(Week 28: July 7 – 13)
A good writing week, in terms of word counts, but I’m still enmeshed in chapter 3. I don’t have the ending worked out for this one yet, and it’s a bit hard to write without knowing where I’m heading. More on this when I get there …
A real grab-bag of viewing delights this week, so let’s get into it.
Rather happily, the Marvel rewatch brought us up to Spider-Man: Homecoming over the weekend. I was, perhaps, a little worried this one would seem like old news in the wake of the very excellent follow-up, but it still stands up. I’ve seen this several times now, and I still get a kick out of the big twist in the second act.
On Sunday (and Monday) I had some time to spare and fancied watching some classic Doctor Who, so I picked The War Games, which I had never seen before. For the uninitiated, this is a ten-episode story, so it’s a bit of a meaty epic and not something to be plunged into lightly. I was surprised how easy it was to watch. There’s not a huge amount of plot going on, but the writing keeps things moving at a snappy pace and there are some great performances from all the key players.
For Fridate horror I picked the found footage anthology film V/H/S/2 after reading about it in an article earlier in the week. Each of the stories was completely different from the other, and found different ways of building in the found footage conceit (e.g. an eye implant, a GoPro, a documentary crew, etc). I think my favourite has to be the cyclist out for his morning ride (wearing his GoPro) who gets attacked by zombies. It was a completely original way to tell a zombie tale, and brought both laughs and tears. And excellently gross zombie effects too.
I also managed to catch up with a film I’ve been meaning to watch for ages: The Imitation Game. Gotta say, I was a bit disappointed in this one. It was pretty engrossing, but it came off as a by-the-numbers Oscar contender. The thing that puzzled me most was that it clearly strove for a sense of authenticity, while also embellishing or outright changing the true story in numerous ways. I get that movies have a different agenda, and different limitations, than history text books but this was a case of creating a new story with the bleached out bones of the facts. It really undermined my appreciation of the film, knowing that I was seeing something that bore so little relation to true events.
I’m not going to list out every podcast I listened to this week (or all the things that I failed to read). I did, however, want to single out an episode of Scriptnotes called How To Write A Movie.
I started listening to Scriptnotes mainly because it’s co-hosted by Craig Mazin, who wrote Chernobyl and who I enjoyed listening to on the accompanying podcast. He normally partners with John August (whose website I’ve enjoyed in the past) for Scriptnotes, but for this particular episode he’s flying solo.
As the title of the episode implies, he provides his own framework for writing a solid movie script—and it’s refreshingly different from most of the structures you’ll have followed before. Now, as the core of a good movie script is having a strong story and compelling characters, there’s also a lot of advice here for writers in general.
The podcast is about 45 minutes long, and completely free to listen to, so go out give it a spin.