Saturday, 28 November 2009

Seeing further

I have it on good authority that, in addition to reading the best of the books about screenwriting, the next activity we should engage in is actually watching stuff. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? What may seem to others (friends, colleagues, members of the family) to be lounging around on the sofa is really serious research (and please note that I do not use adverbs lightly!).

In the past, we were always... (how can I put this?) reasonably careful about what we watched. I think this was largely because we didn’t want to waste our time and liked to think of ourselves as being... sort of discerning.

Well, do you know what? We have discovered that we have been missing some good programmes and films that, before doing this screenwriting degree, we wouldn’t have considered watching, either because of who was in them or the poor poster designs or the titles...

But now we realise we have been missing out. So by broadening our boundaries – by just a little, mind, because there’s still some dodgy material out there – we have enjoyed some amazing stories.

“A person can grow only as much as his horizon allows.”
John Powell, (date unknown)


  1. Graham, I have a list, I prepared for a friend, of odd, yet brilliant, films, other than the more obvious mainstream, or very very famous ones. You may have seen some of them, but they all have something special to offer in terms of originality, writing, structure and cinematography which sets them apart from others (It's not complete, I keep remembering more).

    The Hunger, 1983 Tony Scott
    Night Watch, 2004 Timur Bekmambetov
    The Grudge (Japanese Version), 2003 Takeshi Shimizu
    The Seven Samurai (Japanese Version), 1954 Akira Kurosawa
    A Matter of Life and Death, 1946 Micheal Powell
    Cat People, 1942 Jaques Tourneur
    The Crow, 1994 Alex Proyas
    La Antena, 2007 Esteban Sapir
    Clerks, 1994 Kevin Smith
    Akira, 1998 Katsuhiro Otomo
    Chasing Amy, 1997 Kevin Smith
    Being John Malcovitch, 1999 Spike Jonze
    Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, 1982 Carl Reiner
    Tron, 1982 Steven Lisberger
    Silent Running, 1972 Douglas Trumbull
    Princess Bride, 1987 Rob Reiner
    Spirited Away, 2001 Hayao Miyazaki
    My Neighbour Totoro, 1988 Hayao Miyazaki
    Nikita, 1990 Luc Besson
    Leon, 1994 Luc Besson
    Run Lola Run, 1998 Tom Tykwer
    Tim, 1979 Michael Pate
    Pi, 1998 Darren Aronofsky
    The Grandmother, 1970 David Lynch
    Drowning by Numbers,1988 Peter Greenaway

  2. Thanks for that, Steve. Yes, I've seen some, had one (a VHS) that we bought over 10 years ago and need to watch, and even have Drowning by Numbers on order at Lovefilm (because all the existing stock has been called in and dumped in a skip pending re-release with copy-protection). There's enough, there, to keep me and Lovefilm happy for ages.

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