Script Writing & the Drama of Everyday

Monday’s Stories class covered a topic which I very much wanted to cover: Script writing. The class essentially just went over the basics, like the format, and the necessary work it takes to make an interesting script translate into an interesting film or TV Show. We saw some examples that detailed this quite a bit; LOST, American History X and As Good As it Gets (I suppose to get a good variety). Lost illustrated how colorful, detailed writing can make a very compelling sequence with virtually no dialogue. American History X, the same thing, how much more actions can say about a sequence or a character then any words could. As Good as it Gets was a study on dialogue; how it should be a match, two people constantly hanging on to each others words and jousting for the upper hand in conversation.

What I also took from it is imagery; your words on paper need to illustrate strong imagery. American History X had scenes in black and white; a movie about a white supremist, where some of the strongest scenes of violence between races were in black and white. Lost, without a word shows a man, familiar, in business attire, in a jungle, completely out of place. a shoe hangs from a tree, a dog roams in bamboo. Even the actions, movements and mannerisms of Jack Nicholson is strong imagery, saying more about him, his feelings and his inclinations then his words ever will. To make a strong movie (a visual medium), we need strong visuals. Even a boring character study can stand apart from it’s compatriots in the indie realm with meaning beyond it’s words, if the writing is strong enough to convey those thoughts.

The reason I’ve come to thinking about this is due mostly to the old saying, “write what you know”.

Well, I’ve known many things, and if they are at all interesting, I’m not sure. Taking the drama in an average 22 year old’s life could make for an abysmal movie, or a very intriguing one, if it has focus; a cohesive thought and vision. Dialogue can drag a work down, so keep that to a minimum. I want to make an interesting character piece with a real story to tell. Maybe one of love and loss, or the hardships of life that are not often broadcast on a 50 foot screen. Writing down the things I hear in public, the conversations I have with friends, and simply going through my catalogue of memories; my first job, my first love; my first firing; my first heartbreak; these are all sources of inspiration that with the right underlying thought, brought together cohesively could make an interesting script. Just today, I was laid off my job of 1 and a half years. I’m not particularly phased by it. In a movie this is where everything becomes muted, the main character has a blank stare, the camera slowly crawls towards him and his eyes are wide. But it didn’t phase me; I smiled, I said thank you and I took my things and went. That imagery says much more about a person then the cliched “life is disappointing all over your face” scene, mostly because of the stark contrast to what a normal reaction is expected to be.

So, I think I will mine my thoughts for my next great idea. The music I hear, the people who disappoint me, the business that seem to endlessly want to crumble, you are all invited to inspire the same thoughts every man has had – i need you, to change you and place you in my indie hit of 2017.


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