Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Whiskey Wednesday: Entering The Void

My sleep schedule has been screwed up for awhile now. I'm not really sure why and part of me doesn't care. I currently have no responsibilities except to myself and as long as I'm meeting those them in a timely manner it shouldn't matter if I wake up at 3:37am or 2:13pm...should it?

I hope not.

But, it is stressful.

When I can't sleep and my eyeballs feel like they're going to explode from too much reading, or writing, or facebooking, I turn to Netflix or Hulu for some entertainment.

Recently I watched Enter The Void because of one such night.

If you want a classically weird IFC drama, watch Enter The Void. If you want a beautiful, trippy, psychedelic mind-fuck, watch Enter The Void. If you want something totally different from anything you've ever experienced in a film, watch Enter The Void. If you want a film about drugs, watch Enter The Void. If you want a film set in Tokyo, watch Enter The Void. If you want a film that has a truly unusual and unique plot, watch Enter The Void. If you want a film with a touch of strange, spiritual elements, watch Enter The Void. If you want a film that's like a car wreck in slow motion that you simply can't look away from, watch Enter The Void.

If you want a film with all of these elements, with characters that you'll love, relate to and sympathize with, don't watch Enter The Void.

Everything about this movie was amazing, if not painful to watch. But the fact that I didn't give a rats ass about any of the characters really cost it major points. Why? Because there was no character development. Not really. Not even in the flashbacks. This made it excruciating to watch. The slight character development that was there was...well, let's just say creepy, which made it hard to care about the characters even more and made you question their motives. Not in a good way, I assure you. Sometimes it also made me question my own sanity over watching it.

I thought character development was something that every writer learned in whatever “Writing 101” class they took? Well, I guess not. Maybe it's different for screenwriters, I'm not sure. Perhaps because they have the chance to show, and don't have to describe everything like we do, they get a pass on that shit? Well, they shouldn't. This movie could have been amazing if only the writer would have taken a little more time to show us about Oscar, his friends and his sister before things got crazy.

Flashbacks are all well and good, they help us to understand vital information related to the story, but I don't feel that this was done well at all.

Everything I've ever read on the craft of writing tells you to “start the story as close to the ending as possible.” This is exactly what the movie did. So, freaking kudos for that! But, I'm not sure that applies when you've pretty much gotta tell 75% of the story in flashbacks.

Then again, I'm a fiction writer, not a screenwriter, so what the hell do I know?

As far as I'm concerned, despite feeling like I wasted two and half hours of my life on this film, I've used it as a learning tool for my writing. Stick to developing characters that draw in the reader. Do start the story as close to the ending as possible, but not when you have to tell most of it in flashbacks that are, confusing, repetitive and shady at best.

The goal of character development is to make people feel something for these people that you're reading about, or watching on screen. Enter The Void didn't do that at all. It left me feeling like I was in a void.

So writer's, once again take the time to flesh out your characters and to make sure that someone other than you gives a shit about them.

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