Tag Archives: The Cabin in the Woods

Concentrated Passion – Joss Whedon on writing The Cabin in the Woods in three days

Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard wrote the movie The Cabin in the Woods in a concentrated time and space. One was downstairs in a hotel suite and the other was upstairs. They shared a printer and sent stuff back forth to each other, building on what the other was writing. They started at 6 AM every day and ended at 1 AM. They finished the script in three days. Three days! Here’s Joss Whedon talking about the process, culled from a number of different interviews: “This movie, Drew and I locked ourselves in the hotel for three days and all-time was the time to write.  We would break for dinner, but spend that time just going over what we still had to do that day.  We never talked about anything else, but because we were so locked into the vision of the thing there wasn’t a lot of downtime.  There wasn’t a lot of pacing, we wouldn’t get tired, we didn’t go, “Oh you know, let’s gab about stuff,” at any point.  The fingers kept flying; I mean I did a personal best on this which I think was 26 pages in a day…you know honestly, I’m not looking to top that (laughs).  We had done a lot of prep and everything, but it also came from our giddy joy at being able to write this.  We didn’t know if anybody was gonna make it, we just were like, “Oh my God.” Like War of the Gargantuas, they’re destroying Tokyo and we’re just having such a good time with it.  And to me it feels like the entire movie—you know how The Tree of Life all had to be shot in magic hour and it took forever?  This feels like it was all written at four in the morning.” What can we learn from this? Prepare: “We talked about this movie endlessly before we made it, even before we wrote it, because it’s the kind of world that we love to walk in.” Passion: Phrases that strike me: “locked in”, “it’s the kind of world we love to walk in”, Purpose – it helps to work with someone else, someone who’s simpatico: Whedon said there where no disagreements during the writing at all. Some disagreements came up during filming, but not in the writing together. Play: “our giddy joy at being able to write this” and “This feels like it was all written at four in the morning” (there’s dark-night-of-the-soul four in the morning and there’s sleep-deprived-giddy-with-good-friends four in the morning – this is the latter). And the smaller the boundary (3 days in this case) the more concentrated the play can be. Persistence (the renewal side of persistence): Also, if you attempt a burst of passion like this, prepare to crash heavily after this. Don’t expect this to be the new norm in life and productivity, as tempting as this is. They did a three-day long giant in-breath and there needs to be an outbreath, an emptying in order to persist in the larger picture. Lastly, here’s my review of the movie, let me know what you think! The Cabin in the Woods – From the mind of Joss Whedon (Avengers, Firefly, Toy Story) and Drew Goddard, his co-writer on the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, comes a very creative spin on the horror movie genre. Truth be told, I don’t like horror movies. But the premise they came up with is exhilaratingly original, fun, and humorous. I won’t say more about the plot, as there are many twists and turns that are part of the pleasure (Whedon says, “the less you know the more you’ll enjoy the movie”). Written in three feverish days, Whedon manages to couple his brilliance at dialogue with a story you want to follow.

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