Monday, March 27, 2006

Face-Off

So over a month ago, I mentioned that I was writing the build-up to the big Act II climax. And I have been: I've written several scenes of rising tension before the villains finally reveal themselves, as well as fitting in some earlier scenes to fill in some backstory and heighten the stakes a bit. And it seemed to be going well; just last Sunday, I said that I thought I'd be into the big climactic action scene by the next day.

Well, it's pretty obvious by the way I worded the last paragraph that it didn't happen. So where am I?

I'm right in the trickiest, and potentially most interesting, part: The Face-Off.

I remember that I used to have a special about Disney animation on tape that I watched over and over. One of Disney's Nine Old Men (it was Frank Thomas, I think) mentioned that Woolie Reitherman was the studio's expert on action scenes. Then they showed Reitherman talking about the tension before the fight, when the two sides are facing off, that last moment of stillness in which it seems like a fight may be avoided, before all hell breaks loose.

You've seen it in movies: the two gunfighters facing each other down a deserted street, two kung-fu masters adopting contrasting stances, two samurai, hands on hilts, locking eyes for that interminable moment before the swords are drawn and blood follows. Sometimes before the battle, they talk, just to make sure that every option besides violence is considered.

That's where I am: two sides, facing each other across an empty expanse, one side committed to the fight, the other side not yet suspecting that there will be one. This is a crucial, crucial scene, because it sets up the entire third act, and I've got to get the dialogue just right to set all the dominoes falling.

And more than anything right now, I want to rush past this moment, which needs to be caressed and savored, and get right into the blowing things up part.

1 comment:

Ted Nicolaou said...

Hi Tony,

I'm doing a documentary on Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK, and searching for any footage of Woolie Reitherman I can find. If you can tell me the name of the special about Disney animation you mention on this post, I would be most appreciative.
My e mail address is
tednicolaou@ca.rr.com