It takes a long time

Spike Jonze: I feel like even if they’re going to lose their jobs they can’t possibly care about the movie as much as I do. And they can’t possibly go to the lengths that I’ll go to protect it. With every film, I’m so grateful that they made my movie and I will extend myself to keep the conversation open and hear their thoughts. But with Wild Things, there was a point where it started to feel abusive. There was a point where I said to somebody at the studio that I was working with, whom I’m actually close friends with now, I was like, “If I came to you and talked to you about your child the way you’re talking to me about my movie right now, you wouldn’t listen to me. If I came to you and said, ‘Man, your kid is fucked up. He’s a problem child and he is freaking me and everyone out. I think you should put him on medication. You know he’s a really fucked-up kid,’ you’re never going to listen to me because I’m judging your kid and I clearly don’t like or get your kid. But if you came to me and said, ‘Your kid is really special. I see how special he is. I sat and talked to him the other day and what he was talking about was amazing. But there’s a school that might be better for him than the school he’s in right now and I’ll go visit it with you if you want…,’ that’s a different thing. I’ll listen to you.”Judd: It takes a long time to find people who get what you do.

~Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow

Data and Movies

Even movie scripts can't escape the data analysis trend. Mr. Bruzzese of Motion Picture Group, a former statistics professor, analyzes scripts for movie studios. He relies on statistics and survey results of other movies. His findings show things like bowling scenes are present in movies that flop, so best to avoid them.

He doesn't currently use algorithms but I think it's only a matter of time.

How to be a Better Storyteller

Howard Suber, UCLA, in an interview on Using Stories To Guide Our Lives


Do you think that storytelling is always after the fact, that it’s how we interpret our lives, or do you think there’s something to learn from stories and the principles of dramatic structure that’s forward-looking, that we can use to guide our lives?


That’s an excellent question. Every so often in my personal life with friends, I’ll have somebody who will be telling me, it’s usually over a meal, about they’re in a relationship, and it’s in trouble and this trouble has been going on for some time, often years, and it’s now heading for a crisis. And it’s one of those things where you know sort of, even though they don’t verbalize it, they’re asking, “What do you think? What do you think I should do?”

And after listening to the narrative for a while, every so often, I’ll say, “What movie are you living now?” And it always produces the same response. The person is startled because it sounds initially like a trivial question. They’re usually telling the story with considerable agony, and so they kind of freeze like a deer. And then their eyes rotate, usually upwards to the right, which is where a lot of people go when they’re searching their memory bank, and then they’ll laugh.

That’s the important point of this, and they’ll laugh and say, “The Exorcist,” or something like that. And the laugh is a sign of recognition that the story they’ve been telling me has a recognizable structure, and once they give me that, they then usually laugh again and say something like, “Oh, my God.” I then say, as quietly as I can, “And where does the story go?” And that’s the advice I’ve given them.