23 Reasons For Close-Ups

To conclude our series on Cinematic Storytelling, last week Mystery Man examined the origins of and opinions about close-ups. Today, in the 10th and final episode, we look at 23 visual examples and their dramatic reason. To examine beauty / ugliness: To illuminate a glance we would not have seen (as in Lady Snowblood): To … Read more

The Art of Dialects (2)

Mystery Man left us some time before 5 June of this year. The Story Department continues to republish his best articles on Monday. Here, you’ll also be informed about the posthumous release of his screenwriting book. “Let’s go back to New York City. Consider this monolog, called, I’m a Type. In a perfect world, this … Read more

The Art of Dialects (1)

I type these words from my favorite leather chair in my favorite mystery cigar store. For the “Mystery Photo” in the Mar/Apr ’09 issue of Script Mag, I snapped a pic of this very chair with a piece of paper (handwritten by me) that says, “MM SITS HERE.” Hehehe… All the boys are here, too. … Read more

Elements of Suspense (2)

The Elements of Suspense also talked about editing in order to maximize tension, that when emotions are high, Hitchcock resorted to tight shots and close-ups, but when the tension is over, he’ll fall back on medium shots. This is common. And editing is just as important when you write your script. Consider the way Tarantino … Read more

Mystery Man on Melodrama

What is melodrama and how do we avoid it? I’ve noticed that people have differing interpretations of melodrama, ranging from “sad movie” to “soap operas” to “anything that’s on Lifetime” or, as one guy told me, “it’s anything written by Anton Chekhov.” Indeed, variations abound in its definition: “A genre with an opposition between good and … Read more