Thanks to Matt Lohr for all the screenwriting insight shared during the February Write On Meeting on Blog Talk Radio. Lohr is co-author of Dan O’Bannon’s Guide to Screenplay Structure (twitter is @DanOBannonBook).
We talked about this year’s nominated screenplays, what makes a screenplay Oscar-worthy, and tips for screenwriters.
Here are three of Matt’s takeaways from this show:
1. Understatement is key. Characters don’t have to say what they’re feeling and thinking, and what they’ve been through, in order for us to understand who they are and where they’re coming from. A number of this year’s nominated films, notably Moonrise Kingdom and Lincoln, are master classes in giving us characters whose personalities tell us their stories without “telling us their stories.”
2. Building a world is not just important for filmmakers writing science fiction and fantasy. Moonrise Kingdom and Silver Linings Playbook are both films that ostensibly take place in the “real world,” but through careful accretion of very particular detail, paint a place both familiar and exotic.
3. Know what you’re doing when it comes to metaphor. At no point in Beasts of the Southern Wild do the writers ascribe any particular meaning to the titular prehistoric creatures that are loosed by the hurricane, but I’ve heard many different interpretations from many different viewers, all proving that the film’s metaphors speak to everyone in a very specific way that, ironically, serves to make the film resonate in a universal way.
Listen to our entire conversation:
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Also post 2012 Accomplishment and 2013 Goals.Tags: Academy Awards Awards Beasts of the Southern Wild Dan O’Bannon’s Guide to Screenplay Structure Debra Eckerling Lincoln Matt Lohr Moonrise Kingdom Movies Screenwriting Silver Linings Playbook Write On! Meeting Write On! Online Writers Guild of America