Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Storytelling in Cupcakes

Last night I watched a light-hearted movie from Israel called Cupcakes. Since it was mostly in Hebrew I’m sure I missed some parts of the movie that didn’t make it into the subtitles but overall I thought it was a good model for storytelling.
The main plot is about six friends who live in the same apartment building who, in tryng to cheer up a neighbor whose husband has left, create a song and a video. One of the characters enters it in a competition for what I guess is supposed to be the Eurovision song contest, and they’re chosen to represent Israel.
Of course that causes conflicts for each of them, which are eventually resolved by the time of the performance in Paris. The woman whose husband has left learns to let go and have fun, which brings him back. The action of the movie allows the guy who's dating a closeted boyfriend to be honest with everyone. One girl meets a boyfriend, another realizes that a friend can be more, and a third accepts that her boss has been using her and changes jobs.
What I thought was interesting was how each of the six main characters had an arc throughout the movie, which was eventually resolved. Most of the arcs were romantic, but they covered everything from communication between parents and children and husbands and wives to coming out of the closet and artistic integrity.

An awful lot to jam into 70+ minutes! But the filmmaker did a good job in establishing each character and his or her conflict, then wrapping each strand up, though sometimes with a bit of coincidence. Overall, a good model for any writer, I think. Make sure that your characters stand out, that each has an arc, and you find a satisfying way of resolving that arc.