Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Musings on story structure...

The other week I was talking with a writer friend about why solid story structure is always present if a script is going to work.

In trying to explain why this is so I said to imagine a hundred people standing in front of you in a long row.  And you're directed to walk by them slowly, engage in a short conversation with each person, and observe how strikingly unique every individual is in terms of physical appearance, personality, and general "presence."  Without question, you'd conclude when you finished the assignment that no two people were the same and that you'd just experienced one hundred different versions of what it means to be a unique one-of-a-kind human being.

Now imagine that all clothing, flesh, and life suddenly was removed from those hundred people and all you were left with was a long row of parched white skeletons lying on the ground in front of you.

Would you be able to see any difference between them?  Oh, variations in height, perhaps, and general size.  But what about personality, sex, unique physical features?  None--at least to the untrained eye.  The bone structure would look basically identical for all one hundred.

My writer friend laughed and understood.

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I'm the Program Director of the low-residency MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen being offered by the New Hampshire Institute of Art.  Our last residency ran January 3-11, 2016 and we are now considering applications for starting the program with our July 2016 residency that runs July 21-31.  I'm also a playwright and screenwriter, producing partner in my production company Either/Or Films (The Sensation of Sight and Only Daughter), a professional script consultant, and the author of The Playwrights Process.

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