Mystery Man on Film

(Yes, I’ve been back from Paris for a while, I’ll post my notes from the AI conference shortly…)

In the mean time I’ve also been reading recently Mystery Man on Film. I’m no film buff (I’ve got a lot of good films to see still! still rooted in games myself), but it is great to read about the creative process and what works and doesn’t work in film, which is applicable to other linear things – animation, TV series etc.

The “Art of…” collections are great (written not just by the elusive blog writer, who moved to his own site by the way for slightly newer things). It is great to see some things brought up as good I never appreciated quite as much such as really good verbal exposition – although of course I know some greats there were some nice surprises.

Also is the great way some “rules” are entirely deconstructed, and is something game critics and anyone being creative can take away. I certainly liked Charlie Kaufman‘s views on it in an interview on the Synecdoche, New York DVD. He pretty much explained that there were no rules or they all could be broken, and he had only “vaguely heard of the 3 act play” – it sums up perhaps why there is the fact you only need one exception to break any silly rule, and those exceptions can be plentiful.

If you are interested at some of the screenwriting and other things that are done in films and why (and a lot of criticism to boot! something that isn’t exactly widely forthcoming in games), it’s well worth a read. I highly recommend it, but it is a big time sink too – too engrossing by half!

In relation to games (why not?) the figuring of a lot of things in film can be applicable for the protagonist-based games – not that they should be films however – there is a still growing vocabulary and set of best-practices (let’s not use “rules”!) where games still both fall flat by ignoring films, or worse, emulating them too much. I think I can look at some of this a bit more in the future – got a lot of good games to play (or finish playing), and even the bad examples at least show you what not to do.