Learning editing from film!

  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    I'm always on the prowl for content that helps me better set up my story, the scenes inside it, and the pace and flow. Now, I loved Suicide Squad the movie. I accepted it as it was--a very difficult attempt at portraying bad guys as protagonists. I'll happily debate that one out with anyone! :D I do love a good debate...

    But occasionally I find a gem in the script writing, movie editing process that actually inspires my own writing. This is one of them. I thought others might benefit from it!

  • @Josey I feel like this guy is a more technical version of CinemaSins. (I actually haven't seen the Cinema Sins for Suicide Squad but I'll find it tomorrow to post here.) That is to say, Cinema SIns would notice all of the plot indescripencies (at least... theoretically; once you've watched a lot of the videos, you can tell which movies where he completely stopped paying attention AND only watched it 1-2 times tops) but CinemaSins is also comedic so it's not really focused on, say, the editing.

    In the morning, I'll also find the Honest Trailer. That one I did watch but, like the movie, I honestly don't remember it well :/

    Tbh, I feel like Suicide Squad shared one of the major probelms with Batman V Superman: It was so busy trying to set up future franchises that it forgot about the fact there won't be and future movies if they don't set this on up right. In my opinion, anyway :P But again, I've only watched it once, several months ago, so a lot of details are fuzzy.

  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    @typical_demigod I totally understand where you're coming from on this one. I have seen Cinema Sins and Honest Trailers, but it's one thing to joke at them and another to take an analytical look to understand why something feels off. Like I learned a valuable lesson from this guy--the setup/payoff. It's kind of one of those "dur" things, but this explained it in a way that made sense. I mean that last cut about the heart.. yeah totally not needed. As a writer, when I set up something, I have to be careful to include the right setups, and then no treat the reader like they are stupid. I don't think readers are mind you, but I do spend a silly amount of time going "Do I need to explain this better... or remind people?!" :D

    And yeah, I think Suicide Squad needed to be better written in general, but I dare anyone to write a story where the protagonists are actually villains...without making the back story insanely empathetic like they did with Maleficent. Fabulous movie, but in the end, trying to give people bad guys to root for is hard. Can you imagine rooting for the Emperor in Star Wars? Or seeing a movie where the dark side wins and is who you are rooting for the entire time as they wipe out all the horrible Jedi? Not easy. :D

  • @Josey Totally. I watch CinemaSins when I'm really bored. (I will admit that when I edit and I catch some weird mistake, though, I do it in his voice headdesk) Figuring out when you've done enough setting up and when you can let the plot element stand alone is definitely hard though. I'm actually pretty sure that I have the opposite problem-- I find it difficult to properly set up an something because in my head I'm just like "BUT THE CHARACTERS ALREADY KNOW ALL OF THIS" sigh

    As for making villains the good guys... it's all about perspective. I enjoy taking characters that are inherently evil, or else on the darker side of the spectrum, and making them out to be the heroes, or at least only antiheroes... Not sure if I accomplish it well, but I enjoy experimenting with it from time to time! ^_^ One is supposed to make their villain sympathetic, and that's basically the same thing, right?

    Now, if you're taking a downright evil character like the Emperor from Star Wars-- that would be a challenge worth experimenting with. But in something like Suicide Squad, they weren't all totally evil. They're bad guys, but they have fundamental values and morals that the audience can support. Also, I like to wonder if the heroes are really any better. The heroes are, often (esp. in today's TV), just as willing to kill a bunch of people just because they're on the side they don't support as the villains are. Thus, again: take the villain's POV and suddenly the tables are turned.

    And now I feel like both Batman V Superman and Civil War both missed huge opportunities in making the heroes seem like the villains everyone for some reason thought they were? But I digress. That's difficult to do in film compared to, say, a TV show (where you can just pick an episode to be the odd one out).

    TL;DR: If you can keep your bias off the page, anything is possible, really. If you presented Suicide Squad and didn't say on the first page "look guys it's a team of villains!", would we really look at them as anything more than antiheroes? Even for a character like Joker.

  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    @typical_demigod ...and this is why I love this community. It's input like this that can be interesting. And yeah, I think you're on to something as I hear that ding in my head when I catch errors in movies now, lol.

    When it comes to making a character sympathetic, it's hard. I mean, yeah the easy cope out with the dark side is they teach selfishness. But there are so many interesting characters that bridge the grey side. I feel they need a bit of love too. Now I'm wondering if I need to watch the wolf of wall street... after all he was villian in so many people's eyes.

    Perhaps the real problem is that to do Suicide Squad justice they would have to have done proper backstory movies, where we can see just how they view things. No one is evil for the sake of evil. It is all about perspective as you said. Can you understand why someone would want to ban an entire species from their settlement if they have spent their entire life fighting them? Even if there are people who have good experiences with said species... It's a style of writing that requires digging into some rather interesting and deep subject mater that I now want to spend my time doing. :D

  • @Josey XD I love talking with other writers because you can glean so much info.

    Indeed. Sometimes selfishness can really work, but now that you say that, I want to see a genuinely selfless villain. realizes that one of her minor characters probably qualifies as a villain but would do anything for the people he cares about I've never seen Wolf of Wall Street and tbh I'm not really sure what it's about, so I got no comment there.

    I've thought that, and while I know why they didn't (I mean, DC is really not known for their movies in the way Marvel is, and factor in that by the time DC finishes out all the prequel movies, contracts will be running up like is happening with the Marvel franchise?) I really wish they had made a bunch of backstory movies. As someone who knows nothing about the DC universe beyond the cartoon series I watched as a kid and the episode here and there from their live action shows, I think it wouldn't been great.

    The way you're talking about banning an entire species from a settlement = racism, in my book. Why have people in the past banned people from, say, sitting at a counter, just for their race? I haven't heard a legitimate reason yet. But yeah, I see where you're going because it's relatively common in my worlds. Earthlings is a huge example. Which is ironical, given that there's only two distinct species in Earthlings, but you wouldn't guess it by the way fairies, humans, and halfbloods are talked about.

  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    @typical_demigod It is indeed a form of racism, but what if the species is a sentient AI? Does that still qualify for racism? These are the questions i love seeing explored in Sci-Fi, fantasy, etc. I feel that by using other species, we have a way of talking about true life decisions like.. racism, sexism, etc, but if an elf is doing it versus a human female there are differences because of how we relate to creatures that fit our vision of ourselves.

  • @Josey I don't know; I've honestly never really thought about robots in very much depth. Most stories take a spin on sentient AI that make them the villains, so it could be interesting to see them as an accepted species, really.

    The only thing I think when using fantasy species for talking about real forms of discrimination is that you have to use it with caution, especially when you think about humanity. Why would humans suddenly be totally accepting of everyone in their species but then completely despise another one? Especially if the other one is fairly similar to them. It's easier to write, say, racism towards another species, but I think writers (understandably) get squeamish when it comes to writing, say, racism within humanity. Even in a SF world, that's something you can confront. (IMO, we'll still have those problems in the future, but I never said I was optimistic for humanity.)

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