LET’S PAUSE AND GO THROUGH SOME SCREEN DEFINITIONS
“Movies are about STORIES: is it well told? Is it interesting? If it isn’t it doesn’t matter how talented the rest of it is”—-William Goldman
WHAT IS A STORY?
This is a series of events which form the SCREENPLAY in a chronological order.
WHAT IS PLOT?
The most interesting and dramatically effective way of telling the STORY
YOUR GOAL AS A SCREENWRITER
“Don’t try and write a movie you wouldn’t wait to go and see yourself”
WHY do you want to write?
Your primary GOAL as a SCREENWRITER is to elicit AN EMOTIONAL RESPONSE in your audience
To hook them in and keep them watching that screen or turning that page to see what happens NEXT!
“DRAMA is not when the ACTOR cries, but it is when the AUDIENCE cries”- Frank Capra (Writer/director)
Be original, real cinema is about the imagination. Sit down quietly and start putting down any thought you may have, however stupid they may seem, onto you computer or the page. At this stage of pre-writing you want to be as free as possible. Later you can go over them again, for now, pour everything out!!
You may be asking…but HOW do I generate these ideas? TRY the following:
Personal experiences: you have lived a life-use it! (But please don’t write your life STORY exactly as it happened). Take specifics from your experience, extend it into something which might have meaning/resonance for others- remember you A B C D
Other’s personal experiences: As above, pick from the lives of friends, family, not the whole, but elements of their experience-collect and make into a new composite
Some lines of dialogue-always carry a note book. Note people’s dresses, speech, mannerisms (commercial/public buses are a rich source of interesting dialogue)
Newspapers (IDEAS FOR FREE): KEEP A FILE clipping/STORIES that stimulates you.
E.g. “MAN 60, KILLS BEST FRIENDS DAUGHTER”
“JEALOUS GIRLFRIEND, BEHEADS LOVER”
There is a new idea everyday, especially on soft/gossip tabloids. Theses head lines make you as WHY? HOW COME? CAN THIS BE TRUE? WHAT COULD HAVE LEAD TO IT? An attempt to answer these questions will form the body of you STORY
An advert slogan/song title. If it stimulates you, create a new STORY from the source
‘what-if’ scenarios: ask yourself “WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF this happens?” for example; ‘what if the world were to end in 24 hrs?’ ‘What if am asked to be president for seven days?’ ‘what if I had three wishes?’ most STORIES start this way
VISUALISATION: we all visualize in dreams, day dreams and our imagination. Use your mind as a film screen to project onto it whatever imagetelevision
Keep an IDEA file. Whenever one occurs to you, write it down, drop it in the file, and forget about it. You need to generate a continual stream of SCRIPTS. Personally, am always working on a maximum of three script at the same time while keeping others at different stages of development.