There are not any rules in screen writing; nevertheless, as in jazz, you will find definite things that happen a good deal. Should you’d like to be a screen writer that is successful then it is beholden on you to at least be familiar with one of these rules even in case you opt to ignore them. Apropos of nothing, I posted on Twitter recently describing where Guatemalan vocalist Gaby Moreno was performing a solo acoustic set how, whilst cycling before that day, I drifted right into a record shop in the Jordaan district. Now, Gaby is talented young and original; she has a strong and confident voice in all senses of the word. Her music has elements of pop, soul, Latin and jazz (have a look on YouTube before purchasing an album). Clearly she’s these styles under her belt but, the manner that they’re delivered is original and controlling, and you find yourself attempting to hear partially because of the elegant interpretation of these designs, but more because of the original storylines which are being said on phrases and the recognizable riffs.
Why mention this in a post on screen writing? Because, dear reader, it is really not what you say but the way you say it. It’s the way it is articulated by you, although not the storyline. It is your voice that matters.
Provide the crowd what it wants, although not in the way in which that they anticipate…
This is excellent advice from Robert McKee which he usually expands upon in seminars and his novels on story technique. Tease the crowd with your erudition, along with your understanding of the sort and history of movie writing, however finally you will need to identify the narrative. It is not for nothing that McKee focuses on the phrase narrative. Narrative is what we’re speaking about when we talk about picture writing. Other kinds of film exist, although not in Hollywood and not around the big screen on Saturday.
Paul Schrader talks about the vital importance of the story telling craft in the context of movie composing. It is the fundamental principle that underpins all fantastic or indeed qualified screen writing. Schrader talk about camp fire story telling. You ought to manage to tell it as a camp fire story, when an idea will work. You switch it round but the core narrative must not be incapable of retelling as an engaging, never to say and can dress it up, gripping narrative around the burning embers in the dying light of the evening. And this is from a man who wrote about transcendental style in cinema; grasp the theory but tell the story in the end.
That meticulousness was applied into a story that was perfectly distilled although Schrader directed The Comfort of Strangers. Based on a superbly crafted novella by Ian McEwan (of exactly the same name), transformed into a perfect blueprint of a screen play by Harold Pinter the picture becomes an essay in audio visual story telling. The dialogue is crisp and minimal, as you’d expect of Pinter. So we are able to remember Norma Desmond’s prescient line in Sunset Boulevard – “We did not want dialogue. We had faces.” Comfort of Strangers needs this quartet of great celebrities this is: they need to tell much of the storyline essentially using their silences, their body language and their faces. Incidentally, there’s a fantastic story where Walken told Schrader that he did not need to light his face from under to look bad, he could do that on his own.
Norma Desmond was mentioned by me since it is my contention that Sunset Boulevard and The Comfort of Strangers share much in common in terms of plot construction. Wilder’s classic heritage additionally features a solid quartet performance: William Holden Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim as well as the youthful Nancy Olson. Olson’s Betty Schaefer character is a more critical part of the quartet than is immediately noticeable on first screening. I love the resonances brought on by the truth that all four are creative practitioners in the film making process but, significantly, in distinct manners not at all where they wish to be in this creative process at this time in their own lives: they’re all displaced from their rightful position in the natural order within their own minds. Still, to your classic whodunit in the end it all comes down despite all this cleverness and interweaving of psychological threads. Watch the two movies together and see what you think.