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HOW TO DELIVER A TERRIFYING INFO DUMP: EXPOSITORY MONOLOGUES IN HORROR

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University of Philosophical Research

3910 Los Feliz Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90027

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Expository monologues – the long speeches delivered by a character to provide backstory or motivation – can be the downfall or the showstopper of a horror film, and there’s at least one in a vast majority. The purpose of all these soliloquies is an extended, intense effort to overcome the unusually high threshold of disbelief concomitant with the horror genre, generally in an attempt to answer questions for the audience like: How is this possible? Why did she do this – and in such a convoluted and oblique way? Why is this not a plot hole?

For actors and directors in the genre space expository monologues are an occupational hazard that have the potential to be a moment of cinematic glory… if you have the right tools. In this presentation for both performers and filmmakers, we will study the four types of expository monologues and review instructive examples of each. They comprise:

  • Explaining an implausible/supernatural situation (Poltergeist) and possibly encouraging a risky solution
  • Tenuous justification for a character’s actions up to this point (usually involves a reveal or twist)
  • Providing backstory from previous film(s) to catch up the franchise fan or fully inform a viewer who hasn’t seen the earlier installments
  • Retrocontinuity – indispensable for franchises and reboots where the director maybe changing mythology (Scream 3, Jason Goes to Hell)

In analyzing clips we’ll explore the difference between a naturalistic approach and “excess” in performance, briefly digressing here into a discussion of the theories of genre scholars Linda Williams and Kristin Thompson.

Because a performance built around excess requires a lot of character work, in the second part of the class we will focus on more natural techniques when we study our text: Creighton Duke’s monologue from Jason Goes to Hell. Using detailed textual analysis – aided by Creighton Duke himself, Steven Williams, who will appear in person as a special guest – we’ll discover how to bring emotional authenticity to language dense with proper nouns and also examine patterns of inflection and breath in relating anecdotes in our own lives.

*Please note Steven Williams’ appearance is subject to change dependent on his professional schedule.

About the Instructors:
Gillian Wallace Horvat is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, writer and film programmer. Her first short film, GUNPLAY, was a 2007 Wasserman Semi-Finalist and the only film to ever receive a disclaimer for graphic content at Tisch’s First Run Film Festival. KISS KISS FINGERBANG, starring Anton Yelchin, Kate Lyn Sheil and Buck Henry was awarded the Jury Prize in its short category at the 2015 South by Southwest Film Festival, premiering online as a Vimeo Staff Pick. Miriam Bale wrote in Indiewire that Gillian was one of “the most exciting American indie filmmakers I can think of.” Her films have screened in festivals around the world including SXSW, Fantasia, Palm Springs International Short Film Festival, Beyond Fest, Maryland Film Festival, Yale University, and many others.Gillian also produced A FULLER LIFE, a documentary on the life and films of director Samuel Fuller that premiered at the 2013 Venice Film Festival. For the past five years she has been producing documentary shorts for Arrow Films, Kino Lorber and Olive Films, working on projects ranging from an AMERICAN NINJA box set to Orson Welles’ MACBETH. She is also a guest columnist for Filmmaker magazine and her writing has appeared in Sight & Sound.

Steven Williams was born in Memphis Tennesse and raised in Chicago. Steven is a consummate actor who is well known as Capt. Adam Fuller on the Series ’21 Jump Street’, as well as his brilliant and mysterious portrayal of Mr. X on “The X Files and Rufus Turner on the CW series “Supernatural”. Steven played an intriguing and mysterious character in a large recurring role on Season 2 of the HBO series “The Leftovers” opposite Regina King and Justin Theroux. Steven can seen as the menacing Quentin Dickinson on the compelling new Showtime series “The Chi” from Emmy award winning writer Lena Waithe. He will also be recurring on the Paramount Network, Linson Entertainment series “Yellowstone” opposite Kevin Costner in their upcoming second season as well as the Netflix series “Locke and Key” from Carlton Cuse, Joe Hill and Aron Eli Coleite. Steven is also featured in the blockbuster New Line horror film “IT” based on a Stephen King story.

Some of his feature film credits include the stoic role of “Trooper Mount” in the classic comedy “The Blues Brothers” for Director John Landis opposite John Candy and Corrina Corrina with Whoopie Goldberg.
Other feature credits “Missing in Action 2”, “Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday”. Steven played Lord Stanley in a film version of Richard III with David Carradine, ‘Mr. Gamba’ in the Depression era “Kings of the Evenings”, ‘Special ops: Delta Force, and the classic film “Coolie High”. More recently his feature credits include “The Call” with Halle Berry and “The Last Curtain Call” with David Proval. Some of Steven’s previous Television credits include the lead role in the Showtime series ‘Lincs”, The Equalizer for CBS and Detective August Brooks in” L.A. Heat” . His countless guest roles include “Chicago PD”, “Bones”, “iZombie”, “Criminal Minds”, “Monk”, Desperate Housewives”, Veronica Mars”, The Dukes of Hazzards”, “The A team”, “Booker”, “McGyver”, ‘Stargate: SG1″, ‘Martin”, Wide Guy, Hill Street blues, LA Law, NYPD Blue and “The Bernie Mac Show”


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