Screenwriting Tips: The Audience Wants What They Can’t Have

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In the LEGO Movie, there is a character who really wants to build a spaceship. In the end of the film of course he gets to build his spaceship but it wasn’t an easy road. He was denied his true goal of building a spaceship several times.

This is what made this moment so good and interesting. If we learned only seconds before he built the spaceship that he loves spaceships, we wouldn’t care as much. This is because we, as an audience, need to know that the goal is hard to achieve in order for us to care. Even in secondary characters like the guy who wants to build a spaceship.

We need to know that a goal is hard to achieve for us to care.

This rule is often very important in romantic situations. Some TV shows build up to relationships over seasons and seasons. Maybe the girl is in a relationship and the guy isn’t. Then the girl is available but the guy is in a relationship. This makes us care about the relationship.

Meanwhile other shows will introduce a guy and a girl and only one or two episodes later, they’re going out. That’s not how you make the audience care about the relationship.

In writing and filmmaking, withholding information or an event while still teasing at it makes the audience want it the most.

For example when you shoot a scene and you have a guy learning that he has cancer but you don’t cut to him while he talks. This makes the audience want to REALLY know what he’s thinking. Then when you cut to his reaction the audience will pay a lot of attention to him.

This is all because the audience wants what it can’t have. But we’ll eventually give it to them….eventually.

Craft Cinema Camera Introduced

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If you haven’t already had a hard enough time picking a new camera, NAB 2016 is here to give you a harder time.

Craft Cinema Camera with all of it's elements.

Craft Cinema Camera with all of it’s elements.

The Craft Cinema Camera is a Modular Design HD or 4k camera starting $699

You add separate modules that add up to the ability to have 4k recording to dual Cfast cards, Built in ND, Interchangeable mounts (PL, EF, MFT), LCD, Side Handel, Two Batteries, 2x XLR inputs  and a headphone jack.

The HD body is a Super 16mm Sensor and the 4k sensor is Super 35mm. Both sensors will feature Global Shutter and supposedly 13 stops of dynamic range. They will each shoot ProRes and Cinema DNG Raw. Craft says they will shoot up to 120fps but not at which resolutions that will be at.

Although the camera may seem deceivingly cheap with HD body only costing $699, a fully kitted out camera would cost $3,200. That seems like a steal. For $3,200 you would get a Super35 EF mount 4k global shutter camera with XLR inputs and an ergonomic handle. That puts it in the range of the not so popularly reviewed URSA mini. The great benefit of camera is that you can upgrade. For example if you can do without ND filters then you can buy it without them and buy the ND filter upgrade down the line.

To learn more go to ​http://www.craftcamera.com/

Screenplay Writing: Disputable vs. Absolute Evil

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Conflict is key in Film and TV writing. In fact, it is one of the things that many shows and movies get wrong. The key to good conflict is the villain. The villain is the creator of all conflict. For example if you have a scene where the dragon destroys a village, it adds more conflict to the next scene where the hero must learn how to fight with a sword. This is what I refer to as the “Power Rule”. You can read more about it here…

So other than having a powerful villain that presents danger to the protagonist, what are important traits? Well the second technique for creating a good villain is “Disputable vs Absolute Evil”. A good way of describing the difference is looking at the new film Batman vs. Superman.

*Slight Spoilers*

In Batman vs. Superman a good example of Absolute Evil is Lex Luther who plots to get rid of Batman and Superman. We learn of some of his motivation behind his evil acts but not before we have grown to dislike the character. In contrast Batman is an example of Disputable Evil. Batman does some evil acts but we understand the acts because we we’re giving the motivation first. This is an important note. The main difference between the two is when we learn about their motivations to be evil; before or after the audience thinks their evil.

“End Spoilers*

A villain that the audience roots for reduces conflict and thus the effectiveness of the film. So the best time to reveal the villains motivations are after the climax or during the resolution. This allows us to care about what happens to the villain without reducing the conflict in the middle of the film. However there is a difference between “rooting for” and liking a villain. We may like Darth Vader because of how cool he is but we don’t root for him to kill Luke and the Alliance.