My Storytelling Giants

Good artist copy, great artist steal – Pablo Picasso
While studying storytelling, I’ve come to realize that I must become an old soul to understand it’s power. Reason is, there’s barely any current films with good stories out there. It’s overwhelmed by effects and other non-sense.  Which I love, don’t get me wrong. But if I had to chose, I’ll choose story.
With that said,  I made a list of storytelling craftsmen I must research and learn about. These are my storytelling giants.

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How To Write Contained Thrillers

This has been very popular post in the filmmaking community. Every so often, I update this article to provide you the best possible information to get you started in this thriller sub-genre. Perhaps you googled How To Write Contained Thrillers because you are certain that it’s the most affordable and creative way to make a movie. And you’re probably right. It’s thrilling, challenging, and it requires very little resources. Writing contained thrillers is thinking INSIDE THE BOX. Rather than outside. Because all writers and producers know that thinking outside that box can be expensive.

So what is a Contained Thriller?

It’s a Thriller film sub-genre. In most cases, a low-budget production that takes place in one location. This location is typically the location where the main character(s) is contained or constricted. Either the film sets up a plot of this character trying to escape this location for X reasons, or X reasons has this character stuck in this location until the problem is solved. Locations may vary from room, car, plane, house, apartment, elevator, courtroom and more giving the character and the audience a no-way-out-claustrophobic-tick-tock-tension feel.

So, that’s what contained thrillers are. A thriller movie set in one major location, where the characters of the story are contained or confined. If you want to look for films that are contained thrillers, trying searching for one location films or movies.  

Here are some:

  • Rear Window
  • Rope
  • Lifeboat
  • 12 Angry Men
  • Buried
  • Panic Room
  • ATM
  • Devil
  • Phonebooth
  • Exam
  • Wreck
  • Locke

And this list goes on.

It’s arguable if a one location film is a contained thriller or not. But that’s not the point. I guess this term embodies the idea of making a drama, action, thriller, or mystery film can be done in one location.

It’s not easy. For one, you have to understand and know the important story elements that goes behind a thriller. You know, the stuff like the use time/pacing, cliff hangers, red herrings, conflicted heroes, believable villains, the use plot points to drive the story forward, suspense, mystery, mcguffins, crucibles,  emotion, tension, twist, surprises, and this list goes on too. I definitely recommend buying Writing A Killer Thriller to get the ball rolling with that.

I’ve taken it upon myself to collect as many contained thriller films and scripts for my personal study. I’ve stumbled upon a handful of interviews and articles that goes in topics like the use of claustrophobia, intensifying pressure, escalating risk/stakes, creating ticking-clocks scene, manipulating fear and etc.

I recommend you visit the links below. Spend some time listening to the interviews. Reading the articles, forums, and comments. Over all, watch the movies.