Easiest Way To Avoid Writing A Boring Story by David Willis

Watch the video interview on Youtube here

Film Courage: What makes a story boring?

David Willis, writer/producer: What makes a story boring? Uggh….anything with superheroes. Sorry! I don’t like superhero movies.

Film Courage: Why?

David Willis: I sat down and watched like a dozen of them once. I might as well look at these. I’m not giving these a fair shot. A guy running around in tights…if you’re running around in tights you should either be sword fighting in the 16th century or in a ballet (ballet is great).

But I just never buy into it. They’re fun, I get why people like them. I figured out why they are popular even though I’m not the audience because it’s replacing religion.

The single largest religious demographic in the United States under the age of 30 are the non-religious and so religion is having less importance in life in America today and I think it’s being replaced with the mythology of the superheroes because you get to see the ancient Roman Gods, the ancient Greek Gods, they had a whole pantheon…and now this has taken its place…and you can dress up like them and you can go to Comic Con and you can engage in your “religion.” I don’t know…that’s my theory. That’s my crazy writer theory.

Film Courage: Interesting. So then a non-superhero movie. What makes a non-superhero movie boring? Take that out of the equation?

David Willis: What makes it boring?

Film Courage: Or a story in general? I know you talked earlier about it before, not enough conflict or passive characters?

David Willis: I think a story is boring if it doesn’t matter. If there are no stakes. If the people in the movie, if they don’t care a lot about what is happening (what they are doing), then the audience won’t care. That’s to me what makes a story boring.

If you are watching a character and they need $10,000.00, why do they need $10,000.00? Are they paying for their child’s operation to save their life, that’s important. I’d be like “Oh, that matters.” Are they just trying to buy a car so they can go to work? Okay, that’s a real thing I guess but so what, you know?

James Bond, does he have to kill this guy because the guy took his parking space or is he doing it to save the world.

The French can make movies about being boring and make those work. There are certain indie films where you can actually delve into that in a deeper way. But for me that’s it, if the stakes aren’t there, if the story…if the hero succeeds or doesn’t succeeds or whatever, why does it matter. If it doesn’t matter, I don’t care.

Film Courage: So for you when you go to see a film and I know you said lately you’ve been so busy with all this [his success crowdsourcing campaign] you don’t even have time to watch television but before all of that could you tell in the first few minutes if something is going to be boring?

David Willis: My girlfriend (bless her heart) has to listen to me after the first few minutes say “This is what this movie is about” because I just can’t help it.

But like we recently saw THEIR FINEST. THERE FINEST is a British film about a woman who is hired to make propaganda films in World War II in England and in the first few minutes of that movie they bring you to London (WW II) under the blitz. There are bombs coming down and there is this young woman who needs a job because her husband is having a hard time getting hired. And so she needs a job and she goes into the office (the propaganda film office of the British government) they call her in and the stakes are there for two reasons: if she doesn’t get a job she and her husband are in trouble and if she doesn’t make good propaganda films, the public that is being bombed may feel more bleak. Whereas if she does a good job with these films, they will feel better. Now we know how WW II ends so…who wins here?

But we don’t know how individual people felt in London at the time being bombed (so that’s a mystery, we’re going to find that out). So immediately the first 5-6 minutes of the film you care if she gets this job and if she’s good at it.

Film Courage: What was it about those stakes? Because I mean the storyline sounds great but if someone else did it and the stakes weren’t there…there must have been little nuance about how they drew you in that made you sit up on the edge of your seat a little bit?…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

Watch the video on Youtube here





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