Video: Jay O’Callahan

Sometimes we need to stop for a moment and think about what we're really doing. We're telling stories.

As filmmakers, our stories are not in the first place for ourselves; they are for an audience.


Jay O'Callahan has a great story to illustrate how the listener played a role in coming up with his story. If you have 15mins, this is a video worth watching.

 

Jay O'Callahan: The Power of Storytelling from 99% on Vimeo.


With thanks to Adrian Kok.

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Three or Four?

A properly structured screenplay must have three acts… Or four? I have said before that the model you use to improve your screenwriting is your own choice. At the end of the day it is all academic. Whatever works for you. The Dept Revisited – A rerun of the best of the Story Dept. A … Read more

Video: Robert McKee On Formulaic Writing

When McKee speaks, many listen because he likes to be blunt. Here he seems to go against the likes of Michael Hauge, who place certain turning points at certain pages or percentages of the script. But the Queen Bee Guru gets it wrong, too…

At some point during this video, McKee says

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” was in seven acts.
It could be seven, eight, nine acts structures,
in “Speed,” if you counted the major reversals
in a chase film like “Speed” it’s probably nine.”

Thereby he ignores the difference between a sequence and an act. This is not helpful. As a matter of fact, the more I hear McKee, the more I wonder whether he actually has much practical advice to offer for screenwriters.

What do you think?

With thanks to Louise Lee Mei and Niels Abercrombie.

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Structural Overviews: Why?

Right after learning the principles of structure, it will be hard to apply them to your own work immediately. Better is to consolidate your understanding by applying it to films you know, by watching them and identifying the key turning points. A breakdown in scenes or plot points is an excellent start. To help you … Read more

Structure: The Lives of Others

the lives of others

A loyal agent for the Stasi spies on a playwright and his actress girlfriend. Intent on revealing their disloyalty to the GDR, the agent becomes involved in – and transformed by – their lives. The Lives of Others (Das leben der anderen) (Germany, 2006) Written and Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck -by Stuart Voytilla … Read more