Having an idea for a story is not enough. You've got to dramatise it.
In Screenwriting 434 Lew Hunter states that a painter has three primary colours on his palette: red, blue and yellow. As a screenwriter you have two primary colours: sensuality and dramatic action.
Let's explore the different shades of dramatic action in 3 films opening this week: Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, the twisted origin story Birds of Prey, and rapper-turned-YouTube-sensation-turned-director Andrew Onwubolu aka Rapman’ s Blue Story.
Jojo Rabbit – Taika Waititi’s hilarious and heartfelt
What became Jojo Rabbit started a decade earlier, when New Zealand writer-director Taika Waititi's mother called him up about a book she had read, Caging Skies by Christine Leunens.
Waititi, who received a BAFTA award for Best Adapted screenplay, also portrays Hitler as the imaginary best friend of a 10-year-old boy.
The humour in the film is drawn from Waititi’s own upbringing; the same humour that has shaped his films, and a wave of New Zealand cinema and television, for the past decade.
In Waititi’s hands, the comedic dramatic action provides an access point to talk about something he cares deeply about. Jojo Rabbit may have been developed over a decade, but as the world has turned, its relevance has become ever more striking.
Birds Of Prey - Unpredictable, out of order, funny
and dangerous Dramatic Action
To help draft the players and create the twisted dramatic action for Birds Of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) producer and star Margot Robbie reached out to screenwriter Christina Hodson.
“Margot told me of her dream of doing a Harley Quinn/girl gang movie and I was 100 percent in," says Hodson. "We really saw eye to eye on the tone, on keeping it fun, and on doing something boldly different in the superhero movie space. We both love those movies, but we wanted to try something a little different, something non-linear, action-packed but also with a lot of humor.”
Blue Story – Ripped-from-the-news-headlines urban drama
“I didn’t know how to write a film but I knew how to tell a story, and I knew how to tell a film,” he says. “My raps were always storytelling. My gift is telling stories," says writer-director Andrew Onwubolu, whose Blue Story, a semi-autobiographical tale based on his childhood in Lewisham.
“What I want to do with this film is show people, the kids involved in gangs, that the decisions you make can affect not just your life but those around you. You might think that everything you’re fighting for is so important — but is it? Are the people you’re fighting for, dying for, are they even your friends? Why do you feel you need to bleed for an area? You’re not enlisted. You’re not a soldier fighting for the country."
Sam Mendes’ vision to capture the story of 1917 in real time in a way that plays as one continuous shot requires the audience to join the characters and immerse themselves in their turbulent journey.
Shot in this way, the audience gets an authentic, tangible sense of what these boys would have gone through. “The reason I chose to do that with this material is, from the very beginning, I felt it should be told in real time,” Mendes says. “The sense of distance traveled is very important. But it is also, most importantly, an emotional decision, that I hope connects you even more closely to the journey of the two central characters. I wanted an audience to take every step of the journey with them, to breathe every breath. It wasn’t a decision that was imposed on the material afterwards. I had the idea alongside the idea for the story – style, form and content all came at the same time. You begin to construct the narrative so that every second forms part of one continuous, unbroken thread.”
Write Your Story In Your Own Space
And At Your Own Pace
Following in the tradition of 20 years of extensive workshops throughout South Africa, and courses internationally, our motivational and inspirational correspondence courses are specifically designed to make it easier for storytellers who would like to master the craft of writing and focus on the art of conquering the creative process.
Julian Schnabel’s profound masterwork At Eternity’s Gate is a journey inside the world and mind of a person who, despite skepticism, ridicule and illness, created some of the world’s most beloved and stunning works of art. Featuring an impassioned and powerhouse performance by Willem Dafoe as Vincent van Gogh.