Monday, November 16, 2015

TODAY'S NUGGET: Unbroken (2014) - Crafting Invisible Tone & Theme Into Scenes

[Quick Summary: The amazing life of Louie Zamperini, WWII POW survivor, 1936 Olympics runner, survivor at sea.]

Zamperini's true life story is crammed full of unusual adventures:

- He ran in the 1936 Olympics.
- He fought in WWII and was stranded at sea.
- He was picked up by the Japanese and survived their brutal POW camps.

This script is worth reading because:
- All that adventure is there on the page.
- This includes the triumphs and the scary bits.
- It is easy to read. Even the war torture scenes are written with sensitivity.

But most of all, you should read it because you will FEEL the structure, but you won't notice it.

What did the writers do?  They made sure each scene had hope as its tone and theme.

How did they do it? Zamperini and friends into some terrible situations, but they MAKE HOPEFUL DECISIONS.

ex. Zamperini is stranded at sea, but continues to care for an injured comrade.
ex. The Bird makes starving Zamperini run a race. He crawls across the finish line.
ex. When a shark lunges, fellow soldier Mac whacks it and saves Zamperini.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: I think tone has a lot to do with a character's attitude. Zamperini chooses hope even in the darkest times.

As for the theme of hope, his consistent hopeful actions unify the whole story. 

Unbroken (2014)
by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, and Richard LaGravenese, and William Nicholson
Based on the book by Laura Hillenbrand

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