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Entries in Blueprints (44)

Friday
Nov022018

Blueprints: "Coco"

Feliz Día de los Muertos! To celebrate, Jorge looks at how the script for Disney’s “Coco” mixes two languages the same way the movie interconnects cultures.

I’ve written a couple of pieces in this site before about Coco. It was an extremely intimate and touching experience to be able to see my native culture represented to accurately and lovingly. It is a movie that perfectly captures the spirit of Mexicanism, of our fragile and ever-present relationship with death, family, and tradition. 

I saw the movie twice in theaters: once in its original English, and once in its Spanish dub. While I consider the dub to be a better version (but that perhaps has to do with the way I’ve always experienced animated films), the English one made me consider a new aspect of the film: the way it handled Spanish. It’s a movie explicitly set in a different country; one where a different language is spoken (unlike say, Brave). How can the script incorporate this essential cultural element without making it seem unauthentic? It turns out, they do it muy bien.

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Thursday
Oct252018

Blueprints: "Halloween (1978)"

This week Jorge goes back to Haddonfield in 1978 for the 40th anniversary of a horror classic to look at how the original film establishes its point of view.

Every script has a point of view. Even movies with multiple protagonists, or whose perspectives change from scene to scene, we are experiencing the events through someone’s lens at any given moment; even if that person is not a character, but someone behind the camera guiding us to what we’re supposed to perceive.

But there are movies with a more literal point of view, where what we are seeing is exactly what one of the characters is. A literal POV is used sparingly in movies, but it’s a great tool to get the audience in the mindset and subjective state of a film. The opening of the original Halloween is told entirely through a POV shot, and though it is abandoned quickly, this sets up the dangerous mood and tone of a franchise that's continued for generations...

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Friday
Oct192018

Blueprints: "A Simple Favor"

This week Jorge dives into martinis and missing persons, to examine the mythos of a perfect woman in the fall's most delightful surprise.

First impressions are important, and writers usually either build upon or subvert the first thing we see about a character: the clothes that they’re wearing, the setting that they appear in, the way they carry themselves, and the adjectives they use. All of these elements can tell us who a character is before they even say a word. 

A Simple Favor is all about image and perception. The image we present to the world, and the part of ourselves that we keep hidden. The way we are versus the way we are perceived. In particular, the film is about Emily’s image. Not only her physical looks (which are hugely important), but the aura and lore that she has created around her. The idea of Emily...

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Friday
Sep142018

Blueprints: "The Assassination of Gianni Versace"

We’re less than one week away from the Emmys. For the last time, Jorge takes a look into the scripts for episodes of major contenders before the ceremony.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace was a big departure from the first season of American Crime Story in many ways. First of all, it is told in reverse. It opens with the titular murder of the fashion designer, and goes backwards into the other three murders that Andrew Cunanan committed, and traces back his childhood and upbringing. The show is less a legal procedural like O.J. and more a psychological dive into the mind of a broken man, and the emotional ramifications of his actions. The two seasons have completely different visual and narrative styles. They are written by different people. They are linked only by the series title after the colon.

Writer Tim Robb Smith uses Andrew’s story to make a larger comment about, among many other things, fame, self-hatred and the trauma of the closet...

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Thursday
Sep062018

Blueprints: "Black Mirror: U.S.S. Callister"

Jorge continues to look into the Emmy nominees before the show on September 17th.

WARNING! Spoilers below for the Black Mirror episode "U.S.S. Callister"!

Black Mirror has to operate as an individual, stand-alone story in every episode. As an anthology series, there’s no cast of characters to follow through long arcs, no stories to pick up from, no built-in mythology or tone. In a way, this is incredibly freeing, as they can experiment as much as possible since he only thing that ties the episodes together is a theme. But being basically TV movies (which is what they submit themselves as with the Emmys), they also have to to the groundwork for the audience every time.

And it’s not simple groundwork. Black Mirror revolves around the dangers, consequences, benefits and untapped potential of technology. Elaborate worlds, complex gadgets, and characters living in somewhat alternate universes are built into its fabric. It’s always part of the journey to discover what terrifying side of our screen devices they’ll explore...

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Thursday
Aug302018

Blueprints: "The Crown"

Jorge continues to look into the pilot episodes of the Best Series contenders before the Emmys on Sept 17th

When we discuss pilot episodes, we often talk about the importance of introducing the world and the characters for the first time to an audience: the opening shot of an episode, their first line of dialogue, or how the characters are described when they appear on screen. First impressions are crucial.

However, the final image of a pilot is arguably just as important as the first one. It is the thing that will grasp the audience’s attention for the last time and make them want to tune in to the next episode (or not).  It is also often the moment that sets up the story arc for the rest of the series and offers a glimpse of where the main storyline will lead...

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