Movie Lessons For Writers

5 Ways PACIFIC RIM’s Raleigh Beckett Is An Unusual Hero

Raleigh Beckett from PACIFIC RIM Pacific Rim is a film full of surprises. A big silly monsters-vs-robots movie that’s actually about failure, grief, cooperation, and how much we need one another. An action movie with no real villains. And most of all, a movie with two co-leads who are emotional, vulnerable, and equal. Raleigh Beckett, one of those two leads, is perhaps the most unconventional male lead in a big studio action movie to date. Why? Check these reasons out for size … 1) He’s vulnerable …  and that’s a GOOD thing Piloting a monster-killing robot requires its two pilots… Read More »5 Ways PACIFIC RIM’s Raleigh Beckett Is An Unusual Hero

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Why Bias Against Male Secondary Characters Is Super Revealing

Wives & Girlfriends The standard in storytelling is the male character gets to be the protagonist AND the antagonist … Very often, a good portion of the group will be male too. As I’ve mentioned multiple times on this blog and in my writing books, female secondary characters are frequently sidelined to ‘The Girl Character’ or even worse, the dreaded ‘WAG’ – wives and girlfriends. However, it should be noted the role function of being the Wife or Girlfriend is not AUTOMATICALLY a problem. There have been some fantastic, nuanced female characters that have also been WAGs over the years. Consider… Read More »Why Bias Against Male Secondary Characters Is Super Revealing

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Spotlight On Structure: The Story Circle by Dan Harmon

All About Dan Harmon Dan Harmon is an American writer, producer, and actor. Harmon created and produced the NBC sitcom Community; he also co-created the animated series Rick and Morty. He’s also an industry mover and shaker, having co-founded the alternative television network and website Channel 101. In other words, he’s not only a creative, but a guy who knows the whole caboodle! Harmon is also the creator of a structural visual representation he calls ‘The Story Circle’. One of the primary remits of B2W is writing craft, especially structure, so I thought I’d put it under the microscope like… Read More »Spotlight On Structure: The Story Circle by Dan Harmon

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2 Important Types of Protagonist You Need To Know

Types of Protagonist Protagonist … Main Character … Hero. We use lots of interchangeable words for this character. Most writers know the gist of what makes this type of character great …She or he needs to want something and go through hell to get it, whether that’s literal, metaphorical or both. But now audiences want more more variety to their protagonists and the types of story they are in. With this in mind, I thought I would put B2W’s two types of protagonist under the microscope. I put it to you there are TWO types of main character … Ones… Read More »2 Important Types of Protagonist You Need To Know

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Why Theme In FRIENDS Is Better Than You Think

Theme in Friends It’s fair to say the internet erupted with news of a Friends reunion, recently. I’ve written about Friends a fair amount this year on this blog, so thought I would return to the show, with reference to theme. Theme refers to ‘an idea that recurs in or pervades a work of art or literature.’ Friends is about a bunch of young friends, all getting through life and love, dealing with whatever it throws at them. Being a sitcom, it’s about dysfunctional family too. Le duh. However, with theme we make our OWN meaning too. How each individual audience… Read More »Why Theme In FRIENDS Is Better Than You Think

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In JOKER, The Big Lesson Is There Is No Point

What’s The Point If you’ve seen JOKER (or even if you haven’t), you will be aware of the trillion articles, thinkpieces, tweets, statuses etc arguing about its point. I don’t think it’s unfair to say the reaction of the storytelling blogosphere and social media has been profoundly negative … Yet at the same time the movie has also reached dizzying heights of critical acclaim, also generating $290m in its first week. So what gives? Myself, I’ve never been a fan of the Joker as a character. As far as I’m concerned, he’s the poster boy for the stigmatising ‘psycho-killer’ trope in… Read More »In JOKER, The Big Lesson Is There Is No Point

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3 Powerful Writing Tips From JOKER

** SPOILER FREE ** I rather loved JOKER. The design. The universe. The cinematography. The story arc. The performance. My god, the performance. The soundscape and music score. Love the music by Hildur Guðnadóttir. LOVE. Here’s what I think writers can learn from this provocative and compelling film … Ready? Then let’s go! 1) Joker is in almost EVERY scene This is pretty unusual as most filmmakers and actors cannot pull off such intense optics and story pressure. It sounds easy. It’s not. I can’t think of many actors who can keep our attention for the duration. It also means… Read More »3 Powerful Writing Tips From JOKER

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No, Woke Culture Is NOT ‘The Death Of Storytelling’

On ‘Woke Culture’ Hardly a week goes by without some (white) guy lamenting some version of the ‘death of storytelling’. Recently it was film director Todd Phillips’ turn, saying ‘Woke Culture’ is Killing Comedy Movies. Another director, Adam Hertz also chimed in on this saying American Pie wouldn’t get made today. (His position was slightly more nuanced than Phillips’ however, ultimately conceding that’s ‘probably a good thing’.) This is the cruncher though: TIMES CHANGE. This is how the industry works. It is not ‘woke’, it’s just good business sense. What is popular in one decade, is not in another. What’s more, audiences are becoming… Read More »No, Woke Culture Is NOT ‘The Death Of Storytelling’

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How To Plot Like A Goddess

All About Plot Archetypes Most writers understand characters have archetypes, but don’t always realise plot does too. Just like characters can be divided into various types, stories have particular ‘templates’. Far from being formulas or tick-the-box exercises, these templates create a foundation on which stories grow from. This is evidenced from what archetype means, as defined in the dictionary and via its etymology: What’s more, plot and character are inextricably linked. Whilst most writers understand characters need to have a goal (the WHY), they often falter on plot … The HOW, if you like. This is where understanding how plot… Read More »How To Plot Like A Goddess

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8 Steps To Analyse A Successful Story

To Analyse: A Definition Bang2writers have been asking me how to analyse a story to help their writing. It’s something I recommend, because it gets us into the analytical frame of mind. This in turn helps us think about our own stories and what they need. You can read all my #B2WReviews here.  But how do we get into this mindset? It’s worth remembering that emotion and anticipation go together. This means, the more you know (or thinkyou know), the more likely you are to be disappointed by a story. It’s just the way it goes. Disappointment can breed negativity and that’s rarely productive for… Read More »8 Steps To Analyse A Successful Story

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