Ever got into an argument about a film you thought was great and everyone else in the pub thought was rubbish? And you couldn’t defend your opinion? When I first started thinking about writing for the screen, I’d watch loads of films but couldn’t understand why some of them worked and others didn’t. And you need to understand because pub debates are fuelled by alcohol but also mainly emotion that’s been aroused by what you’ve seen.
When I’m trying to discover why something doesn’t work in a film, I follow Paula Milne’s advice:
“Take a bad film and a good film – in your own estimation, not anyone else’s – and apply this to both. Watch the first 10 to 15 minutes, then switch if off and think: What do I know? What have I been told? What’s the agenda of the film,? What’s at stake? Who are the characters? Do I care? And do that every 15 minutes or half an hour until the end of the film …”
You’re going to watch films you’ve already seen so you have to stay focused but you’ll enjoy the good ones even more and understand why they work and the bad ones don’t.
The rest of Paula Milne’s advice is at http://www.ideastap.com/IdeasMag/the-knowledge/paula-milne-screenwriter