View Full Version : Writing and P.T. Anderson?

10-12-2003, 05:02 PM
**mild spoiler warning for Punch Drunk Love**

I watched PUNCH DRUNK LOVE recently - and I really loved the movie, and maybe I'm ignorant, but I have a few questions about writing.

It's always said that you have to write this brilliant hook of an opening... you have to have something happen in the first 10 minutes to put conflict into it.

Well, this movie doesn't really move at that fast a pace. And him finding the piano -- well, ok, we wonder about it, but it doesn't have a big pay off?

And people always say "Why do I care?" about a lot of things people write around here.... well you could almost throw the question at this script for example, even though I really enjoyed it.....

What's the thoughts?


10-12-2003, 05:43 PM
Well, you ask a reasonable question. Unfortunately, it's been too long since I've seen the movie for me to discuss the opening of it fairly. So I'm going to talk around his specific opening in answering your question-- and that's not entirely fair.

Now, I liked the movie, too, but let's rememebr that it was not a very successful movie. It cost $25m to make and made less than $18m domestically. So maybe the answer is, in part that it didn't work for a lot of people-- you and I may have enjoyed the movie, but the answer to the question "was it effective at communicating to an audience" may well be no.

Also, bear in mind the wisdom of a very successfull acquaintance of mine: who's the audience for your script. If you think the answer is people going to see movies, you're wrong: the audience for your script is people who read and develop scripts for a living.

Which is another way of saying that P.T. Anderson, in shooting his movie, has lots of ways to make it effective other than the story-- he's got Adam Sandler, he's got the visual style of the pieces, etc. And as far as selling the script he had the name "P.T. Anderson" on the cover. He gets more slack with his first few pages then you do.

Lastly, from what I remember of the opening of the movie, you do have a character presented with a problem right at the beginning of the story. Now, it's not THE question of the story, but that's okay. The reason why it works is because Sandler's reaction to the problem reveals a lot of interesting detail about character. He's NOT a generic character. He's not a pastiche of characters from Quentin Tarantino or Kevin Smith. He's not some obvious stand-in for the filmmaker. He's somebody I've never seen before.

So take those two elements: an interesting and original character confronted with a problem, and, at the very least, my curiosity is aroused.

10-12-2003, 06:34 PM
Originally posted by Ronaldinho

Now, I liked the movie, too, but let's rememebr that it was not a very successful movie. It cost $25m to make and made less than $18m domestically.
It's funny, because the first I did after I read QT's post was look up the box office numbers on the film. I suspected it didn't do so well, as you most probably did as well.

inglourious basterd
10-12-2003, 08:47 PM
Just so you know, QT, I edited your message to add a "spoiler warning" for people, like me, who haven't yet seen the film. No matter how important the plot information is, I know that this type of thing is a peeve for many. I just wanted to give you a heads up. Don't worry, your message was preserved in its entirety.

If you have any questions about this, please feel free to discuss it with me in private via PM. Thanks.