Tagged: screenwriting

Film and TV1 reading reflection

Select from one of the readings from week 1 or 2 and briefly describe two points that you have taken from that reading. Points that excite you, something that was completely new to you

Millard, K. 2006, Writing for the Screen: Beyond the Gospel of Story, Scan Journal, Vol 3, Number 2.

Reading Millard’s text felt a lot like learning about Grammar to me. Where she highlights the cliches to avoid and the rules to follow when writing for the screen and then goes on to advocate breaking those rules but only when you know how to. Like ‘Never start a sentence with Because or And’ etc.

To me it seemed that Millard was trying to convey the invaluable quality that cinema affords the creator in it’s ability to capture magic. Millard quotes Pomeranz (2006) in saying that “Cinema has certain qualities, and it’s the image. Sometimes this image has its own breathing or tempo. It has to linger, and will linger because you want to have more”. From my understand Millard is highlighting that part of cinema is rolling the camera and being available to capture as much as possible; that you can craft the perfect script and exercise maximum control over every element of the shoot, but that if you are not open to lightning striking and moving with the unexpected to discover new things, you wont be doing your art justice.

As someone who aspires to create art in some capacity I don’t think i’m alone in finding it difficult to relinquish the notion of control lest it means also relinquishing the sense of ownership to the work that I am entitled to feel. Millard confronts that impulse in me, and encourages the rational understanding of the potential benefit of fresh eyes and random influence and collaboration whether with other people or just with running with the real life interruptions to planned activities.

Millard also quotes McKee, and if i’m honest i’m not sure I have a complete grasp of Millard or McKee’s assertions. McKee is quoted with “While the ever-expanding reach of the media now gives us the stories to send beyond borders and languages to hundreds of millions, the overall quality of storytelling is eroding… The art of story is in decay, and as Aristotle observed twenty three hundred years ago, when storytelling goes bad, the result is decadence.” (1997)

I am not sure whether ‘The art of story is in decay’ is a comment on the decline in quality of story, or if it is that artfulness is found by exploring the grittiness of life. In fact, I have discovered through the help of my friend wikipedia that I have had a very limited understanding of the word decadence to mean indulgence and excess and never appreciate it’s origin being decay. I am going to have to think on what this quote means more… It struck me originally and I took it to be a comment on an overexposure to stories, leads to an overexposure to bad stories and we as a public are conditioned to accept and expect stories to follow these poor models…

I’ll return to this, I’m not convinced I understand exactly what Millard is intending with this quote yet.





Jasmine’s Screenwriting Lecture


Jasmine spoke about screenwriting as writing with an exterior focus, something that needs to be mindful of the visual quality necessitating characters to react outwardly. This is something that challenges me because I am quite an introspective person and the old adage “write what you know”, whether I like it or not, does come into play in my writing style. I am not a particularly visual writer nor reader. Meaning I don’t form vivid images of how characters look or the world of a story when I read, despite my ability to get lost in stories. I think I am more drawn to the interior world of the characters.
That being said as an audience member I can fully appreciate the necessity and value of the visual component of story telling film and television affords us. As I write this I realise one of my story ideas was completely interior and while I could visualise exactly what it would look like, I sensed the gap between what the interior world of the character is, the beautiful quality of the environment it would be filmed in and the divide in how the visuals could communicate the interior- I should have revisited the lecture before working on the story ideas!
Jasmine also talked about narrative; the three act structure and the protagonist/anti-protaganist, status quo interrupted etc. I have taken creative writing classes in the past which has alerted to me of the norms of scriptwriting and classic story telling so this wasn’t a particularly revelatory moment for me, I do continue to feel cheated that I can recognise these sign posts of creative writing in works that seem so original to me when lacking an analytical eye.