3/9/09

Scream writing...

Screenwriting is a humbling thing for me. And I know why, it involves formula, or structure or a template or format, or any other word that says that there is a particular mathematical no fail make sense way of doing things. Sigh. Math was never my strong part, neither was structure. I am a feeler, an emoter, a feel the wind and let it move you kind of gal. Now of course I am also a savvy business woman, or else how on earth would I have a career in show business, which as the ol' cliche goes, has a lot more business than show in it.

I wrote a novel, jumped at the chance of doing so, although I had never written anything longer than 50 pages before, and trusted fully that I would figure it out. Why? Novel writing feels more organic to me, story is story and a novel gives the writer the time and space to allow that story to unfold. When I talked to screenwriting friends of mine they all said the same thing..."A novel? Oh I could never...that seems so hard...so long..." I admit that I soaked up the admiration all the while thinking inside..."A screenplay? How the hell do they do it? The horror! The horror!"

Now I have actually written and produced two short films and I have written a feature length and a spec script, but every time I think of starting a new screenplay I feel like, okay, time to write in Japanese again...it is so foreign to me. Sigh. But I am determined to figure it out, to take the finished product of a movie that I know and understand so well, and peel back it's layers to see how it works.

Maybe I am haunted by the words of my grade 11 advanced French teacher who criticized my ability to understand and speak in french without really ever being able to break it down and write it. He told me that grammar is like math and one had to be good at one in order to be good at the other. According to him it was all formula.

Did I mention my grammar is less than stellar? Did I also mention that he was under 5'4" with a handlebar mustache and liked pleated pants?

In any case, I think these stupid words have stuck and now I am trying to retrain my brain into believing that it is possible. So back to the books I go.

Has anyone ever told you something stupid that you overcame? And does anyone write screenplays well and suck at math?

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