I suppose you could take the safe — the whole purpose of any drama is to unlock the heart of the audience. It’s catharsis. And to allow people to feel. Because we’re so smart. We’re too smart to have sympathy. We have to fake people out in order to allow them to feel, to make it okay for them to have emotions in a work of art. Since we’re supposed to be like, really cool, and have been for a long time.

Jackson De Govia Production Designer from the Die Hard commentary

He continues:

"There’s just something about the decency of Bonnie Bedelia, Takagi, and that hapless police lieutenant, and Reginald VelJohnson, and the maid. Even though you’re rooting for John, the Bruce Willis character, and you love the fact that he’s the avenger — this is who he’s the avenger of! This is who he’s standing for. That’s what a cop is supposed to be. He’s supposed to take care of people that can’t be violent against the people who are, who kill without thinking twice about it. Or cheat or lie or steal. And in that sense he’s an extremely satisfying hero. In a way that is not seen much in modern stories. But in order to get there you have to blow up the building, you have to have all this spectacle to kind of overwhelm our resistance to belief in the fact that when push comes to shove… we really mostly like other people when we get a chance to see them. And these characters in Die Hard are all innately sympathetic. And the villain himself, a wonderful rogue, he’s a wonderful devil because he’s totally aware. That was a really neat trick. He’s the principal of evil but he’s so damn much fun to watch because we would all like to go there but we’re not allowed and there’s a reason — because we’re capable of such awful things. I think that’s enough about the vault."

Advice To Writers: Caryl Avery

What’s your advice to new writers?
1. Write with your ear.
2. Run your work by a few people you trust who are smarter than you.
3. Pay attention to criticisms, but not to proposed solutions.
4. Remember that the urge to edit other people’s copy is greater than the urge to procreate. Your work is your baby. Don’t sell it down the river.

Read the full list

Advice To Writers: Caryl Avery

What’s your advice to new writers?

1. Write with your ear.

2. Run your work by a few people you trust who are smarter than you.

3. Pay attention to criticisms, but not to proposed solutions.

4. Remember that the urge to edit other people’s copy is greater than the urge to procreate. Your work is your baby. Don’t sell it down the river.

Read the full list

The story is really satisfying because it comes from patterns that we are born with, that our culture is founded upon. There are structures, just as there are structures in our language that underlie, that are built into all of us. Artists don’t invent, they discover. They give you something that resonates with something that’s inside you and the closer they get to the real deal, the real stuff the gut-level stuff, the longer it’s going to last because it remains satisfying beyond fashion. Beyond period.

Jackson De Govia Production Designer from the Die Hard commentary

He goes on to say:

Die Hard is not unique in that it doesn’t date. Fred Astaire doesn’t date. John Ford doesn’t date. In time this is going to look like a wonderful period movie. Like those films that we loved that we all grew up watching on TV. Because it’s not only of it’s time, it’s beyond it’s time. It’s in deep time. That same old story that’s going on that we all share.”

Man I love this site.

There is no cheating. And more and more I’m beginning to believe that is the secret. Stanislavsky analyzed the character and the play as having a spine, a through-line, an arc. I don’t like arc. Arc is modern. It’s not an arc. It’s a freight train. Unlike Die Hard, the script of Speed was complete. All you had to do was make it. It was obvious. Zip. It’s America. All problems are solved by going faster. This was a work in progress by a bunch of genius that didn’t know they were yet. It was just invented. It had a great structure to begin with, it had a great idea. I think this was one of the first movies that was improvised, in the best sense, because the best improvisation is from the solid rock-hard earth. This is located in reality and theatricality in just a delicious way.
Jackson De Govia Production Designer from the Die Hard commentary
My general philosophy now more than ever is to give the audience the lest possible — which sounds like a weird philosophy, but you want to parcel things out as slowly as you can. Of course what that means is, you want to parcel things out as slowly as you can while keeping things gripping and interesting.
I don’t necessarily believe the conventional wisdom that the audience is always restless and more restless than ever and always needs more stimulation. People still like storytelling that can slow down enough to explore the characters and examine them closely. I think there’s still room for that. Hopefully that never gets lost completely.Vince Gilligan from an interview with Dylan Callaghan in Script Tease

My general philosophy now more than ever is to give the audience the lest possible — which sounds like a weird philosophy, but you want to parcel things out as slowly as you can. Of course what that means is, you want to parcel things out as slowly as you can while keeping things gripping and interesting.

I don’t necessarily believe the conventional wisdom that the audience is always restless and more restless than ever and always needs more stimulation. People still like storytelling that can slow down enough to explore the characters and examine them closely. I think there’s still room for that. Hopefully that never gets lost completely.
Vince Gilligan from an interview with Dylan Callaghan in Script Tease