The following videos present a master class in storytelling through the lens of a critique of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (with some bizarre dark humor and not safe for work language thrown in for fun).
I was rewatching them today, and realized that I paid a lot of money to have most of these lessons drilled into my head in grad school.
Most (if not all) of the points covered can be directly applied to writing musicals as well, particularly as they apply to characterization, story structure, clearly defined protagonists/antagonists, logic, motivation, and the power of simplicity.
His analysis of the fight choreography, “Lightsaber duels have less to do with the fight itself but more so with the internalization of the characters,” is one that any writer for the musical stage would be well served to keep in mind.
Too often, you see sequences in musicals that have much less to do with what’s going on with the characters, and more to do with the business of what’s happening on stage. Like the overly choreographed duels in The Phantom Menace, we see flash trump substance, thus rendering the moment dramatically untrue, and much less compelling.
The importance of collaboration and the dangers of not listening to (or not being able to solicit) honest feedback are also obviously applicable. Perhaps the most interesting point, though, to me, is the brief mention he makes of how the cleanliness of the new Star Wars films robs them of something essential, that grit and imperfection are actually what give the originals their humanity.
Watch the rest of the review after the jump.