As Pixar believes: takes 10 man years to do a story. Interestingly, they never ever go for a sequel unless they are sold on by a story, which I believe refers to - solid theme at play.

I wasn't too sold over by the 3-D bit; this would have worked as great, perhaps better, as 2-D; at least for me wearing those glasses for two hours can be an effort.

If you can take out time, though it would be out of plexes pretty soon, check it out; you may end up having a nice time. Even come out wondering - boy...where are my toys?

Rating ***1/2

[Max Rating ****]

[Viewed at Fun Cinemas, Bangalore with Bhumika, 6.30 pm show. Great to see kids around who enjoy such stuff.]