January 30, 2018
Lessons from the Screenplay (YouTube)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an exciting thriller about an unlikely pair of misfits trying to solve a forty-year-old crime, but it’s also interesting from a structural perspective. It uses a non-conventional, five-act structure. This video breaks down the anatomy of an act, to examine how the film breaks the rules while following them at the same time.
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LFTS Recommended Reading List
Books in this video
Into the Woods: A Five-Act Journey Into Story by John Yorke
Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field
Watch the previous video on The Avengers and traditional act structure:
David Fincher quote:
BFI LFF: MINDHUNTER Q&A with David Fincher hosted by Nev Pierce. Audio
Other Lessons from the Screenplay:
Gone Girl — Don’t Underestimate the Screenwriter
True Detective vs. Se7en — Creating Light Amongst The Dark
The Discarded Image (Julian Palmer)
Published on 14 Nov 2017
In this video essay I breakdown how David Fincher uses popular music in films like Fight Club, The Social Network and the new Netflix series Mindhunter.
Posted by Donnia Harrington | Aug 30, 2017
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo deserved better. David Fincher’s adaptation of the popular Swedish novel ranks amongst his most undercelebrated movies. Although it was critically praised and did moderately well at the box office (oh yeah, and it landed Rooney Mara a Best Actress nomination), it somehow still wasn’t enough for the studio to decide to continue the trilogy.
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Posted by Brandi Blahnik | Aug 28, 2017
One of the most challenging aspects of storytelling is showing a character thinking. It might sound like a straightforward task, but think about what you look like while studying. Ever watched someone complete a puzzle? It’s a quiet, meditative task marked by trial and error. In reality, there’s remarkably little head-scratching or furrowed brows. Visually, it’s rather unimpressive.
So how does a creator reveal thinking—poring over material, investigative work, head-buried-in-clues research—without absolutely boring the audience? How does a director reinvent frustration, the false lead, the maddening search, particularly over a two-hour film?
David Fincher has made a career of chronicling that very process.
Not only has Fincher produced some of the most haunting detective sequences in film—Se7en, Zodiac, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo—but you’d be unlikely to find criticism calling his films boring. He’s a master at tension-building and unapologetic about his resolutions. Perhaps this is why so many of his characters fall prey to their own obsessive madness. The unraveling of a character is something Fincher portrays with patience and deliberateness.
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Rooney Mara is addicted to filmmaking vision, and it’s resulted in one of the most surprising young careers Hollywood has right now.
Jul 7, 2017
It’s the “A Ghost Story” scene critics can’t stop talking about. Still grieving from the loss of her husband, the widow M returns home and consumes an entire vegan chocolate pie in one sitting. David Lowery captures the moment in a nearly four-minute long take, but the stillness of the camera makes it feel like an eternity. It’s up to Rooney Mara to fill the frame with a sense of hopelessness that anyone who’s been through the grieving process can relate to. She does so with the commitment and the sensitive gusto that has defined a majority of her 12 years as an actress.
Mara first began acting as an extra in movies starring her sister, Kate, before landing television supporting roles on shows like “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Women’s Murder Club” and “ER.” Now she’s one of the most exciting film stars in the business, with one of the year’s best films in select theaters (read IndieWire’s A review here) and a potential Oscar contender hitting awards season on November 24 (“Mary Magdalene”). Her ascension to becoming an indie film darling has been marked by careful decision-making, and it all started with a shot from Hollywood’s most demanding auteur.
With “A Ghost Story” now playing, it’s become increasingly clear Rooney Mara will never stop surprising when it comes to her performances. Here’s how she made it happen.
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