Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Is 3-act story structure passe...?

     There’s been a lot written online lately about the 3-act story structure model for scripts and why it works or should be avoided.  See, for example, John Truby's article and comments on the UK's Raindance website.

     It seems to me, however, that the real issue here is simply a matter of semantics.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dealing only with closed chapters

     My last post (“The risk of self exposure”) made the case for mining your own life experiences and inner emotional life when looking for potent story ideas. But I ended with stating there’s one cautionary note you should keep in mind.  Here it is:  As possible ideas start presenting themselves, be sure the specific experiences or episodes you're drawing on from your own life are truly in the past and not issues you're still right in the middle of emotionally.
     Several years ago I made this mistake.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The risk of self-exposure

     Here’s another basic principle of the craft that writers early in their careers often have trouble putting their arms around. Simply put, if you're going to write meaningful, gripping scripts, you have to make available your inner, private secrets and not be afraid to deal with them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The myth of recognition

     One consistent issue beginning writers have with modeling characters on people close to them is their fear that their models will recognize themselves in the finished script and not be happy. Because of this fear, they often tend to stay clear of any idea drawn from their own lives which would automatically involve characters based on real people.  They don't want to offend or upset anyone.  They're unwilling to risk the possibility that a friend or family member might see an unflattering portrayal of a character obviously based on them.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott weigh in on "slow and boring" films

     I came across this article in the New York Times the other day by the paper's two top movie critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott in which they discuss that there's a place for films that go beyond supplying mere entertainment.  If you haven't already seen it, it's well worth a read and definitely food for thought.  It has undoubtedly hit a nerve as there are 186 comments as of today.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The writer's paradox

     Lately, I’ve had some interesting discussions with clients about the very early stages of the writing process and those critical private deliberations every writer must have when deciding whether or not to seriously pursue a new story idea. One very simple and basic principle that keeps coming up I think is worth sharing, something that all writers might need to be reminded of from time to time.