5 reasons why you should co-write a screenplay

Co-writing is an exercise every writer should try at least once. May be you feel that you are not a ‘team person’. You may have certain fixed priorities and personal preferences in mind and you don’t want to be steered away by a writing partner. But still, you should try co-writing on at least an experimental basis. Reasons? I will give you 5.

The learning curve is steeper

Believe me, we all have our own strengths and weakness. Having a co-writer helps to improve that self awareness. What you would learn by writing 3 scripts by yourself, you would learn by writing a script with a friend. It is because many mistakes we make, we know in a instinctive manner that we are doing it wrong. But the problem is, to openly accept the judgement of such an unconscious ‘shit detector,’ it takes us more time. But with a co-writer who is honest regarding the worthiness of your concepts and process, the duration to enlightenment is cut short.

You will feel guilty if you don’t write

Almost all of us believe that we have some ‘great’ ideas for movies in our mind. But an average idea which you have put down on paper is better than thousand brilliant ideas that you are never going to write. With co-writing, you actually improve your chances of really getting things done. Writers are notorious for their tendency to procrastinate. But if you have a co-writer, it is much more likely that you will keep the ball rolling as otherwise you will be wasting the time of another person.

Learn the team game

What really makes scriptwriting different from other forms of writing is the collaborative process which is the crux of film making. Even if you wrote a screenplay which was wrenched out of the intimate parts of your heart, it is going to undergo scrutiny, invite comments (including many outrageous ones),  and you will be working and modifying it relentlessly until the point it becomes a film. It is all about taking feedback with composure, defending what you really believe in, examining your own ideas objectively and being able to articulate the abstract issues in the script. Now if you have a co-writer, you are a step ahead. You have some one to engage and challenge your ideas even at the concept level. There is a lot of back and forth which gives you time to sharpen your axes and be ready. Also it teaches you to accept disagreement, realise that some one out there may be able to contribute a better idea than yours and to work towards a consensus by bringing in a third, even better idea.

Throwing more darts

Every co-writer brings something unique to the table which is not only about plotting or dialogue or characters. Some may be good in networking and some in getting the work done. Also the catchment areas of different people may be different in terms of pitching your finished screenplay. Some may have technical expertise or past experience which may be helpful in getting your script made. The trick is not in writing your screenplay but being in a better position to really make it into a film. With co-writing, you are widening your net.

There are many roads to the same place

Different writers use different processes in writing. Some outline a lot. Some like to plunge into the first scene and let the characters surprise you. Some believe in structural templates while some love to experiment. Some like to know their characters while for some, attributes of a character develop according to the needs of the theme and plot. Some research while some doesn’t. The problem is, for most of us, our process is set within one or two screenplays. There are different methods in writing a screenplay but it is unlikely that a person will experiment much. But if you have a co-writer, it is much more likely that you will be exposed to a different method, which who knows, may be even better than that of yours.

Photo by ratexla

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Wild strawberries


Road movies doesn’t  always have to be about getting stoned, hitchhiking girls and goofiness. It can be also about something profound. It can be also about lost opportunities, the inevitable biological death, bittersweet memories, remorse and loneliness. The effect of Freud and psychodynamic theories are well evident in this 1957 movie (Bergman has this tendency to get carried away with the dream sequences). The story is about an aging professor known for his humility and empathy who looks back at his life to face the deep hidden coldness with which he has faced everything in life. It is tough to make melancholic movies which some one would really want to go back to again.  I guess Bergman is an expert in pulling it off. The acting by the lead actor is one of the greatest performances that I have ever seen. After watching ‘Seventh Seal,’ this movie was long in my wish list. Now I guess it is in my ‘re-watch’ list.


10 books that I cant have enough

It was poet Balachandran Chullikkad who once said that ‘great art is that forces you to go back to it again and again.’ With my personal experience I can’t completely agree with it. I can watch ‘Pirates of the Caribbean (1st part) n number of times but I cant force myself through ‘Barry Lyndon’ again. But it doesn’t mean that the former is greater than the latter.  I have once blogged about movies that I watch repeatedly. Here I will talk about those books which I have find myself reading again and again- often randomly, in bits and pieces, just to get the feel of it.

10-Candid

This French satire by Voltaire makes fun of everything under the sun- religion, theologians, governments, armies, philosophies, and philosophers, blind optimism. He also pokes fun at the popular adventure and romance cliches. Obviously what makes this book endearing to me is its humor and wit- that too humor and wit with a purpose.

9-The catcher in the rye

Personally I don’t think it is a great book. But its strong point is its characters. The protagonist has an unique voice- something hundreds of writers and readers have tried to mimic since reading this book.

Continue reading

An oath for heroes, villains and ghosts in Bollywood

    Oath for heroes and heroines

  1. I swear that I will never ever be skeptical about love because I know in the end I will have to believe in love
  2. I will never ever show enemity towards hero/ heroine in the beginning as I know finally I will have to fall in love with him/ her
  3. I will always look out for exact opposites of my character as they would finally end up as my romantic partner
  4. If l look nerdy, I am going to immediately get a haircut and remove my glasses as these would invariably turn me into extremely smart and handsome
  5. I am not going to have another boyfriend/girl friend other than the hero/heroine, as they have this tendency to turn out into assholes/imbeciles/villains in the end
  6. If I have extra-ordinary fighting abilities, I will not show reluctance to exhibit my abilities, as anyways finally villain will force me to fight
  7. I will not waste my time fighting evil business men and corrupt politicians initially through lawful means as I would any way be killing them off in the end without any regard for law
  8. Oath for villains

  9. I will not kill irrelevant characters for some minor reasons, just to demonstrate to the audience that I am really evil
  10. If by any chance I capture the hero, I would end him immediately with a bullet without lengthy dialogues or elaborate slow killing schemes Continue reading

Shantaram

And I looked at the men, the brave and beautiful men beside me, running into the guns, and God help me for thinking it, and God forgive me for saying it, but it was glorious, if glory is a magnificent and raptured exaltation.  It was what love would be like, if love was a sin. It was what music would be, if music could kill you.

Sometimes the lion must roar, just to remind the horse of its fear.

If fate doesn’t make you laugh, you just don’t get the joke.

The truth is a bully that we all pretend to like.

The only force more cynical and ruthless than the business of big politics is the politics of the big business.

Heroes come only in three kinds: dead, damaged, or dubious.

The only victory that really counts in prison is survival.

Some of the worst wrongs were caused by people who tried to change things.

When we are young, we think that suffering is something that’s done to us. When we get older-when the steel door slams shut, in one way or another- we know that real suffering is measured by what’s taken away from us.

Dead lovers are the toughest rivals in love.

Prisons are the temples where devils learn to pray. Every time we turn the key we twist the knife of fate, because every time we cage a man we close him in with hate.

Justice is not done until every one is satisfied, even those who offend us and must be punished by us. Justice is not only the way we punish those who do wrong. It is also the way we try to save them.

I realised that I didn’t need their brilliance any more: it couldn’t help me. All the cleverness in all the world couldn’t stop my stomach from knotting over in its prowling fear. When you know you are going to die, there is no comfort in cleverness. Genius is vain, and cleverness is hollow, at the end.

My ‘zero fatigue’ movies

These are 15 of those movies that I watch repeatedly ie more than 5 times. And I can watch them again if I want to. I wont call all of them artistically meaningful. Most of them are guilty pleasures. But what the hell- why should we feel guilty when we are feeling pleasure?

1. One Fine Day
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This movie about two single parents whose lives gets accidently intertwined during the course of a single day leading to sweet consequences. In my opinion its the closest that I have come across a perfect romantic comedy screenplay. May be Michelle Pfeiffer is causing a cognitive distortion.

2. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge
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Love birds and dissenting parents were once the bread and butter of Bollywood. Here the only twist is the boy who is not ready to marry the girl without the consent of her father. Well- you can show disgust for the Bollywood formula, you can laugh at the silliness of it, you can yawn at the predictability of it, you can write essays about the sugariness of it. But… you cannot resist it.

3. Good Will Hunting
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Its a well crafted movie revolving around a 18 year old delinquent mathematical genius and the psychiatrist who reluctantly tries to straighten him up. Its contains many of my favourite movie monologues beautifully rendered by Robin Williams on screen. And yes I think Ben Affleck is a better actor than Matt Damon. Shoot me.

4. Sandhesham
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This malayalam satire is about two brothers who belong to opposing political factions but living under the same roof. They take politics to the next level… that is into the family. Imagine every family dinner revolving around heated arguments about Chekoslovakia and Poland. Hope you get the picture. Continue reading