Monday, February 1, 2016

2016 OSCARS: Inside Out (2015) - How to Make the Reader Feel

[Quick Summary: Five Emotions try to steer their human, Riley, from birth to 11 years old.]

I read this in a screenwriter interview recently:
There is something [in my script] that they connect to emotionally. I think that’s what we’re in the business of doing... Some write really smart scripts, but if I’m left doing more thinking than feeling, then it has failed to do its job....[One Oscar nominated film this year is] a really well-made film but it leaves me somewhat empty. I’m not walking away asking questions about the human condition. (emphasis mine)
That's the holy grail for me. How do you make the reader feel?

In this Pixar script, the writers seemed to rely on small, very primal, visual cues.

The scene below focuses on the unfamiliar, and a baby's automatic reaction to it.

On the surface, it is just about an unfamiliar food (taste), an unfamiliar scent (smell),

But emotionally, we recognize --> connect --> experience that universal unease.

ex."Dad lifts a spoonful of food to Riley's mouth.

INT. HEADQUARTERS

JOY: Hmmm. This looks new.

FEAR/SADNESS: Do you think it's safe?/ What is it?

ON THE SCREEN: a spoonful of broccoli.

DISGUST enters.

DISGUST: Okay, caution! There is a dangerous smell, people. Hold on, what is what?

JOY (V.O.): This is Disgust. She basically keeps Riley from being poisoned, physically and socially.

DISGUST: That is not brightly colored or shaped like a dinosaur...Hold on guys...It's broccoli!

Disgust GAGS and pulls a lever.

INT. KITCHEN

YOUNG RILEY: Yucky!

Riley swats the broccoli. It flies into Dad's face."

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: I found that small, primal, visual actions on the page seem to tap more easily into my feelings (right brain) vs. thinking (left brain).

Inside Out (2015)
by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley
Story by Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen

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