Actionb Movies With Some Other Scents

You have been to the movies lately you may have experienced a strangely familiar feeling: that of having already seen the film. Not exactly that film, but several of its narrative spring: the hero who passes himself soap by his mentor in the first 15 minutes. The villain who gets caught on purpose (The Dark Knight, The Avengers, Skyfall, Star Trek Into Darkness), the moment of despair and confusion half an hour before the end of the film (The Fall of the White House, Oblivion, 21 Jump Street, Fast & Furious 6). Now at you can find the best films.

It is not a phenomenon of déjà vu. Summer movies are often criticized for being stereotypical. What few people know is that there is a real recipe explaining, page by page, exactly what should happen on the screen and when. As if a mad scientist had discovered a secret process for making the perfect summer blockbuster or at least perfectly conventional.

A structure is taken as a recipe

This recipe was not invented by a mad scientist, it comes from a manual: The elementary rules for writing a script. In this book, Blake Snyder, a successful freelance screenwriter who has become an influential guru in his field, advocates a variant of the three-act structure that has dominated the making of blockbuster films since the late 1970s.

When Snyder published his book in 2005, it was as if an explosion was devastating Hollywood. It offered something that was missing from the previous works of scriptwriting gurus. Instead of an overview of how a scenario is held, he decomposed the structure into three acts into a detailed “description of the strong points”, i.e. the 15 pivotal events essential to the story, then attributed to each of them a name and the page number. Knowing that each page of a script normally corresponds to a minute of film that made Snyder’s guide a film writing recipe, minute by minute.

Snyder, who died in 2009, would no doubt have disputed this interpretation. In The Elementary Rules, he insists that his description of the strong points is a structure, not a recipe, based on proven principles of scriptwriting. It is a technique for making a product that can work not a scriptwriting method like a text with holes.

It may have been Snyder’s intention, but things turned out differently. In reality, Snyder’s scriptwriting roadmap has taken power in Hollywood, where young and old films do not take off from his strengths and his pagination. Intentionally or not, it has become a recipe a formula that threatens the world of original scriptwriting as we know it.

Script gurus like Syd Field and Robert McKee have been advocating the fundamental virtues of the three-act structure for decades. For Field and McKee, it is primarily an organizing principle a way of understanding the form of a story. The narrative paradigm proposed by Field, for example, has only a handful of general elements, attached to groups of pages.

Each of its 15 strong points corresponds to a specific page number or group of pages. And Snyder explains very clearly that each of these moments is essential to any well-structured scenario. If it is not compulsory to follow the pagination to the letter, explains Snyder, it is important to respect roughly the proportions.