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Entries in Screenplays (238)

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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Thursday
Oct112018

Blueprints: "Crazy Rich Asians"

I’m back. Thanks everyone for bearing with the small hiatus that the column took for the past few weeks. Who knew being overworked and sick wasn’t a good time? For our return, let’s take a look at the biggest movie of the summer, and how a pivotal scene operates in many emotional levels. -Jorge

Warning! Crazy Rich Spoilers ahead!

There are many things to admire in Crazy Rich Asians. Consider theway it reinvents a rom-com formula that seemed to have gotten stale. Or its historic all-Asian cast, something that hadn’t happened in an American movie in over two decades. Big themes of family, legacy, tradition and culture running through its veins. And Michele Yeoh’s stare. One scene in the movie encompasses all of these traits.

The mahjong game, the final confrontation between Rachel (Constance Wu) and Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) was not in the original novel; it was written specifically for the film. It's one of the most emotionally powerful moments of the movie, where Rachel finally gives up the fight and backs away from her fiancée and his family that clearly doesn’t want her there. But in the scene, Rachel reclaims power and control in many levels at the same time. Let’s take a look at the script to see how the most tense movie moment of the summer was crafted. Sorry, Mission Impossible...

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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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Friday
Aug242018

Blueprints: "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"

As we approach the Emmys, Jorge is looking at the pilot episodes of Best Series contenders. 

Amy Sherman-Palladino made a name for herself with dialogue. Best known as the creator of Gilmore Girls, but also behind the one-season wonder Bunheads, her newest series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel follows a 1950s housewife who finds refuge in standup comedy after her husband leaves her. The delightfully twee vintage setting and the world of verbose comedy sets and big performer personalities is a perfect fit for her now immediately recognizable patter-chatter, all anchored by a revelatory performance from Rachel Brosnahan. 

Let’s take a look at the climax of the pilot episode: Midge’s drunken, cathartic stand-up set. How she slowly wins the audience. How it escalates on the page. How the endless sentences, tangents, and colorful adjectives create explosive tension...

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