Groundhog Day - An Inescapable Premise

Lessons from the Screenplay
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The premise of Groundhog Day is expertly constructed to drive natural, organic character change. In this video, we examine how Phil is designed to be a character that seems like he could never change, dissect how the premise of the story traps him in a world that will constantly attack his character flaw, and explore how the relentless nature of the premise ensures that the protagonist will have no choice but to transform.
Produced by: Michael Tucker (twitter.com/michaeltuckerla)
Written by: Tricia Aurand (twitter.com/TriciaJeanA)
Edited by: Alex Calleros (twitter.com/alex_calleros)
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Film & Animation



2 Feb 2019

Groundhog DayBill MurrayHarold RamisDanny Rubincomedypremiseinescapabletrappedtimerepeatingneedflawweaknesscharacter arccharacterssettinghow tostorytellingbasicsvideoessayscreenwriterlessons from the screenplayMichael TuckerScreenwriting techniquesScreenplayScreenwriting tipsWriting tipsScreenwritingScriptStructureCharacterWritingFilmmakingFilmmakerTips



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Lessons from the Screenplay
The news is in! Punxsutawney Phil predicts an early spring for 2019! Did you see your shadow this morning?
We've barely even had winter so this makes sense
Tomi K
Tomi K Vor 9 Tage
I would love to see an Eyes Wide Shut "Lessons from a Screenplay"
2nd3rd1st Vor 11 Tage
You are right, always assume he is up to no good. Phil must have a vested interest in our adherence to his predictions, maybe he is in cahoots with the easter bunny to get a big share of his sweet sweet candy! +Jon McClung
Jon McClung
Jon McClung Vor 11 Tage
+2nd3rd1st in that case, shouldn't you just assume Phil is lying? That seems to be the most reliable method.
Anna C. Grajales
Anna C. Grajales Vor 11 Tage
Can you please do Spiderverse (2018) ... I keep thinking that this film should not work but it does. Reading the script is as thrilling as watching the film.
Arvindh Mani
Arvindh Mani Vor 21 Stunde
Russian Doll fans, put your hands up!
Alexander Sakhnenko
One of the best script concepts out there.
Aditya Varma
Aditya Varma Vor Tag
waddup bois
That lead in to Skillshare though!!
The Netflix show Russian Doll that came out a few weeks ago put a slightly new spin on this premise and it was so satisfying, highly recommend
dane kelly
dane kelly Vor 3 Tage
BFM.....WE LOVE YOU.........
TheTuubster Vor 4 Tage
Fun fact: A year earlier, the Star Trek episode "Cause and Effect" explored the concept of time loops, only escaped until a puzzle is solved, too.
Gagan Bansal
Gagan Bansal Vor 5 Tage
Hey.. I am a big fan of your videos. Just a request though... Can you mention which movie you are going to do in next video at the end of each video. Because many time I hadn't watched that movie. First I watch the movie and then watch your video😅.
smtucker0419 Vor 4 Tage
He does make that information available on Patreon to subscribers, but only to those who want it. Some people like to be surprised.
Bemine4fun Vor 5 Tage
Loved the clever segue into the SkillShare ad.
Kevin Watson
Kevin Watson Vor 6 Tage
seriously ? This is a channel and an actual video ? WOW !
Richard Baker
Richard Baker Vor 6 Tage
A beautiful analysis Of this great film
PD Zombie
PD Zombie Vor 6 Tage
One of my favorite comedies of all time... If you could go back to the same day over and over again, wouldn't you try to make the perfect day? Thanx!!!
Jack Smith
Jack Smith Vor 6 Tage
I read from some one directly involve that for him to be skilled in all acts, he’d have go through 20/30 years of reliving the same day
eriel7 Vor 6 Tage
in my opinion, before I fall is a great example of this type of concept as well! I recommend it
John M
John M Vor 6 Tage
Did you ever have deja vu? I don't think so, but I can check with the kitchen...
Sun RA
Sun RA Vor 7 Tage
An amazing breakdown, as always.
5ilver42 Vor 7 Tage
HAHAHAHA that advert segue..
Doug Mcwilliams
Doug Mcwilliams Vor 7 Tage
Big fat clue from The Universe
Caged Vor 7 Tage
Greatest movie ever!
David Anders
David Anders Vor 7 Tage
great narration and commentary!
Thirst Fast
Thirst Fast Vor 7 Tage
Never saw it. Looks good.
grumplepig Vor 7 Tage
Nice job
TehMorbidAtheist Vor 8 Tage
Death is not the escape because you will get erased and replaced immediately and that other person will more or less go through a similar sensual life experience that you experienced.
jv7x Vor 8 Tage
Masterful analysis! I didn’t realize i could love this movie any more but you made it happen. Thanks!
Lisa Kirmsse
Lisa Kirmsse Vor 8 Tage
I love your channel so much :)
TheKyfe Vor 8 Tage
I don't remember where I read it, but according to the original screen play, it wasn't just "more than one life time," it was more than 10,000+ YEARS that he was stuck.
Matt A
Matt A Vor 8 Tage
Nice segueway to skillshare.
Allerslea Vor 8 Tage
Has anyone seen the 1990 film 12:01 with Kurtwood Smith? It has a very similar concept but a much more depressing ending. It was very enjoyable although I watched it a long time ago, I think the makers of it nearly sued the makers of groundhog day. Great video essay as always!
nothinmulch Vor 8 Tage
The idea that the premise itself traps him into personal growth is absolutely brilliant. I've never realized just how many good stories use this idea. A superhero trapped in his powers, a man trapped with a demon/monster inside, financial entrapment, slavery, wrongful imprisonment, ect.
Jon Alexander
Jon Alexander Vor 9 Tage
There is a bunch of new movies using this device. like happy death day and Russian doll on netflix. It has gone over so well that happy death day is getting a sequel.
CoinOpTV Vor 9 Tage
classic flick!
Jeffrey Vor 9 Tage
That old man is still the saddest moment I can think of in any live action move. Iron Giant still steals animated for me, but just realizing there are people you can't save is a traumatic but true lesson to life.
Samuel Herrera
Samuel Herrera Vor 9 Tage
Great analysis!
Parasuram Venkatesh
Isn't it weird that the same/a similar premise keeps getting made over and over, most recently in Russian Doll?
Rovin Dcruz
Rovin Dcruz Vor 9 Tage
Love your videos mahn. Please do a breakdown of Godfather.
John Cine
John Cine Vor 9 Tage
Very inteligent script.Great lessons that character of Bill Murray learns.
jar8425 Vor 9 Tage
This is one of the most deeply romantic movies I've ever seen. But it is the romance of Phil with humanity, with optimism, with selflessness that is the fulcrum around which the secondary romance he has with Rita. This was the movie that I learned to love Bill Murray in. To me Mr. Murray was Phil. And while I don't really love most of Mr. Murray's early oever, I do love this movie.
F. Joumaa
F. Joumaa Vor 9 Tage
Excellent concept !!! can you talk about the before trilogy, since it's based on dialogue and screenplay writing ?
Michael Atherton
Michael Atherton Vor 9 Tage
Great segway
Adrian Jose De Jesus
Can you do a video comparing First Reformed and Taxi Driver showing their similarities and also differences.
TheOwlReviewer Vor 9 Tage
HMMMM.... Casablanca, please. You must remember this.
logan darbz
logan darbz Vor 9 Tage
Ok, but question: many film critics agree that a predictable plot hinders a movie, since it removes any suspense. So how is this example any different? Although I've never seen groundhogs day I've heard great things of it, even though from this video I've taken away that it is predictable (and therefore not good). I think I'm obviously missing something, could you help me?
smtucker0419 Vor 9 Tage
Sometimes the journey is entertaining, containing some surprises, even if you know where you will end up.
Paul Nicholas
Paul Nicholas Vor 10 Tage
Another great video - thanks Michael. Groundhog Day is one of my favs, and I think Murray's finest performance (other than Lost In Translation). Having this deeper insight only improves my love for the film. Thanks again! :D
Pototo Rolon
Pototo Rolon Vor 10 Tage
I've always thought he should just leave town as soon as he gets up, before the storm, but I guess he would just end up in the same place at the end of the day.
Markus Levin Jensted
Please look at the movie: The Guilty. The whole movie is shot in one scene, an emergency center. Saw it yesterday and it's one of the most amazing films I have ever seen.
finao o
finao o Vor 10 Tage
Dormammu, I have come to bargain.
tudorjason Vor 10 Tage
Such a timeless movie
finao o
finao o Vor 10 Tage
I see what you did there.
Ross Betts
Ross Betts Vor 10 Tage
Just saw Andie MacDowell in a Netflix show and she is still incredibly hot, more so considering she is 60 years old, I had a massive crush on her ever since Hudson Hawk.
Troy Bush
Troy Bush Vor 10 Tage
Hey, Michael! First-time commentator, long-time, aspiring screenwriter, I was thinking, is there anything about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that you can examine? I watched that movie in December and it has occupied my thoughts since.
ozzyg82 Vor 10 Tage
If there was no tomorrow in ground hog day, then there was no past, so where does the protagonist’s memory of the fact he’s reliving yesterday come from?
Булат Ибрагимов
probably, I pay attention to not the most important things. but I don't understand why Phil has to change himself somehow to continue his life.
finao o
finao o Vor 10 Tage
There's no logic to it. That's just the rule for this movie.
Kate Bogdan
Kate Bogdan Vor 10 Tage
I love your channel! I'm more interested in writing novels than screenplays, but I still find these videos super helpful and insightful for any medium or storytelling! Thanks Micheal.
Chris Napper
Chris Napper Vor 10 Tage
Plot twist - Ned was actually an angel/demon. He trapped Phil in the time loop at the time of their first meeting, mainly because of Phil's response to him. Phil did not escape the time loop because of all of his general good deeds, or because of the love of his life. He was freed from the time loop by the one who put him in it, thanks to him finally showing Ned a great level of kindness and generosity. Notice the time loop ends after they both acknowledge that that particular day was the best day of their lives.
Chris Napper
Chris Napper Vor Tag
+Brian Bitner I'm subscribing immediately!
Brian Bitner
Brian Bitner Vor Tag
I shouted out your comment on the LFTS podcast! itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/beyond-the-screenplay/id1451724425?mt=2
Jorge Benavides
Jorge Benavides Vor 10 Tage
When you hear “hi I’m Michael ... and you get all emotional ! Great video Michael love this !
shteevuk Vor 10 Tage
See, this is what annoys me about Russian Doll... she's not trapped by anything at all. All she has to do to break the loop is not die. Y'know, like all humans. Yeah, yeah, yada yada metaphor, yada yada that's not a plot hole, etc etc....
IPIay Vor 10 Tage
I never seen this movie, I really need to.
KlingonCaptain Vor 10 Tage
Unfortunately they just made what looks like possibly the worst video game based on this movie.
Dalton King
Dalton King Vor 10 Tage
Can you please do a a 10 most melancholy movies. I am truly in love with the feeling of melancholy, and while I have seen a decent number of movies, you have helped me discover many more. I would love if you could do one on my favorite type of feeling.
Andy Castaneda
Andy Castaneda Vor 11 Tage
And what if becoming selfless didn't make tomorrow come? Next step: Speedrun life in 24 hours. Can you get to space before the reset? Can you become the pope? How about become a #1 hit music artist within 24 hours?
PogieJoe Vor 11 Tage
Just saw this movie for the first time last year and was worried it would be an overrated, dated clunker. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this movie is awesome. It really wrings out soooo much out of its concept.
Alex spander
Alex spander Vor 11 Tage
Possibly one of the best segways into sponsors, you caught me off guard!
Mr. Sharp
Mr. Sharp Vor 11 Tage
Top 10 best movies of all time
Christopher James
Christopher James Vor 11 Tage
Smoothest add drop I’ve seen yet
Jack Kanov
Jack Kanov Vor 11 Tage
this movie blows
Kevin Gomolchak
Kevin Gomolchak Vor 11 Tage
The only bad thing about Groundhog Day is that it destroyed the relationship between Bill Murray & Harold Ramis.
David Olie
David Olie Vor 11 Tage
You haven't said anything a dozen other commentators have said about this film, and you added a commercial. Get stuffed.
Ollie Hopnoodle
Ollie Hopnoodle Vor 11 Tage
This was an interesting and thoughtful analysis of the film. I have always found it to be an entertaining film but the next time I watch it I will have a different point of view. Thank you.
Alma Gordon
Alma Gordon Vor 11 Tage
I can't help but seeing this through a different lens. I consider myself to be an objectivist in many ways. Which when really boiled down to it, I don't really believe it is a good thing to be selfless. And truly I don't think that Phil was being selfless. It was just the fact that he got his interests to better a line with the things he really wanted. I find it a rather big oxymoron to say that that he desired Rita but he had become selfless in order to get her. But he was truly selfless, he wouldn't even have desires at all. Just some thoughts.
Lucas Rinaldi
Lucas Rinaldi Vor 11 Tage
Even though the whole idea for the time loop was lifted from another story, I love this movie
Tiwaking Tiwaking
Tiwaking Tiwaking Vor 11 Tage
His inability to stop the homeless guy from dying is one of the saddest moments
Kayla Lum
Kayla Lum Vor 11 Tage
the show russian doll on netflix takes this concept and blows it wide up! loved watching this video in comparison
jcb3393 Vor 11 Tage
I just recently watched "Edge of Tomorrow" (a.k.a., "Live, Die, Repeat"), and couldn't help thinking that it's essentially "Groundhog Day" during a war. The main character has a similar inevitable growth path via reliving the same day repeatedly: he starts out as self-important and cowardly, and also seeks that escape from the repetition. The difference is that he MUST die every day (no falling asleep peacefully and awakening the next/same morning), so his desire to escape is initially much more about self-preservation and the avoidance of pain (i.e., the agony of death). SPOILER ALERT The twist - and most significant difference from Groundhog Day - is that there is someone else with a shared experience. This at least gives him an anchor of sanity and relief, while also being the catalyst that pushes him to set a goal greater than mere "avoidance of death/pain". Eventually, this "anchor in the sea of madness" becomes a love interest (again, initially out of mere "hormones", but eventually for better reasons: a need and desire to connect, not just with "someone" but with one who understands you and you know more than just at a carnal level). I'd love to see a video that examines "Edge of Tomorrow" and compares/contrasts it with "Groundhog Day".
tamas mihaly
tamas mihaly Vor 11 Tage
When you sound so obnoxiously "Starbucks" I can't listen to your voice without feeling anger toward the human race.
Lsa F
Lsa F Vor 11 Tage
Gorgeous! Thanks
coll912 Vor 11 Tage
Rafael N Figueiredo
Jenna J.
Jenna J. Vor 11 Tage
Hi! I love your videos - and noticing that you covered Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, I was wondering if you could analyze Mad Men!
Charly85 Vor 12 Tage
It’s a like cast away, Tom hanks spends nearly five years virtually living the same day over and over again stuck in a certain location. Except Tom loses his girl and himself in Wilson. It’s so sad yet couldn’t be more optimistic at the end when he stands at the cross roads not know which way to turn yet having the freedom to choose. For me these films are all about freedom.
27in27 Vor 12 Tage
The Skillshare segue was smooth. I'm no fan of video advertising but I have to give you props for that.
tooth paste
tooth paste Vor 12 Tage
i can’t stop coming back to rewatch this video
Clarxxon Vor 12 Tage
I've watched Groundhog Day 1,024 times. I've watched this video essay 339 times. Why? Because I, too, am stuck living the same day over and over
Paul DeCoster
Paul DeCoster Vor 12 Tage
Russian Doll is like Groundhog Day except the character is busy trying to figure out pieces to a puzzle and wouldn’t change her character for anyone.
umbraemilitos Vor 12 Tage
The Fourth Watch
The Fourth Watch Vor 12 Tage
Credit where due; this is the the best synopsis of the story yet, and I say that as one who gave up all other holidays after seeing this film the 1st of 25 times now. "You Don't Know Me" may be the most well placed of any coolest song ever. And Phil's party jazz number may be the most lifting of all time. I can just see the whole movie in my mind in a minute anymore, but it's still the most special thing in life to sit down with popcorn and a sixpack and live it again. Thanks for your talent, Mr. Lessons! And for sharing.
Baim Hakim
Baim Hakim Vor 12 Tage
Do one about life of pie
BestofVanWylder Vor 12 Tage
Could you do one on a story with a weak “why”?
InformantNet Vor 12 Tage
I love this movie. I borrowed the DVD from the library 20 years ago and watched it 4 times over the weekend. Brilliant film.
sfisabbt Vor 12 Tage
I'd love to see a story with a hikikomori going through that thing.
Aidan Corona
Aidan Corona Vor 12 Tage
I love watching these! Thanks for some seriously great content about stories and how some movies tell them so well! One thought I had while watching this video: it might be helpful to have some counter examples mentioned each time, like some movies that might NOT have followed their own rules or embraced the premise for this episode, just to help reinforce the overall concept even more! I think that could help one in the process of finding practical action steps to make one's own work better! But really, these videos are AWESOME and I love when a new one comes out! Thanks for making them!
BallsMonkey Vor 12 Tage
I've never seen Groundhog Day, so I had no idea there were two movies where Bill Murray plays a self centered asshole whose forced by supernatural events to change his ways in order to change his ways and woo his inhumanly kind and compassionate love interest and also witnesses the death of a homeless man.
Daddy Daughter Movie Night
Another great video, thank you!
Josh Liam
Josh Liam Vor 12 Tage
Just rewatched the movie, never fails to inspire me.
spim randsley
spim randsley Vor 12 Tage
Another Groundhog Day video in suggestions. what ev.. Lessons From the Screenplay?! Well why didn't you say so?
JaredNWidman Vor 12 Tage
I honestly love Season 2 of Fargo but i see your point
Ethan Hegel
Ethan Hegel Vor 12 Tage
What if the Ground Hog Day situation is happening for someone right now, only it happened on the day this video was dropped... and it's just waiting for them to find it?
Norma P
Norma P Vor 12 Tage
12 angry men still on your radar? :)
Anna Bayer
Anna Bayer Vor 12 Tage
It's been a while since I've seen the movie but did he ever try staying up until 6am?
sarahjacob2008 Vor 11 Tage
Yes, I presume more than once. The night Rita spends with him she expects the day to end at midnight and Phil says no, it resets at 6 am.
Mehul Furia
Mehul Furia Vor 12 Tage
They should announce a sequel and re-release the same film.
Would pay for it
Arkylie Vor 10 Tage
I'd watch it in the theater.
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