The hubby and I recently watched both Crocodile Dundee and Crocodile Dundee II. And in watching them, I realized what an impact these movies had on my development as a writer. Most specifically, it was the second movie that had the greatest impact, but in order for me to fully explain, you need to know something about my crazy, amazing, too-good-to-be-true-so-now-I-feel-bad-for-all-other-children-whose-childhood-was-not-as-awesome-as-mine upbringing.
Two things you need to know:
1.) I grew up in a family business that included a marina, campground, store, and restaurant. For me, living with customers day in and day out was normal. The hubby and I got ice cream last night at a place where you serve yourself, and he made the comment that his didn’t look as nice as mine because he didn’t grow up with one of those machines. It took me a minute to figure out what he was talking about, and I realized I did, in fact, grow up with one of those machines. Yes, for real. Right there for me to use any time I wanted. And so, as a thirty something year old adult, it took me a minute to realize that was not normal.
2.) I was the youngest of a lot of kids, and my parents really didn’t have time to notice my existence. Seriously. This is the best thing that has ever happened to any kid in the history of the planet. I could do whatever I wanted. I had a store, campground, marina, and restaurant available to all of my imaginings. A bonus – I grew up in the sticks, and I had a bike. There is no greater magic than a kid with a bike and endless country roads. I would be out of the house at dawn and come home, dusty, tired and spinning with new stories long after the sun began its descent. And my parents never seemed to even notice. I never got into trouble and graduated at the top of my class, so as long as I was the image of a perfect child I could do whatever I wanted. And it was because of this that my favorite movie when I was six years old was House II. Click that link and tell me what you think of my parents.
This all leads us to why Crocodile Dundee had such a huge influence on my writing development. If you haven’t seen this movie in a while (or at all), I encourage you to re-watch it. Both movies if you have time. In the first movie, we meet Mick Dundee. He’s a funny, heartwarming fish out of water. In the second movie, he’s a bad ass hero going back into the water with a magnificent splashless dive. There is such a swing in the perception of Mick without ever deviating from the heart of the character. It’s a masterful representation of character that would smack any developing writer directly between the eyes without her knowing. And this is why the character of Crocodile Dundee was so important.
Now onto the second movie itself. This movie takes scene and sequel by storm. Plot points? Nails them. You could take K.M. Weiland’s Structuring Your Novel and drape it right across the whole movie. It would fit perfectly into every nuance. Think the concept is a little silly and backward? Think the character of Mick is unrealistic? Watch the movie again and think about it in terms of the inciting incident, the first pinch point, the mid-point, the second pinch point, the climax, and the denouement. Watch Mick go from being controlled by the events happening around him to controlling the outcome of the story. It literally happens when he decides to take Sue back to Australia to protect her. The transition is outrageously obvious, and you do not get more solid writing than that.
You can think Rico is a terrible bad guy. You can wonder what Sue’s ex-husband has to do with anything. You can even make fun of the cop who is supposed to be protecting them but just pops in for breakfast. But watch the story unfold. Watch Mick Dundee progress. And imagine a six year old girl sitting on the living room floor adsorbing the first ideas of story.