Well, it depends on how you look at the story. But the key to directing the kind of storytelling that really drives up the value of a movie lies in the director’s ability to build tension. And the kind of tension that gets your heart racing and pushes up the price of a movie is the kind of tension that is built in the first few minutes of a movie, and only gets intensified in the story.
When I write, there is no such thing as a boring movie. A boring movie only exists if you set something up to give it boring moments, and then you spend the rest of the time doing other work that doesn’t involve that movie. One of the things that sets the tone of my writing is how much it’s about the stories, and how much it’s just about making stuff that might or might not even exist in our own fiction. At any given time, you’re never really sure if your story will even be finished until it has been read by millions of people. But I think the biggest reason our genre-blending movies are so interesting is that every single character in a movie is worth knowing. Every single person in a movie is worth imagining an awesome action. Even the characters in a movie that’s not trying to be a great love story don’t have to act as if love and romance are inherently bad. The things about the human experience that we all think deserve to be told sometimes exist in fiction, and sometimes they don’t.
So what’s it like to tell stories that are really, truly weird and weird and really really awesome?
I hate to say that it’s hard, because I know that everyone’s been saying that for decades—but it is, and it is not. The good thing is that I think the most difficult part about creating stories is actually making sure that you’re telling the right kind of story at the right time.
What has been the single best part of all your movies so far?
I had no idea that I found, in the process of writing all these movies, a real obsession with horror. Now that I think about that very, very closely, no, the single best part has, for me, been learning about the story that we’re telling with these monsters. For me, it comes up every time I’m looking at the monster design—it always reminds me that the monsters are not the end of any particular story. When I realized that most of the monsters in this genre really just want to scare people
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