“LADIES, GENTLEMEN, THE FILM YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE TODAY IS AN HOMAGE TO THE “NO REASON”-THAT MOST POWERFUL ELEMENT OF STYLE”: The Best WTF Films of the New Millennium


First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
 
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donnie darkoBefore I begin, I suppose I should answer the basic question: Just what the fuck is a What the Fuck (heretofore WTF) film?
Well, basically, the easiest definition is the onomatopoetic one: it’s a movie that makes you go “WTF, dude, WTF”.
I’m not sure that really helps, because that description’s kind of vague and subjective and ambiguous and imprecise and all the other points of film criticism law. And that’s because WTF films are a bit hard to define. They come in many shapes and sizes, many styles and aesthetic forms, many colors and tints (for some they are white and gold, for others black and blue).
But generally they can be recognized by their anarchic plumage; their refusal to care about rules and regulations; by their determination to march to their own kind of drummer; make their own kind of music; and sing their own kind of song, because, well, that’s just what they gotta do.
Not everyone will agree which films are WTF and which ones aren’t. One man’s, “Oh, my god, just what was that I just saw” is another man’s, “Well, it was okay I guess”, is another man’s, “That was the worst piece of shit I’ve seen in my life”.
But everyone agrees they’re like art: we don’t know how to define it, we just know it when we see it. Continue reading

ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL: Variations on structural engineering when it comes to screenplays PART ONE


First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r

 

holy-motors_2352787bPART ONE
I have been reading for screenplay competitions for more than ten years now. But over the past few years, I’ve been coming across a somewhat familiar familiarity and formulaic formality to more and more of said screenplays when it comes to how a story is written.
I’m not sure why. When I first started out reading, and for quite a few years after that, I would encounter some of the most amazing screenplays, screenplays that took chances, strived to be original, had a personal vision, and experimented, with glorious success, when it came to storytelling.
Much of this quite possibly was due to the rise of indie film in the 1990’s by people like Steven Soderbergh, Kevin Smith, the Coen Brothers and Quentin Tarantino. The cinema they created brought a breath of fresh air to the somewhat stale movie going experience that many felt was being produced at the time.
I’m not sure why things have changed since them. Or at least, there’s probably not any one reason for it. But at the same time, in talking to screenwriters and producers and agents and reading what they have to say on social media, I feel that a much bigger deal has been made over the past few years as to how a screenplay has to be structured and a story has to be told. Continue reading

OF MICE AND FRENCHMEN: ERNEST & CELESTINE and MAUVAIS SANG


ernest-and-celestine-2012-snoutypig-004In Ernest & Celestine, the Oscar nominated animated film from France, anthropomorphized bears dwell above ground, live like humans (one owns a candy store), and claim that mice fairies will come by in the night and leave money whenever a cub loses a tooth.
Meanwhile, anthropomorphized mice dwell in the sewers and steal bear teeth to use as dentures. Continue reading