Just saw PIRATES BAND OF MISFITS, which I loved. What fun!
One thing about animated films, they really remind me that they came from a script. Despite my years of experience of going to movies as well as writing them, live action films somehow seem real… like they just photographed real people in the middle of their day. No actors. No lighting. Just real life, with no script. I know, I know, it’s stupid. But that’s how deeply I get into a live action movie.
An animated film, though, is so 100% fake, that the writing shines through a little bit more clearly.
In PIRATES, one thing that came through is the main character’s low point. Wow, does he have one. And I noticed one thing about it, too. One interesting thing.
He loses everything.
All his friends.
All his money.
Everything he holds dear.
He’s been deserted by his best friend.
And he’s at rock bottom. No way he could get any lower.
There’s no way he can get out of his problem.
That’s the key to it all. There is no solution for the guy except to take up a life as a friendless loser who makes a living collecting change from phone booths. There is no way out of it. The deeper the hole that you, the writer, put your hero in, the better. The darker the hole, the better. Put him or her in a hole that you can’t figure out a way to escape from… then, keep thinking until you come up with a surprising, believable, and elegant solution. Then you are on the right track.
If you can’t figure out a solution to the hero’s deep-dark-hole problem over a period of two or three hours or days… the the movie going public won’t be able to figure it out in five minutes.