Friday, 16 November 2007


...are the same person!

Well no, I made that bit up. Nuns - no sense of humour.

Lock and Load went mad and lashed out the money from the collection plate on Chris Soth's mini-movie method, the reading of which did not make me cry, my head hurt or caused me to shoplift the communion wine. We have Sister Mary Carlsberg for that.

I'm a little suspicious of Gurus who claim that their method is the only one. I suspect that, in keeping with us ordinary mortals, everyone has their own way of writing a script based on a hundred random approaches, a mish-mash of theories, ideas, courses, discussion, sheer bloody-mindedness and so forth.

Chris Soth divides the structure of a film into eight mini-movies which renders them less scary. His 'book' comes in pdf format (away with tedious page turning!) and just as an experiment, I shall write a script the structure of which will be based on his ideas which I shall post about from time-to-time for your edification and amusement.

Thank you to Lucy for her original post on Soth's method. Click on his name for further details on the right.

In other news, Amazon sent a message this morning. In the subject header were the cryptic words 'We have received Satan...' I assured the Good Sisters that any recreation of Ken Russell's 'The Devils' was unnecessary. It was merely an acknowledgement of my returning the DVD Satan (starring Vincent Cassel). Not good if you're squeamish about eyes.

So, all you would-be gurus out there. If you had one piece of advice to give an adoring acolyte, what would it be?


Jon Peacey said...

Where did this Chris Soth mini-movie method come from? It keeps sounding as if it's something ultra-new yet I was taught something ever so similar back in 2004. It had a different name (or rather no name at all) but it's very similar.

By the way, today I got a message from HMV that Satan is on his way... I am very squeamish about eyes though... that's going to be, er, fun...?

Elinor said...

Yes Jon, it will be fun but it will also be very French.

Jon Peacey said...

...but it's eyes... if there's a razor blade, cut-throat, scalpel or knife I'm out of there!!!

...but as long as it's not shockingly terrible like Haute Tension!

Elinor said...

Ooh! Tell about Haute Tension...?

Jon Peacey said...

There's not really that much to tell: it starts off as a strong slashery-type film with, indeed much tension (though less height, b-dum!) and that genre standard women in peril. And all goes most swimmingly for much of the running-time... and then comes a twist so monumentally stooopid that I could no longer take the film seriously! I can't say too much without giving the film away but, put it this way, as the credits rolled and the cat stretched... I didn't feel on edge, as I would prefer, but slightly cheated and confused. But with a distinctly Gallic sense of Ennui!

So, 80% enjoyable film, 20% sheer stoopidity! Could have been a genre classic.

Jon Peacey said...

...forgot: does have Cecile de France who's a bit lovely even with a bad haircut.

Unknown said...

Hey, it's SATAN.

Love that headline, will try to direct ALL the traffic I can here while it's still up...

Hi Jon and Elinor -- speaking of tension...that, since, if there were one piece of advice from me, that would be the one-word piece of advice I would deliver:


But Elinor knows that by now...Jon, I'm sure you were taught something similar, and I'm glad to hear it. This IS the method I was taught at USC and it's really the "old school" way that filmmakers in the Golden Age of Movies thought about story...what's new is that we can access it again and write better with it, by breaking movies down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Chris Soth

Elinor said...

Oh no! Busted! And by the mighty Chris himself! Seeing as you are in fact, Satan, I'm glad you have a sense of humour. And the great thing about your method is that reading it doesn't make me want to cry.

Jon Peacey said...

I'm back and with an almost mobile wrist!

The strange thing about some of the methods that are around is when they come along with different names! It's just plain confusing! ;-) One possible reason that it came up from my tutors is because some of them were taught at USC (I think) and also I think some may have taught there... but don't quote me!

I think it was mentioned as Golden Age Old Skool at the time although I don't think anybody mentioned where it originated: presumably it's an extrapolation from the single reel length (12 mins) from the really early days. 8x12' being 96'. Just hypothesizing!

As for Tension... I wish someone had mentioned at the beginning of my course that it could be 'Dramatic' tension... I spent a whole semester just flinging in what I assumed to be tense chases purely because the term wasn't qualified... and I sometimes take things a little bit literally. I should really have been able to work it out given some of my tastes: not that many chase sequences in Bergman, Tarkovsky or Kieslowski!