My script writing strategies for 2012: first update

First of all, I was supposed to do an update every month as per the initial resolutions. But this is coming after 2-3 months. Because after some time I felt that too many updates may make less sense as there is more data to go through.

Total number of days- 96

Number of days where I completed 2.5 hrs of writing- 42

number of days where I didn’t write anything- 35

Number of days where I wrote for more than 3 hrs- 4

Number of networking mails/calls/sms supposed to be sent- 25

Number of networking mails/calls/sms sent- 15

Number of targets set- 10

Number of targets completed within stipulated time- 4

The alarming number among these is the number of days where I didn’t write anything. Well, there has been some unexpected developments at work and home because of which those days happened. But if I had really put my mind into it, I could have written at least one hour on those days.

Networking may appear to have fallen short of the target, but actually there was some initial procrastination and ‘finding my way to do it’ involved. Now things are on track. Target setting is doing fine. Believe me, I was even worse than this. Now I have a 40% success rate.

The new idea I have come up with for the last 3 months is learning the art of narration of a story. I should sit in front of the mirror and practice. May be I should videotape my own narrations (which  then would be safeguarded in the strongest lockers known to mankind for avoiding unwanted embarrassments). Let us see.

Photo by Lawrence Whittemore

Schizophrenia: myths and misconceptions of fiction writers

May 24 is world schizophrenia day. There are some popular misconceptions about schizophrenia that keep recurring in media and films about schizophrenia. Interestingly, in most of our films, the disorder mostly have symptoms that would help the writer to manipulate the story.

I can imagine the argument against this- ‘writing is about finding dramatic possibilities. One should not get too serious about the factual aspect of it. This is not a documentary.’ But it is a lousy argument. If a writer is writing a court drama and to heighten a plot point, if he makes up some laws which are not in Indian penal code, will we accept it?

Basically inaccurate depiction of mental illness is the product of laziness of the writer. First, the reluctance to google the particular illness and spent some time reading about it. Second, the laziness to really work around the irrevocable facts about the illness while trying to create drama. Instead they go for the easy path of molding the illness according to the needs of the story.

Now this can be really damaging from a bigger perspective. Because stigma and lack of awareness have been big problems worldwide in creating barriers in mental health care. And films and media are important determinants of public perceptions about mental illness.

Below are some common misconceptions that keep recurring-

1) ‘Schizophrenia is a behaviour or a state of mind.’

Often you read about a person who is very ‘schizophrenic’ or ‘psychotic.’  What this means is different for different writers. Some times they are referring to weird or aloof behaviour. But using name of a medical illness to denote a behaviour is in itself weird. If some one talks very sweetly, would you call him ‘diabetic?’ Continue reading

Satyameva Jayate

I watched Aamir Khan’s show with lot of negativity and expected him to make a fool out of himself on tv. But in the end, I was impressed. Of course, the show was a little melodramatic. But again, the target audience is the majority of Indians who have no qualms about their emotionality and not the minority who are so obsessed about maintaining ‘the stiff upper lip.’

But I liked the fact that the show had a purpose and Aamir Khan was so eager about making a genuine impact. After the initial show promotions revolving around the incessant self obsessing  by Khan about his duties and life etc, it was difficult to escape the jokes about his inflated sense of self righteousness and ego and what not. But if we start dissecting and deconstructing every one’s intentions and motivations, I am telling you, nobody would be having anything pleasant to discover. As the behaviourists would say, that kind of an analysis doesn’t  lead anywhere. So let us judge the actions and their effects. It is much more clean and easy. And one has to concede, Aamir Khan is trying to use his power as a star much better than many others.

One issue I had with the show was that the stories are narrated in a very one sided simplistic way. May be because I am in a profession where I realise on a day to day basis that the two sides of the same story can be so strikingly different, but I feel it is unfair to not listen to the opposite parties. Many conflicts presented there may have more than female foeticide in it. Life is so complex and most conflicts cannot be reduced to a single bullet point. You never know unless you check every angle. May be the research team has done that. May be the opposite parties had been contacted but refused to co-operate in anyway. But if that effort has not gone in, it is unfair.