Today's director's commentary has got to be the best - Finding Nemo not only features the voices of director Andrew Stanton, co-director Lee Unkrich and co-writer Bob Peterson, but cuts away to details and mini documentaries about the film.
It's particularly relevant because I've at last finished the FINAL iteration of Shine ... hop skip hurrah!
I think the ending of a book has to be the most important part of the writing - the ending is the last thing that a reader will remember. If they hate the ending, they will hate the book. So it was interesting to hear what Stanton, Unkrich and Peterson had to say about how they developed the ending of Finding Nemo.
We always save our epilogues for the very end. They’re the very last thing we produce because we want to get a sense of which characters the audience is keen to see, which moments they like. We want the ending to feel like a distillation of the whole movie.
So for the Nemo team, creating the ending was about identifying all the winning moments, the best characters and gags ... all the things they wanted the audience to walk away with like an encounter with Bruce the Shark, bringing back Squirt (the turtle) and explaining his presence with just one line ('Exchange student!').
These are not things you would know until you've actually written the piece. Until you've finished the story, you just don't know your characters well enough and you don't know which twists and turns of the plot are winners.
Writing The End can only happen when you know your book.