Thursday, November 13, 2014

Whiplash and Writing What You Know

This weekend down at Cinemapolis is the release of the highly anticipated film Whiplash. The film starring the upcoming star Miles Teller is about a young drummer who with the help/pressure of his instructor hopes to be a legend. The star of the film crazy enough is only two years younger than the writer/director, Damien Chazelle is only 29 and Whiplash is his first feature length film. A year ago Chazelle created a short under the same name in hopes to pitch the feature length film. Little did he know is that the short would make it into Sundance and the feature adaption would be there a year later.

When creating the film and the characters Chazelle started from what he knew best, his own life and his own experiences. Chazelle grew up playing the drums and over time he found out that he was quite good, he knew he could never make it all the way but he did the next best thing, he wrote about it. In an interview he talks about being stuck on another script and decided to start on something else that would help clear his block. He became so invested that he left the original script behind and started his journey with Whiplash. Chazelle says that the main instructor, played by J.K Simmons was inspired by many different instructors he's had over the years but morphed into one. What I really take from this is that writing from what you know is a great start and will help you tell a story that no one else can.

This can be seen in other films as well. My hero Kevin Smith started by making a film in a convenience store about convenience store clerks in the same convenience store he worked in. Now what I'm saying is to not make a film about your life story cause honestly who can relate to that but to play off of that. Take experiences, feelings and lessons you have learned and mold that into any film, and that film can be about anything! If you look at Smith's last film Tusk, about a man being turned into a walrus but whats under the blubbery flesh of the film is way deeper. The film through the sharp writing is about storytelling and what it means to be a storyteller and if there's really a unique story out there. Or even Christopher Nolan's new film Interstellar is about a family man on a mission to save Earth by exploring other galaxies. But under the spectacular visuals is a film about leaving a legacy behind and how as a parent you can't help but look at the world through the eyes of your children.

No it lies in your heart!

So go out there guys! Write about what you know and love. We all have an interesting story to tell.

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