Michael Mann and Lev Kuleshov

Michael Mann’s commentary on the Restored Director’s Cut of MANHUNTER focuses primarily on the parallel psychology of the serial murderer and the cop. But let’s skip to the last few minutes of the commentary in which Michael Mann summarises his approach to filmmaking. “Film is made in the editing room. In the writing and in … Read more

Act One: No Inciting Incident

BRUBAKER strays from the traditional structure because of its offbeat First Act. It lacks an Inciting Incident, nor does it have any significant protagonist characterisation. We witness from Robert Redford’s character’s POV how the most appalling injustice and brutality is inflicted relentlessly upon his fellow inmates. Over thirty minutes into the movie, Redford’s character identifies … Read more

The Three-Act Character

In her PLOT CONSTRUCTION WORKSHOP, Linda Aronson discusses THE INSIDER as an example of a flawed script. The film not only put Russell Crowe on the celeb map with a Best Actor Nomination, it was also nominated for another six awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. That’s a pretty good result … Read more

POV: Omniscient Point of View

In an Australian government document relating to script development I found the term ‘omnipotent POV’. In a specialised screenwriting magazine I read “omnipresent POV”(*).¬†Both are plain wrong. You’ve got to wonder: if they can’t even get the terminology right, there is reason to be concerned about their understanding of the concept. The correct term is … Read more

POV as Controller of Tone

A toddler looks at a man pulling funny faces, moving his limbs in crazy spasms. He falls on the ground, he hits his head. The toddler jumps with excitement. A female bystander watches the scene, her face contorted, fighting back tears. The introduction of the woman suddenly gives us a reliable POV. Although we still … Read more