Co-writing the thriller

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The treatment and the scene index for the thriller have been done. Now we have started co-writing the script. I wrote the  first 9 pages and emailed to my friend in Mumbai who wrote the next 10 pages and so on.  There has been some other developments also regarding this getting produced but it is too early to write about it here. I will write in detail about the co-writing experience later on.
Photo by Blunder

Then who will read my fucking script?

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Shahul sent me the link to an article named ‘I will not read your fucking script’ by John Olson, the writer of the adapted screenplay ‘History of violence.’

Basically the article talks about issues regarding some one requesting to give notes on their scripts. Appears that some ‘mutual’ friend was not happy with Olson’s take on his script which lead to a fall out. The essence of his argument is that reading some one’s screenplay takes a substantial amount of your time with extra time for making notes on it- why should some one waste time on it when in the end most probably truth will be rewarded with grudges? And he raises the point that no one really understands what it takes to read some one’s (bullshit) script and comment on it. A struggling writer is asking for a professional opinion. But do you ask a doctor for a medical opinion in between a party?

Well I can understand Olson. It also gives an inkling regarding the dynamics involved while offering your script to someone to read. We take it for granted that this should not be much of a trouble. ‘It’s only 120 pages.’ But what a budding scriptwriter doesn’t understand is that a celebrity (film maker) gets thousands of such requests in a week. So though a refusal may appear rude, showing any kind of consideration will be devastating.

So how should a budding writer approach such a situation? Continue reading

Scripting emotional scenes

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Désirée wrote a post regarding emotion in scripts. It kept me thinking- whether we can use logic in writing emotion in our scenes. I think we can use logic in writing better emotional scenes. But it is an area where our intuition overrides our conscious planning.

Still I think there are some general rules that we can follow.

Don’t try too hard

If I think about all those scenes that have really worked for me, one thing about all of them is that they are subtle. I didn’t feel that writer/ character was actively trying to grab my empathy. Consider the scene in Forrest Gump where he reacts to the knowledge that the boy who is watching TV in front of him is actually his son. He almost weeps with joy and asks, ‘Is he smart?’ Never before in the movie has Gump expressed any emotion regarding he being a little dull. But when he asks that question we realise that this has been the thing that has defined his thoughts through out his life and that knowledge somehow touches us.

Hit when the iron is hot

 It takes some intuition to get the timing right. For me the emotional peak of Titanic was not when Jack died. It is after the end of the flashbacks, when the old Ross lies to sleep (or die?) and gradually drifts off to the intact Titanic and the waiting Jack. It gives us a longing to go back in time when the tragedy was yet to happen. Continue reading