Who? What? Why? When?

Active Questions-  Creswick (2016) Director and Writer Natalie Erika James; Writer – Christian White – Available online at <https://vimeo.com/157958148> Accessed on 1 st May 2018

Creswick is the story of a young woman helping pack up her father’s home, while both have the strange feeling they are not alone. The active questions come soon;

Whose was the art book? Possibly her dad’s

Why is the woman so jumpy? Something has happened/is happening that is making her anxious -moving of items, etc

Who do they think is living in their house? They don’t know.

What happened in the woods? Again, we don’t know.

What will she discover? This questions possibly ties in with the last one.

And finally, what is the black body over her dad’s shoulder? Is this something only she can see, her father certainly can’t ‘feel’ its weight. The body looks charcoaled.  Is it representing something in either of their past or the weight of dementia, or is it plain and simply an unknown being. Lots of questions left unanswered which make for great conversations.

Sneaky Speak.

Sneaky Pete (2015) Directed Seth Gordon; Written by David Shore and Brian Cranston.

This is crime drama that Amazon keeps adding to my time line, so I thought would give in to peer pressure and watch it.

Pete and Marius are in prison, Marius a ‘confidence’ man is getting parole, while Pete won’t be sleeping in his own bed for some-time, the consequences of holding up a gun range.  From the opening voice over, we immediately know who the ‘real Pete’ is. He is sentimental for outdoors of his youth, loves his family and knew where he belonged. Marius’s tone and his request to Pete to shut up, that his was probably the polar opposite. By the time he is leaving Marius is ready to switch persona, to Pete.

The dialogue throughout this pilot episode is fast paced, yet wordy, it depicts cultural characteristic’s, in concise punchy lines.  But it’s the ease of the switch, the ability to summarise his potential ‘con’ where Pete I at his strongest. Pretending to be Pete, engaging with his long-lost family, Marius uses careful pauses and listening to understand where a conversation is going and how to respond.  The responses ‘Pete’ receives prove he is believed. His con is working.

 

Words can Kill – The use of Dialogue

For this review, time was of an essence, so I watched a short ( and for those who are not aware sign up to http://www.shortoftheweek.com for some amazing short films.

https://www.shortoftheweek.com/2018/04/18/writers-workshop/

Writer’s Workshop (2018) is an 11 minute dark comedy written and directed by Ryan Frances Johnson about Jeremy an aspiring writer attending a writers class.  Having attending many of these, I can relate. Though I have been writing into the decades now, it was only recently at a writer’s workshop was my first piece made ‘public’. Awaiting the response is nail biting it’s your baby, a part of you, that you are putting put there. And it doesn’t matter who comments if they are negative it hurts, and yes despite all the advice you will take it personally and believe you have failed at life! Fact!

At the end of the day write how you want to if it’s for your benefit, writing can be therapeutic, and if you are aiming for loft ‘Rowling’ heights, be aware of what you are writing, take a class of two learn structure, character development, story arc, etc learn to give and take criticism.

FAIL. FAIL AGAIN. FAIL MORE.

Don’t get comfy be knocked back, but use it to learn from and develop, re-read your work whether it’s an aspiring novel or script and ask if the feedback was deserved.

Be critical of your own work,  make a template tick box for what your writing project should contain and tick it off when each part has been achieved.

The best advice given to me, was read it aloud, just to yourself, and if you can record it. Listen. Does it flow?

Have faith, you will get there.

So getting on to my 200 word max review of dialogue (the morning coffee has kicked in); * Spoiler Alert*

Writer’s workshop (2018) is heavily dialogued. Jeremy himself doesn’t have too much to say after reading his words, but just to sit back, grin and bear it.

The realism throughout the dialogue is obviously helped with the actor’s playing it straight.   The opening after Jeremy’s reading is an actual question that will need actual responses from, that are more than one liners. The extended dialogue has been set up with this.

Add drama and dark humour with in each line, and the characters personality is already being developed, Although we get told not to repeat information, it is repeated here and often. It builds a dramatic momentum until Clark is smothered at his own request.

Clarity and context is evident, we know that each critic means it metaphorically (or do they?), and as writer’s we relate, each character has expressed, as requested their viewpoint, the initial question has been answered.

Jeremey nodding and smiling understands when they welcome Clark and his poetry, that it wasn’t personal and that they will all repeat their constructive criticism again.

Sometimes dialogue is just that words, but here they have been used perfectly in keeping with what I remember from writer’s workshops.

 

 

Keep writing! M.

 

“One Batch Two Batch…”

Daredevil Season 2 Episode 4 Penny and Dime  –

Dir: Peter Hoar; Written By: John C. Kelly

We watch film and TV to escape, to forget and also to grow.  Through these characters we according to Cohen (2013:183), expand are own ’emotional and mental lives’ beyond that of personal experience.  We identify with both the characters and their situation, we empathise with them and understand their goals, we make a connection, become invested in their outcome and are interest is caught.

Netflix’s, Marvel’s Daredevil second antagonist, Frank Castle, is a war veteran, a US marine corps sniper, he has taken out entire gangs. We know he is dangerous.

Karen, a reporter is at Castle’s home. A regular family home with photos of his wife and kids in various stages of growing up, of castle in fatigues, a medal of Honour proudly displayed,  a book is in his daughters room, the words emblazoned on the pages, the words Castle says before he pulls the trigger “One Batch Two Batch”, his daughters favourite book.  We recognise the kids trainers on the stairs, the box of kid’s toys, we too have family photo’s on the mantlepiece.

Rescued by Daredevil, Castle tells of the murder of his family by a gang in a park. We empathise with him, this could have been any family, this has never happened to you, but your gut wrenches too, we cry.  We understand his needs and goals, we want revenge too.

The story feels real, you have felt raw emotion, mirrored the feelings on screen. He maybe on a rampage, but he has damn good reason. He maybe seen as the antagonist to the vigilante Daredevil but he isn’t evil, he isn’t your typical bad guy. And because of this you have a strong connection for him to get his revenge, to see his goal through to the end, you want it to be alright for him. You have connected, you are invested as much as Castle. You have identified with the character and his situation.

As Cohen (2013:186) points out this is an active psychological state, just one of the many ways we respond to film and TV.

 

 Cohen J. (2013). Chapter 11. Audience Identification with media characters in  Jennings, Bryant and Vorderer, Peter.(eds)  Psychology of Entertainment. London. Routledge

 

Redefining that Sinking Feeling

Image result for get out

 

Get Out.   Dir. Jordan Peel (2017)

Multiple award-winning film, Get Out is marketed as a horror. Immediately I felt like I knew this film. It had the ring of a 70’s B movie, you knew what was coming, the tone was set.

A black man walking a quiet suburban street in the dark of night, distracted on his phone, looking lost. A classic white sports car kerb creeps alongside him, forcing the man to change directions, the car radio is blasting out ‘run rabbit run’. A signal the game is on.

From there it changed and got confusing, it was light-hearted, romantic, a banter existed with his buddy. This section of the film felt like you should be hearing canned laughter and a sign reading ‘filmed in front of a live audience’. Then you twig, this is a satirical take on the expected horror genre, from then on everything that happens falls firmly into this routine of satire.

From the start I had high expectations of this film, that was collecting awards like Rose Armitage had been collecting black boyfriends. Until you realise the true tone throughout, then you will be the one having that sinking feeling of wasting your time. When the light-bulb moment arrives sit back, ‘Get Out’ of your expectations and enjoy!

Sunrise: Raising the Film Game.

 

World Films 2015

Sunrise: A song of Two Humans.  1927. Dir: F. W. Murnau

Ironically there is something to be said for silent movies, how the lack of dialogue seems to be a great conduit for increased expression, emotion and communication. The adage of actions speak louder is none truer than in this film, the first to be released using synchronised sound-on- film, only days before the first Talkie ‘The Jazz Singer’.

The title of first of the first ever music video ever made usually goes to XTC’s ‘Making Plans for Nigel’ released in 1979, but Sunrise opening credits expresses this as a song rather than a film, it might be a long shot, but after reading the poem that Mayer wrote as an alternative to a script,  I’m sticking with this as a title competitor, and also going to raise it, adding the longest music video to its potential accolades, as it beats Michael Jacksons ‘ghost’ by approximately 34 minutes.  Being first is not what this film is all about.  Crude hand-painted opening credits open to the film with a clear and strong use of German expressionism.  Distorted scenes, clashing over each other, geometric buildings echoing in the oddly triangular trees, enhance these already moody portrayal, with a style used by Hitchcock and more recently seen in the work of Tim Burton.

Subtitled ‘A song for two humans’ this is a classic love triangle. Three people, a love affair, a superfluous ordinary farmer’s wife or a modern independent woman. A simple solution. Murder. This 1927 film is a relationship thriller, man plotting to kill his wife for his lover, it has romance, a couple whose love is reignited witnessing a strangers wedding, and is an epic personal drama, a man who wants his lover, attempts uxoricide, then changes his mind.  A lot to take in without words and will keep you watching to the last minute. Sunrise covers 3 out of the four genres, a feat itself. While the story might not be the strongest or most original, it’s the cinematography that redeems this film to the next level.