*Disclaimer: Some spoilers for the film Get Out
Jordan Peele is an American filmmaker, actor, and comedian who has made such films as Get Out, and the recent Us, he is also well known for acting in a TV show named Mad as well as Key & Peele. In the above video Jordan gives us some good writing advice for thrillers, a type of genre that makes the reader feel heightened emotions of suspense, excitement, surprise, anticipation and anxiety. But he also gives some tips that are good for all writers of any genre. If you don’t want to watch the video above then don’t worry we’ve written down all the bits that we thought were important for your writers to know below.
Jordan starts with the awesome line of “The power of story is that it is one of the few ways that we can really feel empathy and encourage empathy.” This line already gives some advice, to make sure that your audience can feel empathy can relate to your characters, and understand why they do things. Remember that your protagonist (main character) is smart and can easily nope right out of this situation, but they need a justified reason to stay. Jordan says that he has an audience that he imagines in his head, this is the audience that he has to try and convince of his story. Also readers/viewers are gonna be trying to find out whats going on using what you’ve set up, and if you don’t want something to come across wrong sometimes you have to rework it. A great tip that can be used is saying your stuff out loud, so that you can hear if it works. Make sure to explore with your outline, its kind of like brainstorming, where you find random bits that you like, but it doesn’t really work then you find a way to make it work. And don’t forget the antagonist has to have motivations, even though their motives may be unorthodox to most, but the audience can still understand why the antagonist is doing something. Find how you want your audience to feel when reading through or viewing something, do you want them to feel angry, terrified, sad, etc… Many writers have noticed that most stories have a very similar structure, but there are certain conventions in specific genres. Jordan believes that in a thriller you aren’t doing it right if you don’t push the boundaries of darkness and good taste. In Jordan Peele’s film he tries to find a morale or symbolism that means something to him. Jordan finished off with some advice on what to do you when you aren’t having fun with your story. His advice was that if you aren’t having fun you’re doing it wrong, and its up to you to try and find ways to reconnect yourself with your story. Try to find different angles or maybe try doing something else fun to return later with fresh eyes to fix what was bring you down.
Alright, see you later Writers.