by Shelton Bumgarner
The more I think about it, the more I really like the Hobbes & Shaw screenplay. I say this because it did was a screenplay is supposed to do — be invisible. Only the greats can write a screenplay that is conspicuous enough that the average person notices it. A screenplay, in my opinion, is simply the framework for the producer, director and actors to tell the story.
The more I write this novel, the more seriously I take structure, character and plot. Your job as a storyteller is to get out of the way. You lay out a universe with interesting characters and then smash them against each other in a way where you have increasing tension. If shit blows up and people have sex, all the better.
But the main point is that the audience cares about the characters. I cared about what was going on with the characters in Hobbes & Shaw, even though it was meant to be mindless summer fun. I thought there were some pretty big plot holes, but the overall effect was interesting and entertaining.
As I said, I liked the screenplay because I did not find myself thinking about it. Things moved along at a brisk pace. You meant interesting people with believable rationales. I did not want to walk out once, which is saying something for me.
Compare this to Booksmart. I walked out with the inciting incident occurred. Way too much screeching over things I did not want to sit through two hours worth of hero’s journey. I understand you’re supposed to give the Hero room to grow, but when all the screeching happened, I bounced. I had better things to do with my time.
But, again, I was not the audience. The audience seemed to be bi curious girls seniors in high school. Or something. Something I’m not. The thing about Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood was I really, really cared about the characters even though for much of the film they didn’t do all that much. That’s a testament to good writing, if ever there was one.
Anyway. I need to read more. And watch more movies. I need to hurry up and finish the first draft, if nothing else.