Huh? Isn’t this a blog series about learning to write? I’ll get there, one minute please…
Yesterday, my husband surprised me by inviting me to the movies. I never get out, by my own choice, but I’ve been better at it lately. He offered to take me to see Gods of Egypt which I wanted to see as I typically enjoy those types of movies. My husband then noted that he is going to take the two boys to see Kung Fu Panda 3 during the week. I sheepishly observed that although I wanted to see Gods of Egypt, I’d rather us all go see Kung Fu Panda 3.
I’d like to say I was “taking one for the team” but that’s not accurate. I’ve always loved “kids cartoon movies” from Disney, Pixar, and DreamWorks over the years, kids or no kids. I didn’t even start truly appreciating those movies ’till after I was grown. The title of this series and the first post should give you that hint.
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. If not the best of the three, in my opinion, it certainly matched either of the first two. There were literally three or four cliché moments when – I kid you not – I said the next sentence in my head before it was said (and it matched word for word). However, the end did (mostly) surprise me and I thought it was touching and insightful.
However, I realized I had already been cursed.
It’s this darn “writing thing.” I can’t go to a simple and enjoyable movie now without paying attention to the storycrafting. Wait – is that a real word? Off to Google…well, what do you know. Apparently, storycrafting is a thing. Not exactly what I mean, but maybe it’s closer than it seems on first blush. Yes, I do research things simultaneous to writing about them.
Anyway, my point is that while I was enjoying the movie, I was analyzing it at the same time. And I was not the only one. There was a key moment in the film that I had a ZING connection with my 12-year old son. There’s a bigger reason for that, that relates to this writing project, but I’ve decided to keep him out of this for now. However, in this instance, here’s what happened:
[MINOR SPOILER ALERT] There was a scene with two important characters. One had just “gotten bitten” for doing something wrong and was upset. The other character tried to comfort the first. He said, “Sometimes we do the wrong things for the right reasons.” Instantly, I looked right, and my son looked left. Our eyes locked. We smiled.
Here, the author of Kung Fu Panda 3 accomplished his/her goal: a point was made that helped the story’s plot, was clear and concise (didn’t take 10 minutes to teach the lesson), and was thought-provoking. Sure, a bit cheesy, a bit cliché, but it made my son and I stop watching the movie to “share a moment.” It touched us, for whatever reason.
This was just yet another example that no matter where the story comes from, how you tell the story is just as important as the story itself.
This is why I have a lot of work to do. I need to educate myself on how to effectively tell my story.
[Complete side-note] When getting the link for Kung Fu Panda 3, I found and settled on the link above, which is a blog “Immersed in Movies: How DreamWorks Made Two Versions of ‘Kung Fu Panda 3′”. I didn’t dig in to the whole thing, but it appears that DreamWorks has a Chinese-language version in Mandarin. Not only was there a different voice for a main character, they also slightly changed the character.
The writing is different to reflect the colloquial speech in China, but the characters themselves are different.
I interpret this as “knowing your audience” – different audiences need the story to be told differently.
Even when I’m writing about learning about writing, I learn more about writing. Wait, what?
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