October 21st, 2013
Great movie. Saw it last night. If you doubted Dorie’s line at the start of our book, “It’s all the same story,” pull out your Connection Storymaker app after seeing the movie and you can verify what she says. Among other things, “Gravity” is pretty much the story of “Popeye.”
THE BULLOCK’S JOURNEY. The wonderful new movie, “Gravity” is a textbook demonstration of the Hero’s Journey. Download our Connection Storymaker app, open up the PARAGRAPH section and you’ll be able to spot all 9 elements in the movie.
CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER LOGLINE SKEPTIC
It was only a little more than a year ago that Dorie brought the Logline Maker into our workshop as I was grumbling, “yeah, right, we’ll see about it.” I was skeptical. It sounded too “Hollywood” with the terms protagonist, hero and antagonist. But it’s been an amazing year of workshops and I’m a different person.
So I saw “Gravity” last night. Thoroughly enjoyed it. But … sure enough, I felt myself thinking, “oh, my goodness — there it is — the flawed protagonist.” And then a while later, “oh, my goodness — there it is — the lesson learned, and now the tide is shifting and the hero is finally …”
Yes, it is that simple. The movie has a relatively simple story, yet in classic fashion, you can find enormous complexity in it.
And does the Hero’s Journey really work for “Gravity”? Um, gee, let’s see … 97% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and #1 at the box office with $43 million. Yeah, I think maybe there’s something to this Joseph Campbell stuff.
LOGLINE IT YOURSELF
Go ahead. Do it. You know you want to. Download the app then see if you can spot all 9 elements of “the Logline” (which is the PARAGRAPH function) in the movie. It’s a fun game to play. Then write your own story with the app!
THE POWER OF SIMPLE
And lastly, I end our book by talking about simplicity as “the ultimate sophistication.” You want to see that in action, just watch “Gravity.” There’s pretty much only two actors. Is that the definition of simplicity or what?
More importantly, the core of the story was pretty simple. You don’t leave the theater feeling like, “Wow, I need a few hours to digest this thing.” You leave feeling very satisfied, like, “I Got it.” And you think you’re done with the process. But because it’s so easily absorbed, you later find your mind drifting back to the movie and pulling new things out of it.
Out of simplicity arises complexity. The makers of this movie knew this very well.
AND THEN THERE IS … EH HEM, YES, THIS ONE MINOR PROBLEM …
As Neil deGrasse Tyson has pointed out, the movie is riddled with scientific inaccuracies. Even my friend who saw it with me, who is a Hollywood agent, so not quite an astrophysicist, had a problem with exactly what Tyson pointed out when he tweeted, “Mysteries of #Gravity: When Clooney releases Bullock’s tether, he drifts away. In zero-G a single tug brings them together.”
Yeah. There is that one little problem. Oh, well, even Neil gave in and praised the movie for how much it did to connect the public with what’s going on in space these days. As we talked about a month ago with Andy Revkin, telling accurate good stories is tough.