That’s what’s missing from a lot of my scripts, Joy.
You know, besides good dialogue, great action sequences, intimate moments of drama and a plot that actually makes some fucking sense – I know those things should be in there too, but they’re difficult and I’m inherently lazy.
Joy. All my favourite films have it, little moments of pure joy snatched amidst the unfolding drama.
Take this clip from Lilo and Stitch for example:
(Okay, so I’m writing this on a plane with no internet access. The clip I’m after may or may not be available online. If it’s not, the rest of this post makes no sense. By rights, I should really go back and edit this bit out; but that conflicts with my pre-stated fundamental laziness. If the clip’s not here, it’s meant to be the surfing scene with the Hawaiian music. I’m actually writing this in January too, but for reasons I’m not prepared to explain I’m going to choose a random future date to publish it. It’ll be a nice surprise for us all.)
If you haven’t seen Lilo and Stitch – you should. If you have seen it and didn’t like it then you’re wrong in every conceivable way. So wrong in fact your very wrongness is probably seeping into the fabric of space/time itself and causing all sorts of other wrongness across the universe.
Like the Middle East and murderers and wasps.
See what you’ve done? Your selfish dislike of a movie I love has ruined a million picnics. You bastard.
What’s that? You’re entitled to your opinion? That’s true, just not when it conflicts with mine. True fact. So shut the fuck up, you’re arguing with me months into the past – it’s just weird now.
Anyway … Lilo and Stitch, surfing, joy. That’s a joyous scene (unless it’s not there because I couldn’t find it), a brief moment of pure joy which makes my heart soar … sandwiched between two of the film’s lowest points.
I mean, literally, something bad happens, they go surfing and get all happy, something worse happens.
And it works.
And it’s absolutely necessary. It’s a great sequence and something I rarely include in my scripts – something I intend to rectify.
Look at me, ma! I’m learning stuff about writing and shit!
I’ve now (then) been involved in 47 (hopefully more by now) feature film projects and I reckon roughly a third of them have those scenes which are pure joy (preferably connected to the theme and demonstrating the perfect ideal the characters are searching for). In fact, of the eight or so active projects, I reckon only two of them have a moment of joy.
It’s not good enough, damn it. I need to be more joyous.
So I will.