Friday, January 23, 2009

Seeing Movies is Part of My Job

Most of our friends have young kids and don't get sitters too often. On the occasions that they do get to go out, the vast majority would choose dinner in a nice restaurant over a film. My husband and I would pick the movie every time!

Why is this? I guess because we are both readers/writers. To us, nothing is better than a good story. A film is a work of art, like a novel, or even a picture book. We love to get lost in a world that a writer/director has created. We love to analyze what worked and didn't work for us.

The last two films we saw happened to exemplify exactly what you, as authors, want to do... and NOT do.

1) Slumdog Millionaire- My husband read Robert McKee's book on screenplay writing and always tells me that there is a difference between character and characterization. This article sums it up well. Slumdog Millionnaire did a phenomenal job of character development. Time and again, the two brothers at the center of the story are faced with choices and it is their decisions that show us who they are in their heart of hearts. The author puts them in pressure situations and forces them to act. We clearly see what is important to Jamal (the MC) and what makes him worthy of achieving his goals. This is a MUST SEE film.

2) Last Chance Harvey- This movie failed miserably in our opinion. Dustin Hoffman, as Harvey, was a very passive character who was never really forced to make a tough choice. We get plenty of characterization (in the form of mannerisms, speech, attitude, etc) but we never really get to know who he is at his core and as a result, we don't really care if his dreams are fulfilled or not.

As an author, I see it as my job to experience stories in all mediums. Not just in print, but in film and in live theater. I guess that means I can save my ticket stubs and write off movies when I file my taxes.


PurpleClover said...

Wow, I gotta agree. With my two kids (and school) I rarely get to enjoy a great plot with intriguing characters. So if we get a night out, I would totally rather go to the movies than dinner. At least I can get through that in two hours and not let it collect dust like a couple books I started when I thought I had time (What was I thinking...)!

Katie said...

Received Hop! Plop! in the mail yesterday... I've added it to my pile of reviews to get to, so hopefully sometime either this weekend or in the coming week. I'll be sure to post the link to you when it's up!

Rebecca Gomez said...

Corey, I'm right there with you! I love books, love movies, love stories!

And seeing a great movie, with strong characters, it makes me look critically at my own characters to see if a reader would really be able to get to know them.

Good points!

Jacqui said...

I do love a good story, in any form. And I adored Slumdog Millionaire too.

BookChook said...

This is just the reminder I need, Corey. I am working on a new children's book and I tend to be too kind to my characters. I am off to apply that pressure!

Christine said...

I would always choose the movie over the dinner too, but I would at least count the large buttered popcorn and SourPatch kids as a two course meal. I loved Slumdog and recommend it to anyone who'll listen!