Thursday's Children - In the Cut
Or: Finding Inspiration in Directors' Cuts and Series Commentaries
A weekly blog hop where
Writers share their Inspirations.
The depth of my obsession for TV shows? The Series Finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer set off a two month binge-drinking emo-fest.
Enter DVDs and BluRays, which not only have complete series, but "director's cuts" and Special Bonuses and Unaired Pilots/Episodes.
What I focus on, though, are the director's cuts and actor commentary specials.
Sometimes in revision, I come across a dialogue scene that lacks something: Oomph, Subtlety, a certain je ne sais quoi that would vivify the moment. (This month's WIPblog module is on Dialogue!)
I think back on series' director's cuts and commentaries I've seen, or I'll pop one into the player, and dissect what made a particular scene memorable.
Was it the words?
Was it how the actor said the line?
Now, the trick is to isolate the moment or the scene from the movie because there could be other factors making the moment pop: movie soundtrack, lighting effects, camera work, etc. Commentaries provide this isolation, often adding insight as to why an actor said a line a certain way, or why a director chose to use a certain take.
But! You don't have to go out and buy all the discs. Some excellent commentaries can be found in blogs, by series viewers who've picked out themes or patterns.
Some of my favorite shows have given me the best inspiration for how to vivify dialogue in my stories.
Dexter - Helped me craft true-to-character interior monologues and direct thought.
"There's a moment sailors call slack tide. When the tide is neither coming in nor going out, but perfectly still. It's a moment frozen in time. When all is calm and peaceful." - Dexter Morgan, Season 4, episode 7.
Firefly - Regional/cultural, character-specific dialects.
"Look, you got a little stabbed the other day. That's bound to make anyone a mite ornery." - Malcom Reynolds, episode 9, "Ariel".
Downton Abbey - What to reveal, when to reveal it.
Her Ladyship's Soap.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Perspectives.
"Look, I realize that every Slayer comes with an expiration mark on the package. But I want mine to be a long time from now. Like a Cheeto." - Buffy, Season 5, episode 7, "Fool for Love."
Mad Men - How a statement can evolve and take on new meanings for a character later.
"Advertising is based on one thing, happiness." - Don Draper, Season 1, episode 1, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes."
What are some of your favorite series? Have you ever been inspired by disc or blog commentaries?
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