I’m back to reading scripts before watching movies! This month is Dreamworks month. I’ll be watching several of their animated films. To kick it off, I watched How to Train Your Dragon!
For the ninetieth time!
And I still love it. I think this movie will be a classic a hundred years from now.
Things I learned from the script:
The script was put together by Chris Sanders and Dean Deblois. When I asked Dean last year if he had any literature background, he said no. He came from the art side of things.
This makes sense because the script was very concisely descriptive of reactions. I think this was to support the storyboards. There’s this old saying - “Acting is reacting.” There were little notes about how Hiccup reacts to most situations. I bet this was super helpful for the animators too.
How to Train Your Dragon was revised at least 19 times. Next time I revise a script 6 or 7 or 13 times, I should remember this.
Jumping the 180 Line:
I recently read Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers by Marcos Mateu-Mestre (again). I think I finally understand what the 180 line is. It’s like the stage. If you’re filming a story, you don’t film it from behind the stage. You can film it from all sorts of angles in front of the stage, but not behind it, except for specific circumstances–namely if you want to confuse the audience.
There are at least a couple of places in HTTYD where the camera jumps the 180 line. The first one I noticed was the scene with Gobber and Stoick talking in the big room.
The second is when Hiccup and Toothless are fighting the Red Death. In order to cause surprise and instability, Toothless comes in from all over the place.
My Favorite Moments:
I just have to include these here. The storytelling is so concise and so beautiful and these moments are just as real to me as The Lion King was to me when I was a kid. I love this movie so much. HTTYD2 and HTTYD3 have quite a bit to live up to.
I'd also like to point out that this is an animated film that features a physically disabled hero. I haven't seen very many of those. That last screencap gets me every single time. With the tail and the leg. Ugh. So good.
The screencaps were from disneyscreencaps.com
Next week will be... *drumroll* THE CROODS! Another favorite movie of mine.