Posted by: steveonfilm | February 8, 2009

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit Of That

Now that I’ve got a new battery for my Macbook, I’ve been able to start working again in earnest. But that’s not to say that I haven’t been busy in my downtime.

I’ve been tinkering. Reading. Reflecting. Researching. Some other things that start with the letter ‘R’. Bottom line, I’ve been busy, just not with my computer.

Lately, I’ve been busy exploring some of the story telling techniques that other writers use. Call them templates. Call them formulas. They are what they are, but understanding and studying storytelling methods for film, prose, and historical text, is important in understanding how to build, layer, and structure a screenplay.

If a writer can’t draft a story in an effective manner even the most amazing story of all time will come across as dull, incoherent, and uninteresting. I think that’s what befalls most screenwriters who are unsuccessful. They’re not able to hone their writing to a point that grabs the reader and keeps their attention for 90-120 pages.

That’s not to say that a screenwriter will “make it” as a professional if they can accomplish that. I like to compare it to hitting a fast ball. You can’t play in the major leagues unless you can hit a 90 mph fastball. But just because you can hit a 90mph fastball doesn’t mean you will play in the big leagues.

What a storytelling technique can do is help a writer craft an ambiguous idea into something readable. Whether you’re using the Syd Field’s paradigm, or following Joseph Campbell’s 12 step heroic quest, a technique can help a writer shape a vague concept into something with structure, pacing, and flow.

I’m at a point right now where I have a few story ideas that I’ve been tinkering with. However, I’m having trouble shaping them into a linear, or nonlinear, narrative. There are events, scenes, characters, and concepts, but I haven’t yet put them all into one coherent body.

Over the never couple of weeks I’m going to post about how I’ve adapted a few ideas into some of these techniques I’ve been reading about. I plan to show how the same story might play out different depending on what technique I use. I’m not certain that I’ll be successful with what I want to do, but either way I figure it will be a good learning exercise.

Enjoy.
-Steve

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Responses

  1. I am eager, my writing brotha, to ee what you come up with.


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