What Film School Doesn't Teach You
There are a lot of things that I learned in film school. I learned about Three Act Structures, Five Act Structures, Rising Action, Inciting Incidents. I learned that Orson Welles made long movies and Charlie Chaplin made silent ones. I learned to survive the slow torture that was editing on Avid. I learned about the 180 Degree rule, frame rates, mise en scène-
-Actually no, not mise-en-scene, I had several professors lecture about mise en scène to me, I wrote several papers on it, and even got good grades on them. But to say I learned about mise en scène would be a stretch because I still don't know exactly what it is.
The point is I went to film school and I learned a lot. But looking back, there’s something that wasn’t emphasized enough. The most important part of a film isn’t its ability to be provocative or whether or not it fits perfectly into the three act structure. Special effects, airtight editing, top notch writing. These are all great. But the thing that makes a movie special is whether or not an audience can RELATE to it.
Out of all the books I had to buy in college, why wasn’t there one called “How To Make A Good Movie: Make It Relatable.” That’s the one I would have kept after graduation (I think I also kept Story by Robert McKee, I need to check the garage).
Anyways, you know why Blockbusters get a bad rep? Because they’re usually about cars crashing and buildings imploding. They’re not usually about people and relationships.
Think of some of your favorite shows and movies. Why do you love them? It’s probably because you can relate to something in them. Here’s a couple examples:
Bad Boys and Bad Boys II
Am I a cop? No. Do I live in Miami? No. Do I have best friends that piss me off? Do I piss them off? Do I love them anyway? Yes, Yes and Yes.
The Princess Diaries
Am I a princess? Only in my heart. Did I grow up feeling like the awkward one? Yes.
Also, how old were you guys when you realized Genovia is not real? Up until sophmore or junior year of high school, I thought it was a tiny country somewhere in Europe. This is the perfect spot to put that emoji, where the girl smacks her own face, I don’t know how to put emoji’s in this text, maybe I can just-
There we go.
Anyways, whenever I work on my screenwriting, I always ask myself if my characters are authentic. Can people RELATE to them? To their problems? Can I see myself in the stories I write? Will others be able to see themselves? If not, then what’s the point?
The world needs a lot of things right now. But it doesn’t need any more bad movies with unrelatable characters.