A great analysis of a director’s guild event in which James Cameron and JJ Abrams talk about Steven Spielberg’s films, this one dealing with the importance of tone and emotional resonance in his movies. Basically, having a human story of some kind at the core of your screenplay.
Or, as Pete Docter puts it in the production notes for Up, talking about Disney animator Joe Grant:
I got to know Joe when he was in his 90s. He was a friend of mine-this great old wise guy. Every time I would show him something we were working on he’d say, ‘What are you giving the audience to take home?’ That was his way of telling me it’s the emotion-the character-based emotions that people are going to remember.
That’s something I really work on in my own scripts – you can have all the action and spectacle in the world, but if there’s no heart, you don’t have much of a movie.