March 8, 2016

To F*ck or Not to F*ck: The Art of Insults and Creative Limitations

Wolf of Wall Street
This supercut isn't meant to teach us how to be square; it's a study in how limitations can be used to boost creative energy.

By now, we all know that Terence Winter's script for 2013's The Wolf of Wall Street contained the word "f*ck" not once, but 506 times. Barring the aptly named Fuck, a 2005 documentary detailing a cinematic history of the contentious word, it holds the record for being the single most "f*ck"-filled movie of all time. 

Now, take a second to think about how much more interesting The Wolf of Wall Street may have been if Mr. Winter and Mr. Scorsese had decided, as a practice, to pen a different insult every time they wrote the word "f*ck." By merely expending the extra couple minutes of creative energy for every expletive, they might have developed stronger dialogue, leading to stronger characters.

As Burger Fiction shows us in the supercut below, some of cinema's most memorable lines have come from this very exercise. What if Leia had called Han a "a motherf*cker" instead of a "nerfherder?"

But, hey, we liked The Wolf of Wall Street. And within the world of the film, maybe saying "f*ck" all the time makes sense.

We're not saying that you shouldn't be using swear words in your scripts or movies. We're just asking you to think critically. As the story architect, you should know why your character is using a vulgar word at any given point in your script. You should also make sure he or she has earned the right to use it.

As a filmmaker, giving yourself these minor, specific restrictions can boost your creative process. The way a character swears could define his entire personality. But don't just take it from us. Take it from the man whose insults are now exalted as art: William Shakespeare

Below is an insult kit straight from MIT and the Bard himself to give you a little inspiration and prove just how important a good curse can be. 

Get a little creative and give us some of your best curse replacements below. You can mix in some expletives if you must, but don't be a cotton-headed ninny-muggins about it.       

Your Comment

4 Comments

With all due respect to George Carlin, the "F" word is, quite possibly, the least creative word in the English language.

March 8, 2016 at 10:49AM, Edited March 8, 10:49AM

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Grant Nolin
Director/Videographer
87

Wow, "thou errant doghearted death-token".

Gonna use that one.

March 8, 2016 at 11:06AM, Edited March 8, 11:05AM

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Jordan Mederich
Documentarian / Filmmaker
1262

I imagine writers would argue that they simply write how people - in this case, cocaine-fuelled bankers - really speak.

I'd encourage everyone towards Chris Morris for a whole universe of wonderfully foul and bizarre language.

March 9, 2016 at 6:09AM, Edited March 9, 6:23AM

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The more creative the insults the more memorable the scene.

March 12, 2016 at 2:43AM

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Ryan Gudmunson
Recreational Filmmaker
348