11 ideas you can steal from film

Tell a story, tell another story, and then tell a story

The Place Beyond the Pines

Three narratives, all linked but all different. They feed off one another, find a place in your heart and show you what stories feel like when they are done well.

Be so predictable, its fresh


In Taken his daughter is kidnapped, he receives a phone call, says he’s gonna get her back and that’s exactly what he does. There wasn’t any of this ‘man sets out to save someone, something happens that stops him and in the end love and friendship wins and everyones happy again’, this is straight up action movie shit, no messing about. Bish, Bash, Bosh, don’t steal my kid!

Put the twist right under their noses

Book of Eli

I don’t want to spoil anything but if you’ve seen this beautiful film, you’ll know the twist and feel a bit stupid for not picking up on that glaringly obvious twist. Not as good as The Sixth Sense in terms of twist (And don’t tell me you did know, cos you didn’t… I know you!) but, I’m going for the alternate approach where possible in this post!

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

Cabin in the Woods

Looked like a horror film, turned out to be completely fekking mental. Do that man!

Let them get away with it

American Psycho

SPOILER I thought he was going to get caught at the end, and he didn’t, thats cool.

Camera is just a tool, but story is your sword

Hooked Up

Hooked Up is a feature film shot entirely on an iPhone. Odds are you have good equipment, probably/definitely better than the iPhone. So don’t let the fact you haven’t got a RED or a 3D camera hold you back. Story is your best tool, in fact it’s a sword and you were born with that sword. Your making this film to make a statement, inform and delight an audience. The change your trying to make is that big scary dragon, story is your sword to slay said dragon! Get the story solid, then film it with whatever you’ve got, get going.

Motivation comes 10 minutes in & momentum is best.

There is no spoon and their doesn’t have to be

The Matrix

What if there isn’t a spoon? ’nuff said.

Once a bomb disposal man, always a bomb disposal man

The Hurt Locker

See: “old habits die hard” and “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. Also, just make a great film. In other news, you can make the film Avatar, and have your ass handed to you at the Oscars by your ex-wife.

Narrative is Art

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Tell the story, then mix it up and use her hair colour to piece it back together again. Gondry uses several really interesting techniques through out this film; things like lights turning off in a library and exiting through doors into a new scene and a new part of the story. Have fun with it, this isn’t life! snort

Typography can act too!


Shot in high speed and overlaid with beautiful typography that interacts and reacts with the actors and set. It was amazing, I hadn’t come across typography integrated so well as part of a film since Man On Fire. Heads up; Man On Fire has subtitles that pop up and are truly in tune to the film. In fact, they completely inspired an intensive 6 month bout of me studying typography. They were the tuning fork to my resonating mind, and boy did it resonate. Mmmmm mmmm mm!
Much like the credits can be better than the film *cough* Hangover, so too can the opening credits, the subtitles or just plain ole’ Bil Murray

Ignore everybody


Do what you want. This is art. This is your art. This film is for you and balls to anyone who says you can’t show a straight up vagina in the trailer! …and the teaser poster

There is nothing new under the sun, good artists copy, great artists steal, the purpose of this article is to illuminate you to some playful narratives, filmic sequences, twists and attributes. I’m not encouraging you to rip them off per se just that story conquers all, people pay to see your vision and you should put effort into it, and I mean proper effort. The minute you think

‘I’ll just do this because it was done before and it worked’

you just lost. Well done your Brett Ratner I just hope your as shameless as he is!

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