The Arena of the Screenplay

Certain films just ooze atmosphere, and that’s often because of the way the ‘arena’ is used with the story, rather than just being a backdrop for it.

Fargo is a superb example of this. The bleak coldness of the snow, splashed with the red of blood, and the warmth of Marge Gundersson’s characters all work together brilliantly. The location can oftentimes become a character in its own right.

The dark, dirty industrial landscape of Eraserhead has a life of its own in David Lynch’s hand (the sound design does a great deal to achieve this, too), providing an onslaught of the senses which adds to the general feeling of unease throughout the whole film.

In Edward Scissorhands, the pastel shades of the town to which Edward is introduced are a garish, over-the-top contrast to the dark shadows of the castle in which he was created, which helps portray further division between himself and the world outside.

Location and environment are things I want to work with more in my scripts, especially to provide a contrast between what’s happening and the environment in which it’s taking place.

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