They wrote Cabin in the Woods in three days – 15 pages per person for three days. Joss wrote 27 pages in one day, which was a personal best.
My favorite thing is to go into a movie to TV show not knowing a thing. I want people to be surprised by what they see; not random but not what they expect.
He loved Danny Boyle’s Sunshine.
There are many horror movies that go into Cabin: Early Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, The Thing, The Romero Trilagy. They didn’t want to do special tricks or the typical shakey cam. They wanted to shoot it almost old school.
This film was written before Dr. Horrible; they wrote it before the strike. Cabin was really the first time that he really kinda cut loose; and it was closely followed by Dr. Horrible. “They were both ragingly ridiculous.”
The Avengers – A longer courtship process with Marvel that Joss didn’t even realize he was in; he thought he was just doing some consulting work.
In making it, because he was writing, shooting, and editing at the same time, he only hit sheer panic three times (jokingly). It’s important to have freedom to move and improve around inside of a strict structure; But you can’t just make it up as you go along because that doesn’t work.
Restrictions of budget, etc can be really useful. When you can have everything, it is very hard to make things feel real and lived in. When you are having to work around obstacles, you have a better challenge. Sometimes you can tell when a movie has everything and it isn’t good.
There is a little vernacular that we have that we don’t understand that says when the light is perfect and everyone looks just right, there is going to be a disconnect. You need the flaws and scratches to make it feel real.
“I am a fan boy!” He wants to see all the members of the Avengers do what they would do as their character. When you look at the team, it makes no sense at all. But he likes that because it doesn’t make sense to them either.
“I’m not ready to be post-modern about superheroes yet.”
He approached this as if he was making a war movie; not just a bad guy / good guy movie. The War movie lets you see wave after wave and get that feeling like I am not going to make it out alive.
“The bad guys are the Vulcans.”
In Avengers, the villain is not the Cree or the Scrolls; in fact, they aren’t even in the movie. They are to complex a character to try to do in this first movie.
“For years I thought about doing “Much Ado About Nothing” but never had a take on it. So I didn’t do it.”
They shot MAAN in 12 days; Everyone had a reason to be there. With Shakespeare, there is a lot of “Why is he doing this?” Each Character needs to have an arc and a purpose.
Belweather Studios – In Your Eyes
“If I couldn’t put my whole soul into making the Avengers, I shouldn’t be making it. It’s not like the Clint Eastwood thing of one for them and one for me. If I am not fully invested in it, you will be able to tell.”
How do you write?
I dislike revision. And I will tell you why…that is more work. I didn’t write a first draft even in school. I don’t write anything down until I am sure of it. I will walk around the room and act it in my head until I like it. Then I write it down. There is a tiny theater of me in my study. It is excellent and it gets great revues.
I will write down an outline over weeks and weeks and weeks. I am very, very fierce about structure. It is a terrible idea to write without structure. I have done it a couple of times and it was cool for that time but ultimately I always come back to structure as the best way for me.
“Found Footage is a step backwards in the right direction for classic horror films.”
The great thing about writer is you get exactly the write amount of attention.
Building audience – it is all about having a passion for the thing you love. Many people read Buffy and it still took years to get it made. It takes time, but you have to keep fighting for it.
Every single time, I am surprised when it doesn’t work out. At some point it stops being naive. Talking about Goners.
Which Structure do you prefer TV or Movie?
I prefer the lifestyle where I don’t have to choose but if you put a gun to my head I would say TV. Because you get years to work with them and the actors gets to develop the character. TV lets you put something out there and letting it grow. Movies are used to boil a story/topic/MDQ down to a primarily thing.
One of the things you have to know is where your decision making passion lies…Take casting: I had to take a step back from casting anything but major rolls. You have to figure out where you can NOT spend your energy (delegate) so that you have energy left for the important parts. However, stress can bring a certain state where you can get so much done.
The Networks have a particular agenda and it has nothing to do with content. That isn’t a dis on them but it is a business model to make money. So they can not be swayed by creative decisions because they can not risk losing the money.
It is an exciting time to go directly to an audience but it can be dangerous too. Sometimes the networks prep for a show gives the audience a context to watch a show. But when you don’t have that, it may not be as well received.
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