Declaration of principles

Welcome to Stumbling, Bumbling, and Mumbling: A Writer’s Journey, the lowliest film blog on Earth. Here, we’ll all have the chance to dissect film from a screenwriting perspective. We’ll discuss the writing process, ponder tricks of the trade, delight in structural prowess, bemoan outdated clichés, and bellyache about whatever topic dances through my sophomoric little mind. We’ll laugh, we’ll love, we’ll grow. So stick around. Maybe we’ll learn something.

Let’s get the ball rolling with an observation of an old screenwriting stand-by: the manifesto. I’ll refrain from calling it a cliché, because it’s only a cliché if it doesn’t work anymore. Most famously, the manifesto shows up in Citizen Kane. While trying to put his newspaper together late one night, Charles Arthur Kane gets the idea to write a Declaration of Principles, a sort of oath to transparency and public service. It also shows up fairly explicitly in Y Tu Mama Tambien, when a pair of friends discuss their long standing brotherly code of honour.

Naturally, the sole purpose of making these promises is providing the dramatic opportunity to break them. Kane gets his declaration thrown in his face when his ego drives him to dishonestly prop up his wife as an Opera Superstar. The boys of Y Tu Mama Tambien each admit sleeping with each other’s girlfriends. In both cases, the stories draw pathos from reality’s ugly habit of spoiling youthful idealism. The breaking of a pact is a simple little moment with which a writer can trace ideological deterioration.

Lesson learned? Here, as I share my mission statement, I’m sure to make no promises. Let’s just go ahead and have a little fun instead.

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