How do screenwriters get away with using coincidences in their stories?
Remember that time in THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS when Bruce suddenly – magically – returned to Gotham, and you were like “WTF?!” Well, it turns out that many of the best films have moments that are just as coincidental or contrived (or a flock of Giant Eagles) and yet get away with it. Does Pixar’s “rule” that it is ‘cheating to use coincidences to get your characters out of trouble’, always apply?
In exploring how to get the audience to buy into these moments where the writer needs story to intrude over character or even logic, Stu and Chas dive into FINDING NEMO, MICHAEL CLAYTON and PULP FICTION (as well as honourably mentioning THOR II, OUT OF SIGHT, MAD MAX FURY ROAD, EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, INDEPENDENCE DAY and those bloody Giant Eagles in both RETURN OF THE KING and THE HOBBIT).
In back matter, we talk about moving forward vs working backwards when developing screenwriting skills.
- io9.com: The 22 rules of storytelling according to Pixar
- Wikipedia: Coincidence
- Scriptmag.com – SPECS & THE CITY: Deus Ex Machina and “Lord of the Rings” by Brad Johnson
- YouTube: FINDING NEMO – Fish Are Friends Not Food (flashback to diver at 2:53)
- YouTube: MICHAEL CLAYTON Clip
- YouTube: PULP FICTION – Butch kills Vincent
- YouTube: PULP FICTION – Divine Intervention / Oh man I shot Marvin in the face…
- YouTube: THE HOBBIT – Eagles Rescue
- YouTube: White Boy Bob’s Death – OUT OF SIGHT
- Draft Zero: DZ-05: Shifting audience point of view and heightened emotions
- Draft Zero: DZ-15: World Building Rules, rOkay?
BACK MATTER LINKS
- reddit.com: clmazin comments on There are No Martells in the GOT Pilot
- Open Channel: Stephen Cleary Story Structure Workshop
- Kickstarter: Eat Me film – Draft Zero community project
- Draft Zero: DZ-07: On Rewriting – How much Bull is left in the Hustle?
- Draft Zero – Short Documents: http://traffic.libsyn.com/draftzero/Draft-Zero_ShortDocuments.zip
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