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Backwards Filmmaking: does it work? 
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Post Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/fast-furio ... ilmmaking/

Interesting article about the creative process behind the Fast Furious franchise, but really it can stand in for how almost all studios and franchises operate nowadays. Pick a release date first, then conceive action sequences, then build a story around them.

Admittedly, it's nothing new. James Bond has been doing it that way for decades, so it seems. Though I'd be interested to know if Skyfall was hashed out in this way. It's hard to tell for sure. Regardless, does this process kind of work from a creative standpoint? Indeed, it's not limited to studios and franchises. Many film directors have arguably spent their careers coming up with stories to fit their styles or to fit specific set pieces they wanted to use.


Wed Apr 08, 2015 4:22 pm
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
I'm hesitant to read that article because I haven't seen Furious 7 yet. Are there any spoilers?

I'm tempted to say - if the story's good then does it matter whether it was thought up first or thought up to fit around action set pieces? But I guess it's certainly possible that one way generally achieves better results than the other.


Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:04 pm
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
Mission: Impossible 2 did that (write the action sequences and then the story around them) and it sucked, so I'm sure there are good and bad examples on both sides of the fence.

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Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:35 pm
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
Thief12 wrote:
Mission: Impossible 2 did that (write the action sequences and then the story around them) and it sucked, so I'm sure there are good and bad examples on both sides of the fence.

I disagree, I thought it was a damn good film.


Thu Apr 09, 2015 12:16 am
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
I loved Mission: Impossible 2. Plot wise, it was your basic spy movie stuff. If it's the story that you don't like about it well I don't see how it's any worse than the plot for the other Mission: Impossible movies. But I also always found the characters to be rather compelling. Thandie Newton's character and her chemistry with both Tom Cruise and her uneasy chemistry with Dougray Scott, who I think is a fantastic bad guy. That is one thing that was missing IMO from Ghost Protocol. It has some amazing action set pieces, particularly the Dubai scene. But it lacked a really compelling villain. That's where the 2nd and 3rd one has it beat. I also love John Woo's style which is another reason why love 2 so much and why it's probably my favorite.


As for writing a story around action scenes, I don't it's generally a good idea. Action should serve the story, not the other way around. But I love the F&F franchise so I guess it's worked for them. At least thus far.


Thu Apr 09, 2015 12:20 am
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
I like Face/Off but found Dougray Scott a bit overbearing in MI2 and prefer his performance in Taken 3. I feel that Mission Impossible doesn't really need a villain because it's all about Tom Cruise vs Tom Cruise. Pushing himself in stunt work, pushing to top himself. With Ghost Protocol, he carried the torch for Buster Keaton pretty well. Ghost Protocol certainly feels like backwards filmmaking it's most successful. Hardly a story to speak of, just great set pieces.

You can find it in some older movies to an extent, but not nearly as much as now. It's done rather badly throughout the Brosnan Bonds. Spy Who Loved Me is probably one of the first major blockbusters to master the approach.


Thu Apr 09, 2015 12:31 am
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
I know someone who is good friends with James Wan. He said Wan was miserable making the film, basically the studio execs called all the shots. He was just a hired gun, like most directors on 150 million dollar budgeted films probably are.


Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:46 am
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
calvero wrote:
I know someone who is good friends with James Wan. He said Wan was miserable making the film, basically the studio execs called all the shots. He was just a hired gun, like most directors on 150 million dollar budgeted films probably are.


I can believe that. One of my teachers was a close friend of Marc Forster, and she told me how terrible a time he had on Quantum. Maybe in that case it wasn't anyone's fault, but the producers and he were two sides of an equation who just didn't see eye to eye.


Thu Apr 09, 2015 1:57 am
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
It is really nothing new. Companies like AIP were doing this sort of thing back in the 1950s and 1960s: They would print up some posters and marketing materials, take surveys of teenagers to find which ideas were most popular, and then make the movie based on those surveys.

So that much has not changed. What has changed is that the studios are now making B movies with A budgets. 50 years ago, something like Fast & Furious (or whatever the new one is called; who can keep track) would have been given a budget of no more than a quarter million dollars (or in today's dollars, a budget of $1.8 million). Now, such car porn is given a massive budget, while the dramatic stories and rom-coms that used to be the studios' bread and butter have difficulty even getting made.

So that is the real difference. In the days of AIP as now, the main goal was the same, which was to make money. The directors and screenwriters were for hire, and there was no real auteurist vision for the project. Personally, I don't mind that sort of thing for a low-budget film, but spending hundreds of millions of dollars on fluff has always bugged me somewhat.

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Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:37 am
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
ilovemovies wrote:
I loved Mission: Impossible 2. Plot wise, it was your basic spy movie stuff. If it's the story that you don't like about it well I don't see how it's any worse than the plot for the other Mission: Impossible movies. But I also always found the characters to be rather compelling. Thandie Newton's character and her chemistry with both Tom Cruise and her uneasy chemistry with Dougray Scott, who I think is a fantastic bad guy. That is one thing that was missing IMO from Ghost Protocol. It has some amazing action set pieces, particularly the Dubai scene. But it lacked a really compelling villain. That's where the 2nd and 3rd one has it beat. I also love John Woo's style which is another reason why love 2 so much and why it's probably my favorite.


Well, to each his own. It's the only film of the series I don't like. It's not necessarily the plot, but how it was all executed. Plus, to me this is the one where it all feels less like a team, and more like Tom Cruise, the superhero. Granted, he's going to be the highlight in all films, but I think the others did a better job of balancing his role with the team. Another thing is that I don't particularly care for Woo's aesthetics, which are all in your face in this film.

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Thu Apr 09, 2015 10:18 am
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
calvero wrote:
I know someone who is good friends with James Wan. He said Wan was miserable making the film, basically the studio execs called all the shots. He was just a hired gun, like most directors on 150 million dollar budgeted films probably are.

I dunno about that, in the interviews he's given he doesn't sound like he was miserable making the film at all(except for having to deal with Walker's untimely death of course), whereas Foster has always been pretty open in interviews about he disliked making Solace.


Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:20 pm
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
It is really nothing new. Companies like AIP were doing this sort of thing back in the 1950s and 1960s: They would print up some posters and marketing materials, take surveys of teenagers to find which ideas were most popular, and then make the movie based on those surveys.

So that much has not changed. What has changed is that the studios are now making B movies with A budgets. 50 years ago, something like Fast & Furious (or whatever the new one is called; who can keep track) would have been given a budget of no more than a quarter million dollars (or in today's dollars, a budget of $1.8 million). Now, such car porn is given a massive budget, while the dramatic stories and rom-coms that used to be the studios' bread and butter have difficulty even getting made.

So that is the real difference. In the days of AIP as now, the main goal was the same, which was to make money. The directors and screenwriters were for hire, and there was no real auteurist vision for the project. Personally, I don't mind that sort of thing for a low-budget film, but spending hundreds of millions of dollars on fluff has always bugged me somewhat.


True. I can understand for superheroes that you need higher budgets, but for car films you simply don't need a blockbuster budget to make it work. I think $30-40 million is a more proper budget for this sort of thing. But so far, the pattern is that the more money you spend, the more you make. Once in a while it's fun to see producers/directors blow a quarter billion on pure extravagance, but mostly these films are too cautious and micro-managed to be enjoyed on that level.


Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:11 pm
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
my friend talked to Wan this week(they go way back), they just offered him Part 8, 9, & 10!


Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:59 am
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
I wouldn't be surprised if Universal allows Wan to do a passion project in the form of a 200 million dollar horror movie at some point. Furious 7's box office numbers are utterly insane, and it has definitely sent some shock waves through the industry. Wan will probably take the deal for more FF sequels, but even if he doesn't he basically has a lifetime pass to make any movie he wants for however much money he wants.

I feel we're on the brink of more upcoming box office milestones. I guarantee you that within a year, or 2 years at most, we'll have at least one movie earn a billion dollars worldwide in less than 10 days after opening.


Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:44 am
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
It is really nothing new. Companies like AIP were doing this sort of thing back in the 1950s and 1960s: They would print up some posters and marketing materials, take surveys of teenagers to find which ideas were most popular, and then make the movie based on those surveys.

So that much has not changed. What has changed is that the studios are now making B movies with A budgets. 50 years ago, something like Fast & Furious (or whatever the new one is called; who can keep track) would have been given a budget of no more than a quarter million dollars (or in today's dollars, a budget of $1.8 million). Now, such car porn is given a massive budget, while the dramatic stories and rom-coms that used to be the studios' bread and butter have difficulty even getting made.

So that is the real difference. In the days of AIP as now, the main goal was the same, which was to make money. The directors and screenwriters were for hire, and there was no real auteurist vision for the project. Personally, I don't mind that sort of thing for a low-budget film, but spending hundreds of millions of dollars on fluff has always bugged me somewhat.


A quarter million dollars, 50 years ago? Roger Corman would've gotten a heart attack. The budget for his 'The Fast and the Furious', the first movie released by AIP exactly 50 years ago in 1955, was a mere $ 50,000.


Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:59 am
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
MGamesCook wrote:
I wouldn't be surprised if Universal allows Wan to do a passion project in the form of a 200 million dollar horror movie at some point. Furious 7's box office numbers are utterly insane, and it has definitely sent some shock waves through the industry. Wan will probably take the deal for more FF sequels, but even if he doesn't he basically has a lifetime pass to make any movie he wants for however much money he wants.

I feel we're on the brink of more upcoming box office milestones. I guarantee you that within a year, or 2 years at most, we'll have at least one movie earn a billion dollars worldwide in less than 10 days after opening.

Yeah it's pretty amazing, and to think last year lots of people were claiming that blockbusters were no longer a viable means of making money, this definitely puts that theory to rest.


Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:46 pm
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
Yeah but we're still getting closer to a point where a non-blockbusters are less and less financially viable.


Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:44 pm
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
MGamesCook wrote:
I wouldn't be surprised if Universal allows Wan to do a passion project in the form of a 200 million dollar horror movie at some point. Furious 7's box office numbers are utterly insane, and it has definitely sent some shock waves through the industry. Wan will probably take the deal for more FF sequels, but even if he doesn't he basically has a lifetime pass to make any movie he wants for however much money he wants.

I feel we're on the brink of more upcoming box office milestones. I guarantee you that within a year, or 2 years at most, we'll have at least one movie earn a billion dollars worldwide in less than 10 days after opening.

I heard Wan is currently being approached to direct the upcoming "Aquaman" film.


Fri Apr 10, 2015 5:00 pm
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Post Re: Backwards Filmmaking: does it work?
Taking Aquaman over Fast 8 would be a smart choice for him IMO.


Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:46 pm
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