How To Write Creature Features

Lucy V. Hay covers five key points to keep in mind with writing the next big creature feature.


It’s really easy as writers to say, “story is everything,” but we only need to look at huge CGI blockbusters like GODZILLA to realise that’s not always what audiences sign up for. And that’s not because they’re dumb, either. And sure, we can say why not have BOTH: big, epic arenas, scary monsters AND a story and great characterisation? **Why Not** indeed … But fact is Hollywood has been churning out these things for some time now: whether they add a great story and characters to big monsters fighting and/or chasing and eating humans, it doesn’t really make any difference to Box Office revenue. In short, people like what they like and that’s spectacle and awe – and on that front, GODZILLA delivers, whether you thought it was a weak story or not (hey you still watched it, right? Here’s some Godzilla – thoughts, reactions & pics I’ve collected in this last week).

Creature Features are never going to go away and I get a LOT of them at Bang2write, both from private clients and production companies. Some of them are excellent; some of them are in the middle and some of them are just plain drek. Interestingly however, I noticed a long time ago the ones that DON’T work on the page have many things in common, whether they’re about gigantic Godzilla-style monsters; gargantuan robots; acid-dripping extraterrestrials; satanic demons or something else. Here’s a rundown of things to consider then in trying to get your own creature feature on the page and in front of Industry Pros:

1) Hook Us. The obvious, yet I can literally count the great Creature Feature hooks I’ve seen in the past ten years on ONE HAND. Seriously. I cannot stress the importance of a great hook enough in all screenwriting, but in Creature Features it’s a “make or break” thing at pitch or submission level because it’s one of the first things someone will ask: “Okay, it’s a monster, but how is it different to X?” If you don’t know, no one else knows either. Ipso Fatso, as Bart Simpson would say. MORE: 4 Reasons Concept Counts, plus What Is A Genre Busting Screenplay?

Script Mag | Read the Full Article

The Cinematography of QT’s DP: Robert Richardson

This supercut features films lenses by long time Quentin Tarantino collaborator: Robert Richardson

Bon on the Fourth of July
The Doors
A Few Good Men
Natural Born Killers
Snow Falling on Cedars
Bringing out the Dead
Kill Bill: Vol. 1
Kill Bill: Vol. 2
The Aviator
Shine a Light
Inglorious Basterds
Shutter Island
Eat Pray Love
Django Unchained
World War Z

Robert Richardson

Disney’s Maleficent & Re-creating Fully Digital Characters-Design

Angelina Jolie stars in Disney’s new Maleficent, featuring a forest world of detailed visual effects. Mike Seymour delves into how facial movement experts Digital Domain, worked to re-create realistic, fully digital counterparts to the story’s three fairies.

Have they successfully crossed the Uncanny Valley?


Behind the Scenes of NatGeo’s “Wicked Tuna”

7 days of filming, 2 days for still photography, 9 locations, 6 camera units, 7 captains, 5 production support boats, 45 crew members…shooting with Arri Alexa, Red Epic, Phantom Flex, Phantom Miro, Sony F3…Techno Dolly, Cineflex (boat and helicopter), Underwater Phantom, 360 degree dolly track setup…all in all, one of the most involved, most complex and most fun shoots I’ve been lucky to be a part of. Thank you to the team at Evolve IMG, and the NGC Creative Team for one incredible production!


The Long Takes of “Louie”

Forrest Wickman examines some of the long takes peppered throughout the fourth season of one of the best shows on television: “Louie”

When the first season of True Detective ended its fourth episode with a roughly six-minute action sequence shot in one long take, fans and critics were wowed. There were whole articles dedicated to breaking down the shot’s execution and putting it in the context of TV and movie long take history. When this season of Louie ended its third episode with a long take lasting about 7 1/2 minutes, on the other hand, the nature of the shot was barely mentioned.

This makes some sense. Louie, after all, wasn’t body-slamming drug dealers and weaving his way through exploding squibs and elaborate pyrotechnics. (Though that would have been awesome.) Instead, he was just doing what he spends most of the show doing: walking and talking his way through the challenges of everyday life, and making a few jokes.

While that long, uninterrupted shot was the longest so far this season, and—given the FX show’s need for commercial breaks—the longest we’re likely to ever see on Louie, it’s far from the only one this season. There have been times watching the show when I almost could’ve sworn it was ghost-directed by Alfonso Cuarón: Over its three or so hours so far this season, there have been about two dozen shots longer than a minute, about a dozen longer than two minutes, and about five longer than three minutes. Those times may not sound like much, but on screen, one or two minutes without a cut can feel like an eternity. In fact, many of the most renowned long takes in screen history—the entrance into the Copacabana in Goodfellas, the opening shot of Boogie Nights, the opening shot of Touch of Evil—last only about three minutes. That closing scene from “So Did the Fat Lady,” at around 7 1/2 minutes, was only a few seconds shorter than the longest shot in Children of Men. | Read the Full Article


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