Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lessons from Sex and the City 2

When SATC aired on HBO, it was one of my favorite shows. The first movie was a fun diversion. The second movie was ... well, I don't want to mean. Let's just say this: as writers, there's a lot we can learn from Sex and the City 2:

Get to the point--quickly.
This movie was far too long for a chick flick (2 hours, 26 minutes). It took about 45 minutes until we reached anything resembling plot. We need to care about the protagonist in a hurry.

About plot...make it beefy.
It's flimsy if halfway through the story we're thinking who cares? I love Carrie and the gang, but flashy clothes and exotic locations will only get you so far. The best stories have tangled, meaningful plots.

Cut the boring stuff.
We've all learned that each scene in our stories must be there for a reason. In SATC 2, the song and dance number featuring Liza Minnelli at an over-the-top wedding didn't further the story. Sorry, Liza.

Take the blinders, or oversized sunglasses, off.
We shouldn't be so in love with the story we're oblivious to the weak spots. The producers of SATC are pros, but perhaps they were too attached to the material.

Quit while you're ahead.
After Sex and the City's run on HBO, fans wanted more, more, more. Throughout the movie I kept thinking, is it almost over yet?

Did you see this movie? Do you think I'm crazy for not liking it? And what lessons have you learned from the best and worst movies you've seen?

If you're a producer of SATC, I didn't mean a word of this. If you're interested in the movie rights to my story, call me!

46 comments:

  1. I heard similar things about it, but I love how you relate it back to writing!

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  2. LOL that's hysterical. I haven't watched it for this exact reason. When the show aired, I remember having John take Rob (a baby then) so that I could have thirty minutes of peace to watch it. That was hard because at the time it conflicted with X-Files, his fave:) Now, it just feels overdone. Love the analogies.

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  3. Haven't seen the movie. But I agree with all the points in this post, the way you connected it to writing. Those who watch a movie get bored if it just meanders along without pace.

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  4. Safe to say that one's not on my list, but I heard it was all fluff and no stuff.

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  5. I haven't seen either movie, and didn't watch the show, but you've offered some great advice.

    I hate reading a book or watching a movie and wondering, "Is this ever going to end?"

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  6. Loved the show and the first movie. Hated the second movie. Where was the sex? Where was the city? New York is a character so why wasn't it used?

    And do not get me started on that awful bit of racism at the end when Samantha starts offending men in the street. Not cool.

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  7. Hi Julie,

    I get the point you make. Nobody would love a book if halfway through they are still wondering when will it start or when will it end!

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  8. Hi Julie,

    I get the point you make. No one would love a book, if halfway through and they're still wondering when will it start or when will it end!

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  9. Those are really good tips, actually. Never saw the movie or the show, but you're right, there are some valuable lessons here.

    Just dropping by to say hello from the crusade.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

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  10. It's ironic that a show that told perfect mini stories every week didn't seem to follow their own perfect formula. I have seen #2 yet. I loved SATC 1.

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  11. I, too, loved the show and the first movie (it made me maudlin for the show)...I haven't seen the second movie yet, and now know I'll probably avoid it.

    Wasn't it Johnny Carson who said you should leave when people are still asking "Why?" instead of thinking "Thank God he's gone."

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  12. The commercial for the second SATC nailed the coffin for me. Carrie on a camel? I knew then my money would be better used on Milk Duds. :)

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  13. Nope, I've not seen this movie. I've heard too many bad reviews for it. I love that you got heaps of cool writing tips from it though :)

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  14. I've never watched it but your points are perfect for a writer:))

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  15. Such a shame that the movie didn't live up to the quality of the original. I didn't see it, and now I know not to! These are excellent points, you'd think the writers in Hollywood would already know all this stuff LOL.

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  16. Great points! I ignored the movie because I never watched the show anyway, and then everyone said how horrible it was.

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  17. Good pointers, my favourite being to get rid of pointless scenes. Doing some crusading. Love the look. I'm a sucker for backgrounds.

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  18. I didn't see either of the movies or even the TV show, but I heard some not-so-great things about the second movie. I guess one thing I've learned from movies is that not everything has to wrapped up in a neat little bow at the end.

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  19. I was trying to watch the movie, but it kind of got boring...so I've pushed watching it to a different day....i liked the first movie a lot though...

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  20. I heard from friends that this particular movie was pretty bad. I love your analogy. Even though I haven't seen the movie, your points were helpful. I'm editing (again) right now and worrying that my pacing is still off at the beginning. So, your first point is well taken!

    Amy

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  21. I didn't see it - sadly I heard it was terrible and not to bother wasting my time.

    You've got a ton of great advice here! Thanks :)

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  22. Comfort food and comfort movies make you fat and lazy. You realy do have to quit while you're ahead: Seinfield and Everybody loves Raymond. Good points for writing.

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  23. I saw it and agree with you! It was a shame because the series on HBO was amazing. I will definitely learn what NOT to do as a writer from this. :)

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  24. Ha! Nice try, Julie! I actually only watched a few snippets here and there when the show was re-ran on non-HBO cable. My kids were still young and my wife clicked away when necessary. I did go to the first film with my wife, but neither she or I ever brought up going to see the second one. Sounds as if we made the correct decision. Well done with the post; lots of great points!!
    --Jimmy

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  25. I haven't seen it, but these are excellent tips! :)

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  26. No I haven't seen the movie but I never watched the show either. Those are great take away points!

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  27. Great tips.

    I loved the first movie, but haven't seen the second. That's quite disappointing.

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  28. Great post! Another thing I learned? Make the stakes high enough for the audience to care and believe that the characters really have something to lose. After EVERYTHING that those characters had been through (and done...) it was hard to get too invested in the idea that one dinner/kiss would cause THAT MUCH DRAMA!

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  29. I for one was happy with where the show ended. All loose ends were tied p. The end. I did, however, enjoy the first movie. I have yet to see the second. I'm in no hurry.

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  30. Great tips that we all need to keep in mind! I've never been a SATC fan, so I never saw the movie, but man did I hear terrible things about it. You really hit the nail on the head with the complaints about it.

    This is such a great concept! Already the wheels are turning in my mind.

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  31. I completely agree! I think the show hit on all those great points and the movie violated each of them.

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  32. Great post! Hi! I'm a fellow crusader and new follower. Nice to meet you.

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  33. Hey there!
    I haven't seen this movie yet! But I really, really wanted to see it! LOL. Now I'm not sure what I'll do about it! :P

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  34. I didn't see the movie, but slow beginnings are a pet peeve of mine. Start with a hook and bang, and then slow a bit to draw me in. That's what I prefer, anyway.

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  35. he he ... I'm one of those who've seen each episode of SATC at least three of four times, so I totally support the idea that you can learn a lot about psychology and sociology from the show, and not just about fashion :)

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  36. I love the idea that we can take inspiration from anywhere and apply it to our writing. Thanks for an entertaining example!

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  37. You did a great job in highlighting what writers can take away from this TV show.

    As to the movie, I left half way through--something I seldom do, so no you're not wrong to feel as you do about it. That's MHO.

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  38. I loved the show, liked movie #1, and something said I should avoid #2 to keep the good memories of what came before.

    You're right on - excellent points. Keep them wanting more. Even if it's a serial.

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  39. I've heard my friends rave over it, but I've never seen it. But I do like how you compare it to writing, great analogy!!!

    Nice to meet a fellow crusader! Have a great weekend!

    ♥.•*¨ Elizabeth ¨*•.♥

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  40. Well, I never really watched sex and the city or the movies. But sorry it wasnt good :D.

    bethfred.com

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  41. I liked the points you made -- especially the sunglasses that don't let you see the work clearly. But I have a confession: I tried to watch the original SATC and was even bored by that.

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  42. The first movie was great, and perfect I think. The second one = SUCKED.

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  43. Hi- we're on the same crusade team so I'm dropping in to say hi.
    I haven't seen either movie, though watched the show some. This is great advice that transcends the movie, IMHO.

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  44. Hello there! Fellow crusader dropping in...I did see SATC2 - I waited until it was on redbox because I heard about the reviews. (Plus I waited until Redbox Monday so I could get it for free) I agree with you, I am a big fan of the show and loved the first movie...the second one was disappointing. Not sure I would add it to my collection, though I did get a good laugh out of Liza Minelli scene in the wedding

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