#screenwriting #film #story
“Warning: Contains Spoilers
The Prometheus debate rages on. Ridley Scott’s sci-fi thriller did big business this past weekend at the box office, but it also sparked a sprawling online debate as fans tried to break apart and dissect its cryptic themes. Some fans have focused on the film’s theories about human life (TIME’s Jeffrey Kluger surveyed Scott’s scientific grounding in a post published yesterday), while others were more interested in how Prometheus linked up to the existing Alien franchise.
(Spoilers ahead) I rambled for about 1,000 words yesterday, on how I connected the plot’s various points, in relation to the Alien universe. But still, at the end of the film, I was plagued by a big question that needed solving: In the very last shot of the film, we see a spaceship take flight away from an alien planet. It is being piloted by a robot — well, half a robot, as his torso was left behind on the planet surface — and he is accompanied by the last remaining survivor of a doomed human expedition.
The robot says he can take her back to Earth. But, disillusioned and having just witnessed both the murder of her lover and the obliteration of her personal and professional belief structures, the doctor says that she’d rather use the spaceship to travel to the home world of whatever aliens ruined her life. Where was the ship ultimately heading, in that final shot? It’s anybody’s guess.
I promised not to publish his answers until the film had already opened. Here’s the exchange:
TIME: In that final scene, David wants to go to Earth, and Elizabeth wants to go to the alien home world. Where do you think they’re going?
Lindelof: I think they’re going where she wants to go. His fundamental programming has been scrapped. Weyland [the man who built and programmed him] is dead and so now his programming is coming from God knows where. Is he being programmed by Elizabeth, or is it his own internal curiosity now that Weyland isn’t telling him what to do any more? He’s always been interested in Elizabeth, remember that: He’s watching her dreams when she’s sleeping in much the same way that he watches Lawrence of Arabia. He’s a strange robot that has a curious crush on a human being, and when Weyland is eliminated, I think he is genuinely interested in what she’s interested in. He reaches out partly for survival, but partly out of curiosity, and I think he’s sincere that he’ll take her wherever she wants to go.
(Steve again): Which means, of course, that she’s heading to the alien home world, in search of answers of why they created us, and then set out to destroy (or mutate) us. She’s headed for a confrontation, just as the alien monsters set out to spread across the universe, where the Nostromo will find them. Everything’s in motion — and a sequel can’t be far off.”
Source: @Forbes @parmy
#screenwriter #film #screenplay
“If you’ve seen the trailer for “Prometheus,” the dark, hotly-anticipated prequel to Ridley Scott’s “Alien” franchise, you probably got a healthy dose of some of the best that sci-fi filmmaking can offer: shrieking astronauts in spherical-glass helmets, ships that travel at light-speed to craggy, blue-tinted planets and spinning holographic star charts.
All the stuff that tickles our imagination and makes us ponder humanity’s space-faring future. It may be a surprise then, that the man who wrote the original screenplay for “Prometheus” doesn’t see our reality planning out that way, rather neatly knocking on the head the notion that much of what we see and read in science fiction, is a hoped-for precursor to real technology.
Jon Spaihts, known as the “go-to guy” for Hollywood sci-fi screenplays, says that for decades, science-fiction writers have overestimated our civilization’s future technological progression; it makes him a story teller by trade, but a pragmatist at heart.
“Science fiction has taught us to see the universe as vastly smaller and less energetic than it is,” Spaihts said during a phone interview on Monday. “Space travel involves such mind-boggling distances and high energies that I think most people have no idea how difficult it is.” He paused for a moment. “My personal belief is that as much as I love science fiction, human beings will never reach another star.”
The reason for this is simple. Traveling at light speed, which is something most space-faring science fiction tales suppose, is impossible. It’s “not just something we don’t have a theoretical underpinning for, but theoretically prohibited,” Spaihts says. Even at rapid speeds, a journey to another star a would take generations, and require rockets to expend a tremendous amount of energy, “throwing something in the other direction – rocket exhaust.” The farther you go the more propellant you have to carry. “The energy you spend getting out on that fantastic clip, you have to spend that at either end stopping.”
All very rational. Fortunately, Spaihts can reconcile the logical reality of our future with his story-telling, by remembering where the mythology of space exploration comes from: a “nautical model,” and one that sees innovation constantly speeding up. “It’s a recapitulation of our story of the last generations as we have, as a species, expanded our understanding by orders of magnitude every century, and at an accelerating rate,” says Spaihts.
It is easy to expect that this “ramp” will continue ever upwards and that the expansion of human power and ingenuity will continue to ever-dazzling heights. How could that not take us to over planets? Spaihts points out we already see limits to some of these “ramps” on earth — to fossil fuels, to Moore’s Law, and to the speed at which one can travel through space. “These limits are non-negotiable,” he says. We may sometimes find alternatives, in making micro-processors cheaper and more energy efficient, for……..”
Debunking Screenwriting Myths, Part 3: The Logline
by Geno Scala
As a screenwriter who is actively involved in networking, I am a member of dozens of professional writer’s groups, forums, and networks that discuss a multitude of screenwriting topics. A day rarely goes by where someone doesn’t post a request for help with their logline.
This is when the fur begins to fly.
It would help if you were to start with the definition of what a logline is. The definition I use is “A logline is a one or two sentence description that captures the unique & conflicting elements of your screenplay” (by the way, “logline” and “log line” are acceptable).
Now that you’ve defined it, what exactly does it consist of? I try to include certain elements of my screenplay into the logline, then edit from there. I include the protagonist, the antagonist, the goal, the “inner conflict” (or personal issue for the protagonist to overcome), the “outer conflict” (or issues that threaten the antagonist), what’s at stake, the genre, and the “hook” (what separates my story from others in this genre). If I hit on all, or most of these elements, then I know I have a strong logline.
What is often the basis of the arguments is the amount of words that should be included in these loglines. There is documentation on just about every amount, but in most respects the following is considered Hollywood standard- “twenty five words or less, thirty at the most.” They may be in one or two, even three sentences, if necessary, but still within the 25-30 word mark. I’ve heard arguments for the standard changing towards 20 words or less, and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the Twitter standard of 140 characters will be the rule. Some argue still that word count doesn’t matter, based on the fact that many a screenplay had been sold with a logline exceeding these standards. This is probably true, but since time is money, time efficiency is premium, so word efficiency should be as well. In this case, I believe “the shorter the better”, as long as it still contains the elements.
Obviously the key to the logline is making it the most accurate and effective logline you can. Keep in mind that the purpose of the logline is to attract enough interest from an industry professional that they’ll request to read your screenplay.
What a logline isn’t, is a tagline, and should NOT be confused with that which is often found on movie posters. “In space, no one can hear you scream” is not a logline, but a highly effective tagline for “Alien”. The tagline contains none of the aforementioned elements.
In 2003, I was the stage manager for the Saturn Awards, and found myself backstage with Steven Spielberg, who had come by personally to accept his award for the movie “Minority Report”. He had arrived a few minutes earlier, but waited in the limo until just before the announcement for his category. I had about forty seconds- a lifetime, actually- of quiet and uninterrupted seclusion with him as my captive audience- my filmmaking idol and “secret mentor”. I certainly had enough time to throw him one of my well-developed, thoroughly enticing, loglines and garner the meeting that would launch my screenwriting career!
The moment came, and…
…instead, I thanked him for appearing, congratulated him on the award, and proceeded to trip him as he walked up onto the stage from the rear curtain.
Opportunity lost, but it instilled an important rule that I follow to this day: Keep the logline short enough in case you’re stuck behind a curtain with the likes of a Steven Spielberg.
Geno Scala has been writing for over twenty years, and was one of the Executive Directors for the 1999-2000 Academy Awards presentation. He is an optioned screenwriter with nine screenplays to his credit, and is an alumnus of ScreenwritingU. He maintains a business in Hollywood, and resides in beautiful Huntsville, Alabama with his rocket-scientist wife, a daughter in grad school, another daughter in college in CA, and two teen-aged sons.
Source: Ain’t it Cool News
#screenwriting #film #screenplay
“Hey folks, Harry here - and it’s been a curious and interesting day. You see - I first saw this script about 3 weeks before the first PROMETHEUS non-teaser trailer hit. I read it - and wasn’t convinced it was real - thus - I never mentioned it on the site. THEN… that next trailer hit and things really seemed to key up. Nearly everything seemed to come out of that alleged 2nd Draft. I had conversations with folks about the script, who worked on the film - and most of what I would consider the spoilery things, well, it was syncing with what they would tell me.
So then I post the following… Today, shit hits the fan and @DamonLindelof starts writing me on Twitter saying that there is no “Planet Zeus” in his draft or @jonspaihts and that he feels I have been duped. Then Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly tweeted a question to his followers about rather or not somebody ever knew of a filmmaker that blatantly lied to protect the secrecy of their project. Lindelof responded, “Never. That would be deplorable. #IAmLyingRightNow” Then an hour later Lindelof tweeted, “Harry, I swear upon The Force and Geekdom itself that what you read is 100% bogus. I would never lie about this.” And finally an hour later he tweeted at me, “THERE ARE NO SKRULLS IN PROMETHEUS!!! (but seriously, if you stand by this script, so be it, but I know how to spell “Zeus.”)”
If Lindelof swears upon the Force and Geekdom itself that what I read is 100% bogus, then as someone that has had several intoxicating drinks and have geeked out with Lindelof, I must say - The script I read must be bogus, because Lindelof has sworn so - and I am happy that I know nothing about PROMETHEUS and that apparently every source that I know on this film - and that things I’ve heard from others is also complete fabrication. Because that means I’m completely pure for this film then! And that would be fantastic too.
SO - what’s the deal with this draft. Misspellings of ZEUS aside - there’s an awful lot of material in the script that seems to somehow echo the film. For example…..”
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“"This was Damon Lindelof’s 2nd Draft," wrote Ain’t It Cool News proprietor Harry Knowles on Friday, before diving into a script review of “Prometheus.” The coming film from director Ridley Scott hits theaters on June 8, but Knowles apparently got his hands on Lindelof’s screenplay.
Except for the fact that he probably didn’t.
"Hate to break it to you, @headgeek666 [Knowles’ Twitter handle], but there’s no ‘Planet Zeus’ in my draft," Lindelof wrote on Twitter. “Or in @jonspaihts’ work. I think you’ve been duped!” Jon Spaihts is another credited writer on “Prometheus,” which exists in the same universe as Scott’s “Alien,” but isn’t a direct prequel.
Knowles disagreed with Lindelof’s assertion, writing that the script he received —before the trailers for “Prometheus” debuted — featured scenes that “match so perfectly” with the marketing materials.
Reached for comment by HuffPost Entertainment senior writer Mike Ryan, Lindelof maintained that Knowles’ script was phony……”