I recently finished watching The Shark Is Still Working, a documentary about the making of Jaws. It’s fun for a lot of reasons, but I really sat up when Steven Spielberg had this to say in a 2005 interview:
If Jaws never existed except in the year 2005, I would’ve had the digital tools to have much more of the shark in the movie. Therefore I would have ruined much more of the movie.
An anti-digital rallying cry? Sure. But more importantly, it’s a reminder of a vital principle of storytelling.
Jaws gets its power from careful editing and suggestion — we see the girl at the beginning getting pulled under and dragged around by something huge and powerful, but we don’t see what the huge and powerful thing is. We judge the shark’s size by the barrels it drags behind it, and the thought of what’s strong enough to submerge that many barrels frightens us more than a clear look at the shark would. Only at the end do we see the beast itself, and then it appears at brief intervals before vanishing back into the depths. Other than the occasional fin, we never have a fix on where it is and what it’s doing. That’s more terrifying than jagged teeth and lifeless black eyes.
Less is more. Remember nothing is so frightening as the closed door, and let the reader/viewer do the work.
This is cool — the site Speaking Bocce dug up and transcribed an interview I did for the Star Wars Insider with veteran actor John Ratzenberger back in 2000. At the time I did a lot of interviews like this for both the Insider and (a bit later) the Lord of the Rings magazine, and it was (usually) interesting to ask actors about their craft and their career paths. Anyway, nice to revisit this one so many years later. Enjoy!
Here’s the cover for the first book in the Star Wars Rebels: Servants of the Empire quadrilogy. (Tetralogy?) Excited for readers to meet Zare Leonis, an intriguing character whose evolution I’ve really enjoyed exploring. Navigating the intersections between this series and the show has also been an interesting storytelling challenge.
Edge of the Galaxy comes out in October and is up for pre-order now. More soon!
It’s that time again! I’ll be at San Diego Comic-Con next week, signing the updated and expanded LEGO Star Wars Visual Dictionary (and other good things) for my friends at DK. Alas, as far as I know I won’t be joined by the very talented Ashley Eckstein — that’s her on the left in a pic from two years ago.
ANYWAY, here’s my schedule:
Friday, July 25
1p-2p DK Star Wars Booth 2913G
Saturday, July 26
11a-12p DK Star Wars Booth 2913G
Come visit! Or tweet at me — I’ll talk you off your Star Wars canon ledge (as far as NDAs allow), give you Jupiter Pirates sneak peeks, expound on baseball, or engage with anything else that’s burning up your neurons.