Let the Force guide your screenwriting

With “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” demolishing all box office records, the brilliant minds at ScriptBully have a new post titled 5 Things Every Screenwriter Can Learn From Star Wars. In this case, “Star Wars” refers to the original film, Episode IV: A New Hope from 1977.

All 5 notes are worth giving some serious thought, but #1 points to how an understanding of cinema history can inform your storytelling:

CYLaX32WEAARCVHScreenwriting Hack You Can Learn From Star Wars #1: If Yer Gonna Steal, Steal From the Best

We all know about Lucas’ man-crush on the whole Joseph Campbell Mythic Structure thing-y. But the real look, feel – and narrative framing – of “Star Wars” is pure Akira Kurosawa, the famed Japanese director.

Sure there’s the samurai-inspired light saber motif and the Toshiro Mifune-style robes worn by Obi-Wan Kenobi. But it’s how Kurosawa, in his film “Hidden Fortress,” told the story from the POV of two road-weary peasants that gave Lucas the idea for C3PO and R2D2. (A narrative device that not only provides the film with much-needed comic relief, but also keeps it from feeling episodic.)

Screenwriting Takeaway #1: If yer looking for some structural inspiration, forget the latest Michael Bay offering and go straight to the masters.

If you’re new to the work of Akira Kurosawa, and want to dive in with some beautiful cinematography, check out this video from Every Frame A Painting on composition in Kurosawa films:

Also, check out this amazing poster from Hungary for the 1977 release of “Star Wars”!!!