Saturday, August 9, 2014

Rethinking the Use of Color and Plot in Screenwriting

Since my last post, we've watched a short film recommended by Hulu's Summer Film School and a feature film recommended by Robert McKee in Story, one of my textbooks this semester. Story is actually required reading for two of my classes this time, so I'll make good use of it in the coming months.

I had a question about textbooks, so I added a widget at the bottom with all our required books for this semester. I'll add to it each semester as we go.

The Red Balloon
Written by Albert Lamorisse
Starring Pascala Lamorisse

This delightful short (35 minutes) was full of surprises. The story is told visually, with minimal dialogue, and won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Hulu recommended watching this movie for its use of color. The boy runs all around the back streets of Paris, providing a drab and dreary backdrop to the colorful red balloon.

The surprise ending still has me smiling.

This film hit a personal note with me. On my 1st birthday, my maternal grandparents took me to Six Flags. My grandfather told the story of carrying me all over the amusement park all day long. At some point, he bought me a balloon, and I clung to it the rest of the day. As we were getting in the car, I let go of the balloon and it floated up, up, and away. They tell me I put up quite a fuss!

Tender Mercies
Written by Horton Foote
Starring Robert Duvall, Tess Harper, Betty Buckley, Wilford Brimley, Ellen Barkin, Allan Hubbard

I've been a fan of Robert Duvall since Lonesome Dove. When I saw this movie recommendation in the opening chapters of Story - my first reading assignment - I ordered it from Netflix pronto.

After the movie ended, I cautiously questioned the accolades, until I studied other opinions and comments. It seems more like a "slice of life" vignette than a feature film, but that's what makes it so special - it is a slice of life. Character arcs aren't steep, although a slight one exists for Duvall's character, Mac Sledge.

Robert McKee admits that "some reviewers described it as 'plotless,' then praised it for that." The plot takes place within Sledge's own mind during this life slice. Robert Duvall won an Academy Award for the role.

I love movie trivia and found some fun tidbits about Tender Mercies over at IMDb.

Other recent movie lists:

A Blur of Television and Movies
Bridal Shower, Papers, and Movies
Confusion of Week One
My MFA Textbooks
Writing and Viewing the TV Drama
Rethinking Use of Color and Plot in Screenwriting
The Journey to an MFA in Screenwriting Begins

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