Friday, August 10, 2007

It's not really about bamboo

I watched Galaxy Quest again last night. I've been thinking a lot lately about ensemble films and what makes them work because recently Fun Joel had a conversation on his blog about that and Bamboo Killers is an ensemble film. The zombie picture I'm working on is also an ensemble film. Come to think of it, I haven't written very many hero-centric scripts in my history as a writer.

What I've noticed is something many smarter people have noticed before, and that's that ensemble films have to stick very closely to the theme. It's easy to give each character an arc that fits only them, but for an ensemble film to be truly good each character must have an arc that echoes the larger arc of the piece.

In Reservoir Dogs every character is dealing with a betrayal. In Galaxy Quest every character must accept who they are and live up to their potential despite their own doubts. And the film at large is about making something fake into something real.

I looked at Bamboo Killers. Although each character has his or her own arc, they don't necessarily reflect the larger theme of the piece, which is fear of being yourself.

I looked at Game Night as a short. Although each character has an arc, they aren't necessarily related to each other. But they're close. So I realized that all the characters are wrestling with societal expectations of themselves as women or men. That's like a subset of the major theme for the feature.

Then I looked at all the other chapters and tried to figure out what the theme of each is as it relates to identity. It's not difficult, really. It's a few lines here and there to reinforce what we already have.

I did a pass on Game Night already and sent it to Partner with an explanation of the new mission. I sure hope he agrees with me because I already did it.

In the meantime I'm casting for Game Night, which we'll hopefully film the third weekend in September. So things are progressing one way or another.


  1. Thanks for the shout out! :-)

  2. you live in California, so I was wondering if you could do me a favor:

    Tell Ryan Gosling that "The Slaughter Rule" was pretty much the most boring movie ever. But he was fantastic in it.

    Also, I'd like to marry him.


    (ps: see the movie for him, fast forward past the cliches. Somehow they made football a snorefest)

  3. That cat is freakin' me out.

  4. Interesting thoughts on theme. The Big Chill is an excellent example of which you speak.
    Hope to see you at breaky tomorrow!


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