Today I watched two movies.
First was Mr. Popper’s Penguins. It was pretty crap, but my son (5 years old) was quite keen to see it, and I’ll take any opportunity to go to the cinema.
Then I watched Pretty Woman on DVD. My wife and I are writing a screenplay and wanted to follow the construction of this surprisingly well made movie.
When you start to look at the way the way films are put together you start to notice new things. For instance, after about ten minutes of PW, it became clear that these stories are basically identical. In each, the protagonist takes on an ostensibly negative/disrupting influence in their otherwise perfect lives. After a little initial resistance, they accept and grow to love the newcomer(s) and learn to grow and change because of it/them. Other people in their lives see the new influence as negative and try to sabotage the situation, while others see it as positive and help it along. In the end, the protagonist changes for the ‘better’.
So, Mr. Popper’s Prostitute (the same plot can also be found in other films, such as Bringing Up Baby and Three Men And A Baby, only one of which is about a baby).
What’s interesting about that is that we can all take the same raw ingredients, but make very different cakes out of them. Where Pretty Woman has the iconic scene of Julia Roberts telling shop assistants they made a ‘big mistake’ in not serving her, Mr. Popper’s Penguin’s has limp pratfalls and Jim Carrey being kicked in the nuts with a football.
Millions have loved Pretty Woman. I would guess that anyone who loves MPP would have to be under ten and not au fait with the works of Ozu, Kurosawa and Fellini.
So (to attempt to drag this back to advertising – although it could apply to pretty much anything), the thing ain’t finished till its finished. You can go pretty far in exactly the same direction as something, but divergence is always possible, and that’s where great can always become poor. And vice versa.
For example, you might have the idea of having someone give a testimonial about how great the product is. And that could come out like this:
Or like this:
Up to you.
PS: I am on holiday in France for a couple of weeks. I might post, I might not. Probably depends on the weather.