Use the Force, Michael


The problem with writing anything is usually that an entire universe awaits creation and you don’t know where to focus. You can’t start with the Big Bang when the love story doesn’t happen for another 14 billion years. You can’t spend 250 pages describing the haunted house and have the scary stuff occur in the last 50 pages.

Start as close to the end as possible.
Kurt Vonnegut

This the glory and the restriction of writing. It’s like being a child conjuring up the toys you want to play with, the building blocks you want in any shape and colour you desire. Of course, there are restrictions. Whatever you build must adhere to certain laws – just as children’s building block constructions obey gravity in real life. Stories follow rules on plot (something must happen) and character (someone must be affected by plot), etc.  But apart from a few storytelling parameters, what happens in your universe is pretty much up to you.

MichaelArndtSo spare a thought for Mr Michael Arndt. He is the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3. A man of considerable talent and imagination. A writer who is more than capable of conjuring up unique and fantastic building blocks to play with. So, it must be a strange situation for him to be given several dumper trucks worth of second-hand building blocks and be told to construct something brilliant out of it. Oh yeah, and if it doesn’t appease approximately 857 million drooling fans your life, never mind your career, won’t be worth spit.

Among the building blocks are figurines. There’s something resembling Big Foot, a golden waiter, a princess, a masked baddie. The figurines say things like “I have a bad feeling about this” and “use the Force” and “Kessel runs”. There must be combat scenes involving frozen laser swords and rayguns. There must be an opening scene in space, and a cliffhanger, and a love story, and not too violent coz it’s for kids, and a funny character, and be political, and have stunts, and screen wipes, and visit different planets, and start things that won’t be resolved until two movies later, and finish things that were started by someone else in 1977…

But apart from that the universe is entirely yours to create.

Mr Michael Arndt. I salute you. Looking forward to seeing your space block buster!

One comment

  1. […] See: Use the Force, Michael […]

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