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There are no rules in writing screens; however, as in jazz, there are certain things that happen a lot. If you want to be a successful screenwriter, you should at least familiarize yourself with these rules, even if you choose to ignore them. By the way, I posted on Twitter recently describing how, while cycling through Amsterdam that same afternoon, I walked into a record store in the Jordaan district where Guatemalan singer Gaby Moreno was playing an acoustic solo. Now, Gaby is young, talented and original; she has a strong and confident voice in every sense of the word. Her music has elements of pop, soul, Latin, and jazz (check out YouTube before you buy an album). Clearly she has these styles under her belt, yet the way they are delivered is original and commanding, and you find yourself wanting to hear more in part because of the elegant interpretation of these styles, but more because of the original stories that they are articulating about the familiar riffs and phrases.

Why mention this in a post about screen writing? Because, dear reader, it’s not what you say but how you say it. It’s not the story, but how you articulate it. It’s your voice that matters.

Give the audience what they want, but not in the way they expect…

This is excellent advice from Robert McKee, which he often expands on in his books and seminars on storytelling techniques. Annoy the audience with your erudition and your knowledge of the form and history of film writing, but in the end you have to tell the story. Not surprisingly, McKee focuses on the word history. Story is what we talk about when we talk about film writing. There are other forms of cinema, but not in Hollywood or on the big screen on Saturday nights.

What all the books I have suggested in the Manifesto Books section have in common is an appreciation and, indeed, a reverence for the concept of history. Paul Schrader talks about the vital importance of the art of storytelling in the context of film writing. It’s the fundamental principle behind all great or even competent scripts. Schrader talks about campfire storytelling. If an idea is going to work, you should be able to tell it like a campfire story. You can dress it up and change it, but the main story must be able to be retold as a captivating, if not gripping, story around glowing embers in the dying light of night. And this is from a man who wrote about the transcendental style in film; grasp the theory by all means but tell the story last.

directed schrader The comfort of strangers with dispassionate meticulousness but that meticulousness was applied to a perfectly distilled story. Based on a superbly crafted novel by Ian McEwan (of the same name), transformed into a perfect model for a Harold Pinter play, the film becomes an essay in audiovisual storytelling. This vision is, of course, enhanced by the music of Angelo Badalamenti, the clothing by Georgio Armani, the canals and architecture of Venice and the sublime performance of Natasha Richardson, Rupert Everett, Helen Mirren and Christopher Walken. As you’d expect from Pinterest, the dialogue is crisp and minimal. So we can remember the prophetic line of Norma Desmond in sunset boulevard. – “We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces.” This is why comfort of strangers You need this quartet of great actors: they have to tell a lot of the story essentially with their faces, their body language, and their silences. By the way, there’s a brilliant story where Walken told Schrader that he didn’t need to light his face from below to look evil, that he could do it himself.

I mentioned Norma Desmond because my opinion is that sunset boulevard. Y The comfort of strangers they share a lot in common in terms of plot structure. Wilder’s classic legacy also features a strong quartet performance: Gloria Swanson, William Holden, Erich von Stroheim, and the young Nancy Olson. Olson’s Betty Schaefer character is a bigger component of the foursome than is immediately apparent on first viewing. I love the resonances caused by the fact that all four of them are creative practitioners in the filmmaking process but, significantly, in different ways are not at all where they want to be in this creative process at this point in their lives: they’re all displaced. from their rightful position in the natural order in their own minds. Yet for all this cunning and intertwining of psychological threads, in the end it all boils down to a classic whodunit. Watch the two movies together and see what you think.

I also recommend watching and reading. Chinatown which was written by Robert Towne, directed by the infamous Roman Polanski, and starred Jack Nickolson and Faye Dunaway. It is a brilliantly evocative neo-noire masterpiece. It also captures the luxury and decadence of tacky yet glamorous Los Angeles in all its claustrophobic splendor. What is very clever and epitomizes Polanski’s (and Towne’s) consummate filmmaking is the presentation of this claustrophobia. A lesser director, given these beautiful views of Southern California, he would have enjoyed them. Instead, we are given shot after shot of glimpses through rearview mirrors, through bandages, through rippling pools, and through tinted sunglasses. Everything is covered and hidden. Why? To emphasize and resonate the psychological fissures that accumulate in the interrelationships between the characters. This story also has a resonance with the aforementioned foursome format, but to say how would spoil the movie for those who are still in for this treat. And from a writer’s perspective, it’s still, for me, the best last line in a movie.

I have also mentioned the British TV series edge of darkness which first aired in 1985. The series captured the anxieties of the cold war, the fear of nuclear conflict, the bitter and unrelenting political schism between the unions and the Thatcher government. We also have the rise of green politics; the Gaia philosophy proposed by James Lovelock that Earth is fundamentally a perfectly balanced interactive ecosystem that we mess with at our own peril. An early version of the script had the protagonist Craven turned into a tree. However, we end up with a brilliant and still resonant political thriller that has everything down to an Eric Clapton theme tune.

The script, if you can get your hands on it, is fascinating as it has numerous footnotes explaining the many different ideas and concepts that go into the story. But, you don’t need to know any of this to understand the story. The reason all of this is worth reading is because it gives you a different perspective on storytelling. The structure of a 317 minute drama is necessarily different from that of a 100-120 minute movie. You need to feature multiple side lines that span across different time periods in the narrative to tie everything together. A single linear series of episodic adventures would not draw the audience into the emotional womb of the family torn apart and inescapably driven to search for the truth. The power and success of this process is demonstrated by the fact that for me, and I suspect many others, Joanne Whalley’s character of Emma Craven is as ingrained in our psyches as any character since.

I have mentioned a number of classic books by extremely competent and respected authors on the business and technique of presenting and constructing scripts. All of these are good, solid, and definitely worth reading. But they are not bibles, they will not illuminate your life and lead you to the path of salvation that is the awards ceremony. Only life itself will do that along with your ability, as a writer, to make sense of it. Tom Stoppard started writing because he could see all the flaws in the works he reviewed. The fact is that he saw the works, he thought about them and wrote about them. He acted; he did something about the mediocrity he was witnessing.

Most good writing is about making sense of the world you see around you and experience in person. Whether it is love, politics or the end of the world as we know it, the writer perfectly sees the different perspectives and articulates these conflicting views and positions in a way that mere humans can only express as anger, poetry, ideology or war. . what i like about professional misconduct is the ingenious interplay between the cutthroat politics of the academy and the noble and disciplined competition of soccer. Stoppard’s love of linguistic juggling and political philosophy is perfectly executed. It comes as no surprise that the playwright was the prime suspect as the secret author of the sketches for the UK’s biggest TV comedy show at the time. the two ronny.

I recommend F. Scott Fitzgerald for his beautiful, graceful, and serene writing that tells a story. I also like that he wrote about the industry when it was great and complex and dying, but important. His short stories set in the movie business are also fun to read.

The independent sector is important and still capable of many movies moving into the mainstream because they capture audiences. I’ve included a number of books related to independent filmmaking from the Coen brothers to Tarantino. Also, Chris Jones’ Guerrilla Filmmakers Pocket Book He tells it like it is in this world of blagging, treating, and begging. You don’t have to fully understand the filmmaking process to be successful as a writer. But knowing how much that beautifully scripted escape sequence from the top of Big Ben is going to cost a fledgling indie producer might explain your odds of closing the deal as a writer. Tarantino saw many low-budget masterpieces before writing reserve dogs (with pencil and paper by the way).

In the UK, the 1980s were an invigorating time for filmmaking and film writing because Channel Four started with a film wing that unleashed a new wave of talent before transforming into the Film Four channel we know today. A key pioneer in this movement was the Irish writer and film director Neil Jordan. All of his films are worth seeing and many of his scripts are published. Tea Mona Lisa the script is harder to come by, but it’s a fine example of an original version of a number of classic tunes. Jordan’s first storybook, Night in Tunis is excellent, but his latest novel Wrong continues this tradition of poetic precision and vivid evocation of time and place.

Film writing is a brutal process, no matter how you look at it. You’re never going to be the star of the show, even if you cast yourself in that role; in fact, you’re more likely to end up dead than in bed with the gorgeous young star of the movie. As a famous Hollywood producer said: you can write whatever you want, as long as the girl is rescued from the volcano in the final reel. So keep it simple, stupid; tell the story and not convey a message. Oh yeah, and it hooks the reader at the bottom of the first page.

But as the dust-covered priest whispered to the weeping schoolgirl… that’s another story.

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