QUESTION 1- This semester I want to improve on my ability to write narrative for film. I’ve always struggled with creating film scripts or telling a story within a time frame as my strengths have always lied within more abstract or non linear forms (for example music videos or experimental audio-visual formats). As I have already had significant experience with the production process (involving all aspects from pre to post) I don’t believe the course will directly expand this knowledge, rather consolidate the knowledge and experience I already have. Therefore, I intend on using this course as a means to experiment in roles I would previously not have taken on (for example cinematographer rather than being producer or director as I usually would) and improving on these skills so I am confident in more roles than I used to be.
QUESTION 2- Jasmine’s lecture on screenwriting didn’t particularly offer me anything new to think about as I have already studied screenwriting in the past and very similar ideas were explored. The most resonant idea that remained with me was the concept of giving your protagonist a very defined ‘want’ or ‘need’ and then creating clear and often impossible obstacles that disables them from getting what they desire. Jasmine was very adamant that conflict is a very important part of screenwriting and I agree with this in the respect that the majority of the films I enjoy surround the protagonist being at odds with something (whether it be an obstacle, their own desires or another person or ‘antagonist’). Jasmine also suggested that if you are struggling with coming up with ideas to reflect on the sorts of movies and television shows that interest you and see if there is any underlining concept, theme or idea that resonates with you. The only problem I have with this suggestion is that it is sometimes difficult to avoid cliches or end up mimicking something that has already been done before if you are using already existing films as points of inspiration for your own.
QUESTION 3- From the week 2 reading “slogans for the screenwriters wall” I most identified with the concept of ‘show-don’t-tell’ particularly in relation to acting technique and choosing actors who identify with this principle. Rather than having to spell everything out literally using dialogue, a good actor should allow the audience to join the dots or read between the lines. Often there is more said in a pause or an expression than in a line of dialogue – for example, a long pause could mean more than a short response. Dialogue should be analysed so the actor is able to provide a subtext if needed, giving scenes or events in the film more depth or meaning. This principle of ‘show-don’t-tell’ also relates to directors and screenwriters. Not everything needs to be spelt out in the audience – if it is an important plot point that your protagonist is a School teacher, rather than have the character state their occupation or make mention of this through dialogue, show the audience simply by alluding to this occupation through props lying around the set (for example, a pile of assessments to be marked). Choices made by the director should reflect this idea as well, particularly in casting and design. Certain facts or concepts about the characters or the story should be evident merely through the production design, costume or casting and should not need to be explicitly written into the script.