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Use your influences

David Gane
David Gane
1 min read

When teaching, I'll often reference movies to students that might help them build out their story.

I never suggest plagiarizing but for them to use these films as part of the foundations for their scenes, sequences, or stories. Or even better, use clunky choices as opportunities to create different beats for their own story.

Yet, often they hesitate, thinking they're cheating in some way.

I was thinking about all this while watching this video of Christopher Nolan and Cillian Murphy walking the aisles of the Vidéo Club.

As they stroll, Nolan shares his many influences. He discusses how he'll do a print screening of a film for his crew as a touchstone for the ongoing project. Or he'll point out specific film scenes he's drawn inspiration from, such as Heat for The Dark Knight.

I think it's good to be inspired by previous stories. It teaches you craft and construction. If a highly lauded filmmaker like Nolan can do it, then why can't you?


David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


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