Holy Wicked Walking Zombies!
Little girl zombies — too shocking !!
The Walking Dead has everything that good visual storytelling demands! It has elegant writing, excellent acting and fantastic production values. During the fourth season of the series, it attracted an audience of more than 16 million viewers for some of the episodes (2013-2014). In fact, this post-apocalyptic horror drama is a bona-fide monster success. And that makes it a good subject for our workshop to study because film and TV begin with scripts – scripts that were created by a writer like you.
Lesson #1: Study the Accomplishments of Successful Writers
Because great story-tellers use a tool-box of similar underlying techniques, and because it is faster for us to view a film than it is to read a novel, this workshop occasionally uses examples of films to analyze great writing and some techniques of the fiction craft.
Fiction is Fun
..always leave your key characters in jeopardy and leave your readers/audience with burning questions about key characters…
Wimberley Writer’s Workshops focus on commercial genre fiction – we read books or watch film written by the master storytellers out there in the marketplace. Yes, there are literary masters, but this class is about writing for commercial genres.
Common advice for beginning writers is to go read the NAME BRAND WRITERS in your particular genre — don’t know what your genre is? The class introduces genres. Brand Name Writers are the authors who always show up on Sunday’s New York Times bestseller list. Their books are shelved at the front of Barns & Noble’s bricks & mortar stores. Also, watch blockbuster films and popular TV in your genre to capture a sense of what audiences love right now.
Then as your understanding of the fiction craft advances, you will be able to pick out the tricks of the trade used by the authors and scriptwriters. You will also start to notice the good, the bad and the ugly! Even when the ugly is so good you love it. Reference: the recent cult fee-nom: Sharknado and Sharknado 2: The Second One. Both movies are total send-ups of The Walking Dead with internal nods to Jaws.
Captain Quint (played by Robert Shaw) was a counterpoint to the other good guys…he was a bad good guy.
How does Sharknado accomplish that? To begin with, it starts with a ridiculous premise: tornadoes pick up sharks in the ocean and rain them down on people – and the sharks don’t die out of water! Holy moly!!! Air breathing sharks who just want to eat people! Kind of like zombies, the living dead, who just want to eat people. And in Sharknado, now and then, a character will recreate a ‘moment’ from Jaws – example: one of the girls has terrible scars on her leg (of course, the film makers must show skin ;-) . She tells a story of shipwreck and how the sharks circled the survivors floating in the water and how ‘one six-year-old girl’ was pulled from the sea. The reference is to Robert Shaw’s wonderful moment in Jaws, when as Captain Quint, he tells his story of surviving days in the ocean after the Independence was torpedoed in World War Two.
Sharknado shows how Walking Dead could have been a failure: ridiculous premise, stupid characters, no significant redeeming features.
So why is Walking Dead a giant success? Answer: it has mastered the underlying craft of storytelling.
Writers Workshops examine film and TV as well as novels