Empire Records (1995)
The first time I saw this movie I was 13. It was at a birthday party. I remember feeling like this was the moment. This was when everything changed. We weren’t little kids anymore. We were all about to enter high school and deal with growing. We were all going to weird, off beat, and awkward and it was going to be amazing.
Empire Records is the first film I grew with. The older I got, the more I understood this film. I knew what it was like to be in love with my best friend and not know how to say anything, not being able to live up to your parents expectations, being compliment awkward, and just simply being a smart ass about everything. The moment that film meant the most though is when I felt like Deb.
Empire Records should be just a teenage genre movie, but because of it’s characters, it’s so much more. For a film made almost 20 years ago, this film is proof that teenagers haven’t really changed. This movie is made by it’s characters. There’s not some crazy hook or outlandish characters. It’s a day in there lives (Rex Manning Day actually).
As writer, this is the film that got me obsessed with character. Good characters can save a bad plot. Great characters stay with you, they help you grow up. When I start a script the first thing I start with is the character. Who are they, what’s they’re history, what do they like, what do they hate, what do they want, and most of all what do they need?
When you write give them a history and a life before your script every begins. That’s how they’ll resonate with an audience. Good characters is how movies become more than just pictures on celluloid.
Just something to keep in mind when you’re writing. Also watch Empire Records, that shit holds up.