Comedy comes out of drama. Take a dramatic situation and be true and you will find comedy in that situation. The best comedies are rooted in drama. All comedy comes from real moments. Be true to drama and you will find a way to add humor.
- Hitchcock loathes the ordinary.
- The screen must be charged with emotion.
- Our primary function is to create an emotion and our second job is to sustain that emotion.
- Whatever is said instead of being shown is lost upon the viewer.
- When we tell a story in cinema, we should resort to dialogue only when it’s impossible to do otherwise.
- Whenever possible the public must be informed. Except when the surprise is a twist, that is, when the unexpected ending is, in itself, the highlight of the story.
- Knowing what to expect, (viewers) they wait for it to happen. This conditioning of the viewer is essential to the build-up of suspense.
- People don’t always express there inner thoughts to one another; a conversation may be quite trivial, but often the eyes will reveal what a person really thinks or feels.
- A film director must have a sense of simplification.
- Clarity is the most important quality in filmmaking.
- It’s important to be explicit, to clarify constantly.
- Many directors are conscious of the over-all atmosphere on the set, whereas they should be concerned only with what’s going to come up on the screen.
- The camera should never anticipate what’s about to follow.
- When a character who has been seated stands up to walk around the room, I will never change the angle or move the camera back.
- The size has a direct relation to the emotional importance of an object.
- Hitchcock would not give an over-all view of the setting until the scene reaches its dramatic peak.
- Fill the entire tapestry.
- The beauty of image and movement, the rhythm and the effects-everything must be subordinated to the purpose.
- You solve the problem of time by manipulating the space.
- A fast action has to be geared down and stretched out; otherwise, it is almost imperceptible to the viewer.
- I always feel comfortable about a project when I can tell the story in a very simple way, from beginning to end, in a fairly abbreviated version.
- The story construction follows the three basic rules of classic tragedy; unity of place, of time, and of action.
- I’d prefer to build a film around a situation rather than plot. It is easier to put them into images.
- In an adventure drama your central figure must have a purpose.
- The more successful a villain, the more successful a picture. The stronger the evil, the stronger the film.
- Making a film means, first of all, to tell a story. That story can be an improbable one but it should never be banal. It must be dramatic and human. What is drama, after all, but life with the dull bits cut out.
- Sequences can never stand still; they must carry the action forward, just like the wheels of a ratchet mountain railway move the train up the slope, cog by cog.
- I make it a rule to exploit elements that are connected with a character or a location; I would feel that I’d been remiss if I hadn’t made maximum use of those elements.
- Don’t go to the police because it’s dull.
- You have to design your film just as Shakespeare did his plays – for an audience.
“I put [the cards] up on a cork board on the wall so I can watch the whole movie before I start writing it. I can sit down and imagine every scene. And I write in days - in script days. I’m hoping to actually break out of this a little bit more the more I mature as a storyteller. But it’s a way to keep myself honest. When I was first in film school, I started developing this process. I didn’t have my characters in any sort of timeline. Random scenes would pop up, and they felt episodic and amateurish. A good professor of mine said, “It’s because you need to see your days.” If you look at Fargo, or any of the Coen brothers’ films, one character is always moving and you know where they are in the space and time of the film. It just makes sense. It seems like a really simple notion, but it’s actually kind of a difficult thing to balance - moving characters through the time and space of the film in a cohesive way. It keeps the films from being muddled, I think. But I also use it as a bit of a crutch.”
-Jeff Nichols, Writer/Director of Take Shelter
Michael Giacchino allows the audience to feel an emotion and then confirms that emotion with music. Instead of using music to drive the emotion, the music compliments and confirms the emotion.
“You only get one first read on scripts - I want it to be as transporting as possible.”
- Glen Gordon Caron, Creator of Moonlighting and Medium
The Ordinary World
Sam Spade is a private detective in San Francisco who likes cash and women.
Call to Adventure
Sam’s partner, Miles Archer is mysteriously killed while following Floyd Thursby in downtown San Francisco. Archer was investigating a case brought on by Ms. Wonderly who accuses Thursby of running away with her sister and raises suspicion with a big payment to entice the detectives to take the case.
Refusal of the Call
Sam is pulled in with Archer’s death. Wonderly is fearful for her life but has been lying to Spade, her name is actually Bridget O’Shanghnessy and Floyd Thursby was her partner. Thursby was mysteriously murdered after Archer but O’Shanghnessy believes Thursby killed Archer. Sam is hesitant to work with O’Shanghnessy until things heat up romantically and she pays him. Spade doesn’t trust her.
Meeting with the Mentor
No Mentor is this film. Maybe it is Spade’s assistant Effie Perrine.
Crossing the Threshold
He crosses the threshold when he takes the money and agrees to investigate the murders.
Tests, Allies, Enemies
Spade is a suspect for both the Thursby and Archer murder. The police have heard rumors about Spade’s involvement with Archers wife. Spade meets Cairo who hires him to find the “Black Bird.” Spade is pursued by Wilmer which leads to a meeting with the “Fatman” Kasper Gutman. Gutman shares the origins of the Maltese Falcon with Spade.
Gutman, Wilmer, and Cairo drug Spade and head to the harbor. The La Paloma ship arrives from the Orient and is lit on fire. This was the ship that delivered the Falcon.
Spade returns to his office and the La Paloma ship captain delivers the Falcon before he dies.
The Road Back
Spade hides the Falcon in a bus locker and plans to sell it to Gutman. Spade, Gutman, Cairo, Wilmer, and O’Shanghnessy conviene at Spades place agreeing to not leave each others company until the Falcon is delivered. The Falcon is discovered to be a fake when it is delivered by Perrine and Gutman and Cairo plan to return to Istanbul to seek out the real Falcon.
Spade calls the police and informs them of the whereabouts of Gutman, Cairo, and Wimer and how they killed Thursby. Spade tells the police where to locate these men.
Spade discovers O’Shanghnessy is the actual killer of Archer.
Return with the Elixir
Spade picks moral retribution for the death of his partner over the woman he has fallen in love with. He turns in O’Shanghnessy for killing Archer.
“You have to (whether real or fake) have confidence because a human being won’t be led by someone who is indecisive. They want someone who is going to definitively say - here is what we are going to do and this is going to be righteous and god fearing and that’s the way it has to be. It takes 10 or 15 years to get comfortable enough to just go - dude, it’s my way or the highway. You have to be able to do that.”
- David Fincher
“Be Humble. Allow people who are good at their jobs to do their jobs, to help you, and to understand that everyone else’s success is contributing to the success of the movie.
Great directors have a much easier time listening to other peoples opinions and hearing someones suggestions and putting that in a movie.
Young directors have a difficult time hearing those type of suggestions and cooperating. They cover the fear of not knowing what they are doing by saying I now everything. I know all the answers, I don’t need to hear from anyone else. You do yourself a huge disservice because you are missing out on so many things that could be helping your movie.”
- Ben Affleck
“Making a film means, first of all, to tell a story. That story can be an improbably one, but it should never be banal. It must be dramatic and human. What is drama, after all, but life with the dull bits cut out.”
— Alfred Hitchcock