Monday, May 14, 2012

filmmaking tips from Billy Wilder Via Film School Rejects

Adapted from the article 6 filmaking tips from Billy Wilder via film school rejects


Grab ‘Em By the Throat

“Grab ‘em by the throat and never let ‘em go.”
It’s straightforward, but easier said than written. What will thrill an audience? What will captivate them? Storytelling has a profound power, and the key to harnessing it is in discovering something (whether it be a plot point, an action, a visual or a delivery style) that will pull people physically forward in their seats. Is it a passionate archeologist looking out on an expansive valley filled with living dinosaurs? Is it a mobster slapping his moll with a piece of fruit? Is it simply good dialog? Find your throat-grabber, and the heavy lifting…has just begun, because you’ve got to hold on tight.

Think Outside the Door

“An actor entering through the door, you’ve got nothing. But if he enters through the window, you’ve got a situation.”
It might sound simple, but sometimes tweaking a normal situation is all that’s needed to make it pop. When someone climbs in through a window, it demands an explanation.

Be Prepared To Be These Things

“A director must be a policeman, a midwife, a psychoanalyst, a sycophant and a bastard.”
In the process of making a picture, you’ll be laying down the law, coaxing a newborn out into the world, attempting to figure out your characters and colleagues, appeasing people’s frail egos and smashing them to the ground. For Wilder, it was clearly a matter of that balance. Plus, the old guy loved to contradict himself (even though he didn’t include “clown” in that list of occupations).
What battles to fight and which ones should get the white flag.

Do Something In Your Story

“I have ten commandments. The first nine are, thou shalt not bore. The tenth is, thou shalt have right of final cut.”
How are you going to grab someone by the throat again? Do something. Anything.
When I was reading scripts, the most common problem I saw among aspiring writers was a crushing inability to have anything happen in their screenplays. They would be filled with scenery and characters doing things that people do, but there was no plot. No forward momentum. No goals or obstacles. They were boring. Of course, the price to avoid boredom is to do away with safety. Fortunately, it’s just fictional characters that have to be put in danger.

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my thanks to Film School Rejects for this wonderful article.


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