Jul
20
2013

Don’t like summer blockbuster formulas? There’s honestly something you can do about that.

I still don’t feel all that well, so let me be minimalist: here’s that Slate post about modern movies that I’ve been seeing being passed around…

Summer movies are often described as formulaic. But what few people know is that there is actually a formula—one that lays out, on a page-by-page basis, exactly what should happen when in a screenplay. It’s as if a mad scientist has discovered a secret process for making a perfect, or at least perfectly conventional, summer blockbuster.

The formula didn’t come from a mad scientist. Instead it came from a screenplay guidebook, Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need. In the book, author Blake Snyder, a successful spec screenwriter who became an influential screenplay guru, preaches a variant on the basic three-act structure that has dominated blockbuster filmmaking since the late 1970s.

…and I buy Suderman’s thesis, here.  My response is pretty simple, though: movies are becoming cheaper and cheaper to produce privately, just like every other form of art.  So people who want specific kinds of movies should do what people tired of big book publishing companies and music conglomerates have done; start patronizing alternative producers of the material that they want to see.  It’s not like the FX budget is going to be all that onerous…

Moe Lane

PS: I may be coming across as short, here: sorry, again, I’m kind of ill right now.  Seriously, though: somebody out there will take your money and give you a film that’s about the stuff that you want to see for two hours. It’ll be uneven, but that happens in the earliest stages of this sort of thing.

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