One of the other things I had an opportunity to see while in SoCal this last weekend was the symptoms of THE INDUSTRY.
Here is Silicon Valley, THE INDUSTRY is high tech. Poor high tech. But in the LA area, THE INDUSTRY is entertainment. I met a screenwriter. He was quite a nice guy. Perhaps he had more personality than the rest of the world knew how to deal with, but I quite enjoyed talking with him.
I asked him about the format of screenplay writing. He grew even more animated, and gave me a book called “Screenplay” all about how to write a script.
As it turns out, there is pretty much only one way to organize the events in a movie. In the first thirty minutes, you have to introduce all the major characters, and create a dilemma for the characters to work on. Then the next 60 minutes is everyone working on the dilemma, and then creates a second plot twist or problem. The last 30 minutes resolves and wraps up the story.
Pretty much, that’s it. Almost all the movies in the world, and they all have the same structure.
I find that astounding. As I think about it, I can recognize the pattern in movies I’ve seen.
Perhaps I should be disgusted that “the masses” are so easily satisfied, so easily entertained. Maybe if I were feeling more cynical, I would feel that way.
But I don’t. I am amazed and in awe of the creative power humans possess. I have often been astounded, as I play my piano, how the same notes, and the same structures in music can create such fabulous variety. I love all the songs I play, and yet they are so similar. They all have the same kinds of chords and patterns in their structure.
So movies, which seem as different as snowflakes, can follow the same pattern. But that structure gives a container to the creative minds. A writer or a director can know where to place the pieces and give thousands, millions of people a scary, hilarious, or profound experience.