On June 2nd, Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman enters the fray of summer blockbuster season. Featuring an iconic character with 75 years of history, the film is a watershed moment for the superhero genre. But why is Wonder Woman such an anomaly and how did we get here?
Every great movie has memorable moments. These are the scenes that end up on the poster and splashed all over the trailers. The ones you talk about for years to come.
Today we are talking about the other half. The parts of the story that don’t get the limelight but actually draw the audience into the characters and their situation. The human elements that actually make movies work and transform them into something larger than the sum of their parts.
I’ve been spending more time lately working on a few stories of my own. It seems like every day I’m learning the difference between picking apart and analyzing someone else’s story and the much harder task of writing something of your own.
When we critique someone else’s work, we usually forget the long process that went into bringing that narrative to life. All we see are the flaws and the mistakes and we overlook the fact that even a bad movie is still a finished movie. A poorly executed story that managed to actually get finished is still superior than a great idea that only exists in your head.
Everyone has an opinion on what makes a great story, but very few people have what it takes to create a compelling story of their own. Why is that?
Could it be that storytelling is actually much harder than we all assume?
Today we are talking about where stories come from, specifically how they emerge out of our personal experiences and unique authorial perspective. We’ll talk about the inspiration behind The Hunger Games, Spielberg’s aliens, and the critically panned Cars 2.
When I say that stories come from people, I mean that stories are also inseparable from their creators. In many ways, they must communicate the specific life experiences of their authors.
Sources for this episode:
Suzanne Collin on the Inspiration for the Hunger Games
Scott, Linklater, and Russell’s Personal Experiences
John Lasseter on Cars 2
It’s finally here. After years of waiting we’re finally getting a team up movie featuring the most iconic superheroes on the planet. So far the reviews have been pretty brutal. Is the movie any good?
Spoiler alert: I love this movie.
0:00 – My thoughts before watching the movie
16:00 – Non-spoiler Review
26:00 – Spoiler-filled Review
Today is a special one because I’m the guest on one of my favorite podcasts in the world: Making Movies Is HARD.
I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with indie filmmakers Alrik Bursell and Timothy Plain about what makes a good story. We discussed our favorite storytelling principles, delved into some of the nuts and bolts of how stories function, and examined Andrew Stanton’s excellent TED talk.
The whole reason I started the Story Punch podcast was to try and figure out how to tell compelling stories. It’s incredible to sit down with a couple of filmmakers who really know their stuff and swap ideas with them. I hope you’ll give it a listen and check out their podcast!
Conflict is a crucial part of every story. It’s the driving force that moves the narrative forward. Without conflict, there can be no story.
How do you create conflict?
Where does it come from?
On today’s episode we look at three different sources for conflict in a story:
- interpersonal conflict
- environmental conflict
- inner conflict
Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes the franchise in a fresh new direction. With a dash of lens flare and more than a hint of genius, J.J. Abrams has managed to create a fascinating blend of new characters, exotic locales, and non-stop nostalgia that delivers a higher concentration of dopamine than scientists ever though possible. It’s enough to make you forget the prequels altogether.
I had high hopes for this film and I’m happy to confess that despite some questionable creative decisions and a few unexpected but really not that unexpected plot twists, Episode VII does not disappoint.
Ok I haven’t actually seen the movie yet, but I just couldn’t wait to review it anyway. Listen to the review below.
Theme is not an easy thing to pin down. You might be tempted to think that theme doesn’t matter, but theme can be a helpful tool in finding out exactly what it is you want your story to focus on.
On today’s episode we look at how theme can become a driving force in a story. It can and should be the big unifying idea that brings all the disparate elements of a story together.
Listen below or download it on iTunes.