“Go into the story and find the animals”

The story behind Go Into The Story…

If you’ve taken the time to click on About GITS on the home page and read The Story Behind Go Into The Story, you know that this mantra derives from a conversation I had with my then three year-old son. It went pretty much like this:

Me: Hey, Luke, I’m starting to write a new script tomorrow. And it’s funny, but no matter how many times I start a new story, I get a bit, uh, nervous about it. Got any, you know, advice for your dad?

Luke [without any hesitation]: Go into the story and find the animals.

God as my witness, that’s what my son said.

Who knows what Luke was really thinking at the time. Stupidly, I didn’t follow up with him, flummoxed as I was at his comment. I remember mulling it over and thinking that the whole idea of going into a story is precisely what a writer does, immersing themselves in a narrative universe that they create. That has always seemed just right to me, both in its simplicity and profundity, which is frankly why I named this blog Go Into Then Story.

But over time, it’s the other part in which I’ve discovered more and more layers of meaning. Start with the verb “find.” Is there any word more appropriate to describe the writing process? Here are some of its definitions:

  • “to come upon by chance”: Doesn’t that sound like brainstorming?
  • “to locate, attain, or obtain by search or effort”: Doesn’t that sound like research?
  • “to discover or perceive after consideration”: Doesn’t that sound like what happens when we mull over our story?
  • “to feel or perceive”: As we go into the story, we become more and more emotionally connected to it.
  • “to become aware of, or discover”: The biggie, where as explorers we uncover a story’s hidden gems.

Then there is “the animals.” I’m almost sure what Luke was thinking about was how a children’s story so often is habituated by animals. Thus in his eyes, my task was probably pretty simple: Go find the animals. They are your characters. But what if we think about it more symbolically.

  • Animals can be both domesticated and wild. So some things we discover as we go into the story are what we might expect (domesticated). Other times we’re surprised, even shocked by ideas and thoughts that spring to mind (wild).
  • Animals are alive, organic, and intuitive beings. So are our story’s characters.
  • Throughout human history, animals have come to mean something in stories. A fox is sly and cunning. A crow in many cultures signifies death. An owl is wise. Per Jung and others who study myth and psychoanalysis, animals can serve as conduits into the mind of the dreamer.

Which reminds me of something I read about a movie director who in prepping to make a movie gave each of the actors their own animal token as something they could reference in interpreting their character.

I’m sure if you think about it, you could probably come up with other shades of meaning for the mantra.

I just know that it’s my favorite one of all because of its source.

My wish for each of you is the same sentiment as once uttered by a cherubic youngster with bright blue eyes and a look of deep intention in his face:

Go into the story… and find the animals.

What ‘animals’ will you discover in your creative journey?

For the rest of the 30 Things About Screenwriting series, go here.

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“Go into the story and find the animals” was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Go Into The Story – Medium

Evan Peters is filming ‘American Animals’ in NYC this week

Last month, American Horror Story star Evan Peters began filming the movie American Animals near Charlotte, North Carolina, and now he’ll spend a few days filming in New York City, too. The movie is based on the true story of four young men who “mistook their lives for a movie and attempted one of the most audacious heists in American history. Producers say it blurs the line between truth and fiction in a wild story of money, movies and the search for meaning.” Now that filming has moved to New York from North Carolina, the movie is expected to shoot around W 22nd St and 8th Ave, NYC on Tuesday, March 28. Thanks to Pete for the info! If you spot American Animals filming, let us know at olv@onlocationvacations.com! Photo: Instagram

The post Evan Peters is filming ‘American Animals’ in NYC this week appeared first on On Location Vacations.

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‘Animals’ Season 2 Trailer: HBO’s Bizarre Animated Series Returns


Animals is one of the strangest shows to hit the small screen in the past few years. It imagines what the creatures in and around New York City would do if they had recognizable human problems – insecurity, parenting issues, dealing with bullying, marital struggles, experimenting with drugs…the works. The show was also notable for its all-star cast, which included some of the best comedic actors in the industry.

HBO renewed it for a second season a few months ago, and now they’re back with a new trailer that promises total anarchy in the weeks to come.Creators Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano are back with producers Jay and Mark Duplass for more animal insanity. Get a load of this:

As you can see, this is about as far from the fuzzy, family-friendly iteration of talking animated animals that we’re familiar with from Disney movies.

My interest in the show’s first season was initially piqued when I saw its stellar voice cast: Ben SchwartzMatt WalshNick KrollKumail NanijianiAdam Scott, Jessica Chastain…and that’s barely scratching the surface. Each episode contained a new collection of awesome actors, and this season, the cast is even more ridiculous.

Take a look at some of the people who will pop up in these new episodes: Emilia Clarke, Jason Alexander, Tony Hale, Ice-T, Usher, Michael Pitt, Whoopi Goldberg, Dan Harmon, Big Sean, Raven-Symone, Fred Armisen, Pauly Shore, Rachael Ray, and Jon Lovitz. I think that officially makes Animals season 2 the only worthy rival to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks sequel for the title of Most Eclectic Cast on Television in 2017.

In addition to the wacky antics of NYC’s birds, bugs, and mammals, the first season featured a running narrative in the background involving the corrupt mayor of New York killing a prostitute, dealing with blackmail attempts, covering up the death of an overdosed business partner, and attempting to frame his political rival by planting drugs on him. It was a fascinating through-line that rarely intersected with the mundane, humorous issues the city’s animals were dealing with each week. In retrospect, tackling the story of a corrupt politician was pretty damn timely last year. I’m looking forward to seeing if Matarese and Luciano are going to tell a similar background story this season, or if they have something even crazier up their sleeves.

Animals season 2 premiered last week, and airs a new episode tonight on HBO. You can catch up on previous episodes through HBO Go or HBO Now.

The post ‘Animals’ Season 2 Trailer: HBO’s Bizarre Animated Series Returns appeared first on /Film.


This Week In Trailers: T2 Trainspotting, Homo Sapiens, Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent, Actor Martinez, Animals Season 2

Green Band Trailer

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we’re introduced to a master chef that isn’t named Bourdain, Ramsay, or that guy from the Domino’s test kitchen, we talk animated animals, a movie without people, a movie with one person in particular, and we see what the boys from Trainspotting have been up to.

T2 Trainspotting Trailer

4 things

1. It’s obviously not going to be as good as the first

2. Danny Boyle recognizes the first fact

3. I realize the first fact

4. You ever just want to will something to be good? I kind of feel that way about this movie.

21 years ago, Boyle gave us a cultural touchstone as affecting as Requiem for a Dream for the way he delved into the dirtiness of drug addiction. It was incredibly moving, funny, was sharply written and acted, and had a fantastic soundtrack. It was the movie I took my wife on for a first date (yeah, I only realize now what a huge gambit that was) but it was a rock solid movie from beginning to end. So, what to make of what we get here? It’s not as electric as the first one we got months ago but it’s pretty good at going to the ol’ nostalgia well to stick in “Lust for Life” as its musical bed along with trotting out all the kudos it has received since being released in the UK. This is about as nakedly promotional as it gets but, again, I just want this to be good. Here’s to hoping it is.

Animals Season 2 Trailer

People either dig it or hate it.

Based on a 60% score for season 1 on Rotten Tomatoes you would be hard pressed gauge how most people feel about this animated series. Myself, I find the trailer to be wildly irreverent and fresh. The snippets that we’re given are just flat-out bizarre. It tickles some part of my brain that truly appreciates wildly scattershot, narratively ambiguous content. And, as soon as the music kicks in that’s all I need to make this a magical promo that has all the hallmarks for something that appeals to my basest sensibilities.

Homo Sapiens Trailer

Any Samsara fans in the house?

What I am positively dialed into here in director Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s documentary is just how spartan it is. Not only that, but the lack of any movement to divert my gaze, a meditative examination into scenes that feel like one tableau after another, without any narration has me all in on this project. With the evenly spaced pull-quotes and the radical changes in environs what you end up with is a movie that seems to be saying many different things with your interpretation being your only guide.

Actor Martinez Trailer

Taking a different angle here.

Lindsay Burdge. Burdge is an incredible actor who has been in four exceptional roles (A Teacher, The Invitation, The Midnight Swim, Lace Crater) and while this doesn’t seem like the deep meditative exercise that any of those four provided she still shines bright in this one. Directors Mike Ott and Nathan Silver take a well-worn yarn with a twist of a guy who wants to make a movie with him being the lead. Of course wackiness ensues but, as I mentioned, it’s really the addition of Burdge that makes this one I want to put on the radar if for no other reason to see how she flourishes in this role.

Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent Trailer

Never heard of him.

Then again, my tastes don’t stray further than the local Chipotle so what could a philistine like me know about a master chef? Nothing, but that’s the fun part of watching documentaries like this. Just to be clear, I have zero insight in what it takes to be masterful at this position, nor know any of the major players besides the ones everyone else knows through pop culture, but just looking at the variety of documentaries on Netflix alone makes me giddy. This is not meant as a slight, but while I don’t think director Lydia Tenaglia has done anything extraordinary here the trailer still entices with its story of someone who was at the zenith of their power and then vanished. These kinds of stories, be it people in the arts, in business, you name it, are inherently interesting to me and, thus, now you get to be subjected to something else I’m going to need to seek out and consume.

Nota bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at Christopher_Stipp@yahoo.com or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

The post This Week In Trailers: T2 Trainspotting, Homo Sapiens, Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent, Actor Martinez, Animals Season 2 appeared first on /Film.


Evan Peters begins filming ‘American Animals’ in North Carolina

Earlier this month American Horror Story star Evan Peters began filming American Animals near Charlotte, North Carolina. The movie is based on the true story of four young men who “mistook their lives for a movie and attempted one of the most audacious heists in American history. Producers say it blurs the line between truth and fiction in a wild story of money, movies and the search for meaning.” According to local reports, American Animals was spotted filming in Belmont, NC last week. Though Peters wasn’t at the Belmont shoot, his co-star Barry Keoghan was seen filming in town. If you’re in the Charlotte area and would like to be an extra in the movie, Tona B. Dahlquist Casting is looking for all types to appear as background actors. If you spot American Animals filming in North Carolina, let us know at olv@onlocationvacations.com! Photo: Instagram

The post Evan Peters begins filming ‘American Animals’ in North Carolina appeared first on On Location Vacations.

On Location Vacations

4 Tips on Working with Kids and Animals on a Film Set

Working with kids and animals on a film project can really be an awesome experience if you know how to do it right.

Some experienced filmmakers warn newbies not to work with children or animals when making films, which is understandable given the added risk and responsibility. But not only are kids and pets occasionally a necessity for a project, but they can also truly make the end result shine. In this video from Cooper Films, Tom Hipp offers some helpful tips on working with pint-size actors and their furry companions on a busy film set.

Be prepared for the responsibility

There are many unique obstacles that come with working with children and animals. Labor laws, scheduling conflicts, and, you know, the fact that one is a tiny human and the other isn’t a human at all. So, be prepared to not have your set run the same way it would without these kinds of actors.

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No Film School

Taiwan bans putting stray animals to death



Taiwan has now banned euthanising stray animals in shelters, despite fears that the move will lead to overcrowding and more abandoning their pets.

The law came into effect on Saturday, two years after it was first passed by parliament.

The issue of putting down strays was plunged into the spotlight last year, after a shelter vet committed suicide after becoming overwhelmed by the number of animals she had to put down.

Chien Chih-cheng ended her life by ingesting animal euthanasia drugs. She said in a TV interview prior to her death that she had put down over 700 dogs over the course of two years. Read more…

More about Shelter Animals, Animal Welfare, Euthanasia, Animals, and Taiwan

Aquarium animals star in the cutest Super Bowl hype video



As we all know, animals at the Georgia Aquarium are very invested in football. 

So, to cheer on their hometown Atlanta Falcons, they made what could be the cutest hype video of all time.

Just, uh… don’t let Tom Brady see this.

More about Animals, Super Bowl 2017, and Watercooler

BAFTA Nominations: ‘La La Land’ Leads with 11, ‘Nocturnal Animals’ and ‘Arrival’ with 9

Here’s the full list of the 2017 BAFTA nominations.

On the heels of its major sweep at the Golden Globes last weekend, La La Land has once again emerged as the awards season favorite, now with 11 nominations from the recently announced 70th British Academy Film Awards. Arrival and Nocturnal Animals follow closely behind with nine nominations each from BAFTA, the British equivalent of the Oscars.

I, Daniel Blake, a film that is critical of the efficacy of the British welfare system, is up for Best Film and Outstanding British Film. Notes on Blindness, perhaps the year’s most egregiously underseen film, has been justly nominated for Outstanding British Film, Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, and Best Documentary.

Even though American Honey was made by one of Britain’s foremost independent auteurs, Andrea Arnold, it was only recognized in one category: Outstanding British Film. Meanwhile, Martin Scorsese’s Silence was completely shut out of the BAFTAs.

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