Storytelling: At A Loss

Okay, not to toot my own horn(like who invented this term) but this has been sitting inside of me for a long time. This blog has served many purposes in the past 5 years but recently I have sought to talk about film, both in reviews and also in terms of creating stories. I have always believed that I’ve been a writer. Being a writer however, that takes time and work, so that is why I continue to try and write. In the process of wanting to write I have discovered that film is very real and adaptable to the way that my mind operates in.

I have spent so much time watching movies and it seems like there is no end. There seems to always be some film out there that I have not seen, or that I feel I need to see. But what I do have to offer is what I have learned and seen through the years.

I plan on very soon talking about Story, which is a book that will radically change your perspective and inspire you to write. I read this book when I lived in Orange County. It took me a good six months to read it because its not so much written hard, its just terse and full of much reflection upon the films he mentions. You respond by wanting to write and wanting to watch in a different lens then you had before.

It was in my time in Cali, 09 to April 2010 that I really realized that writing films and writing for film is what I want to pursue for the rest of my life.

So, in writing these movie reflections I am pulling from Story, Screenplay by Syd Field and some Poetics from Aristotle, which is an insanely hard book to read.

In storytelling you are having to use the elements of nature at your disposal. You have to be a tad nit narcissist when you are searching for material. The reason is because everything revolves around the complexities of human nature. What makes humans do what they do? You have to use this philosophical notion to better explain and create a world that people relate to.

Conflict is thus a requirement that is a bomb to your chest. Building and daring others to look and hide at the same time. Exploding at the right time and destroying all who stand in the way. Conflict thus has to be a real scenario that humans would get themselves into. Real people have real problems. Is what some would say. But in order to create conflict you have to use loss and hope as two realities to help you.

I have come to believe that everyone is unhappy and dissatisfied. Everyone is in the “quiet lives of desperation” category. Men are unhealthily happy and cheat on their wives because they were unsure why they got married to begin with. Men are 30 year old teens, with wild libidos that seem to collude their thinking. Men are misrepresented and counted out, losers, irresponsible, dumb, stupid, foolish, have folderol like lives in terms of plot, hate their jobs and are somewhat all like George Constanza. Paranoid and insecure all the time.

As I reviewed in Men To Boys, the male has been in a state of confusion for some time time now. This confusion is because the male cannot find a way to get his life together. Complexities behoove him all the time because there is this layer of desperation deep inside of him. There is a multitude of opportunity with stories if you believe that all are walking with a gimp and limping to make themselves and essentially “prove it!”, man up, already; and, take risks.

Every genre can be represented in loss. Drama has become my favorite and most ambitious genre to write about and watch. Drama has so many options to choose from. But, real fast. Death and mourning as seen in We Bought A Zoo(recently) or The Descendants(also recently). Both have me liking what I see. The beached male expressed in these characters.

Man verse self. This is seen all the time. Characters that are stuck on themselves and seeking to overcome. Into The Wild being one of those man verse nature really, or The Way Back as well. But films like Tender Mercies, where Robert Duvall slowly comes to resolution. Or The Next Three Days where the John character is very ordinary peopleish and a new lens for Russell Crowe. A film where he has to become James Bond but still be a family man, doing all he can do to survive. Conflict is expressed out of injustice and personal vengeance. My Rise of Female Vengeance post had some female mentions but a little too overdone to use as examples.

The ever-so-hard-to-watch Rachel Getting Married as been mentioned before is a series of complexities that really draw it out with the best of em’. This film is hard to watch and one of those probably never again watchers because of the material. Its so deeply intense but very easy to relate to. Perhaps, the most conflict is a person who decides to face their problems with people that you assume(family) will understand you well, but NOT REALLY!

Love is a post in it of itself of worthy mentions. We have all gagged and cried over the Notebook and o, my, gosh Love means you love me even when I forget. Which is why the vow could totally bomb because its the same plot just in the year 2012! And Channing Tatum has never done a real complex character and has done some serious bombers like Fighting and Gi-Joe( but I like the guy!) If I see this film, I will tell no one and it will be a result of a hard day..classic escape!

Love is the ultimate ‘at a loss’ genre because love has to be fought for and earned. If you don’t have gimping around romantics walking around then you have no fighting taking place. I saw Something Borrowed with my mom at CineSuites, so the mac and cheese with chicken was well worth it but I was legitleeey(new word) messed up for a week because of this film. I got into it and it hurt me pretty bad kind of like some real life experience(POEMS>>>>>>>) but this film was a classic complexity all centered around love and truth. Which according to Paul they go together. A classic case of confused wounding going on. And Rachel Griffin or whatever is way cute and makes me want to watch Once just because of her..crush!!!

Man verse the system and action. Drama plays on death and love the most. But action exaggerates the human mainframe, also a post by itself. Action deals more with stretching loyalty and desire under pressure. The truth getting tortured out of someone. Jason Bourne is the classic case in this genre. Bourne takes on being at a loss and fighting through the corruption. Bourne’s tough exterior is because of his tender interior. Sounds poetic and childish but if he didn’t care he wouldn’t be reconciling with the Russian prime minister daughter at the end of Supremacy(04). And he wouldn’t be wanting answers. Does he kill, yes, but out of self-defense, not out of revenge. So bring it Tony Gilroy in Bourne Legacy, could be sweet.

Action is  a hard one to breakdown because it can be very shallow at times. John McClaine is a normal complex guy that just never dies. Has marriage and alcohol problems but at the same time manages to know how to win every time. Action is hard but needs to be mentioned.

I don’t know if I am confusing just talking about films in general because that happens when I write these posts. My point is that there is this quiet desperation in characters that I seem to be seeing all the time that is causing me to wonder if this is intentional or if this is something that I keep noticing but creating characters that are complex in their humanity will make for great memorable characters. The goal is to provoke and teach the audience something.

Original is in the new and something never done before category. It takes work to get inside a new way of writing. So, press in and get Ryan Gosling to play your complex characters because he is really good at that.


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