HOW TO WRITE A SCREENWRITING – Is a new feature that will lead you through the process of writing a screenplay in the tradition of the great gurus Robert McKee, Syd Field and Damon Lindelof.
Part 1. Story – camera – action.
A man walks into a room. That’s a story! A woman eats a peach that’s too big for her small mouth. That’s a story! A dog has worms and keeps rubbing its rear end on your new carpet. That’s not a story. You just need to take the dog to the vet and buy a new carpet. The point is we are surrounded by story. Story is everywhere. It is in the food you eat, on television, in the newspapers, in the conversation of your co-workers. Story is the warp and woof (there’s that dog again) of life, the rich tapestry from whence we all come, the undiscovered country to whence we all go.
But how do I write a story? Which story should I choose? What story do people want to hear? And what’s the difference between a story in a book and a story in a building?
All these questions will be answered in this 23 part on line course on How to Write a Screenwriting. Whether you want to be the next J.K Rowling and die under the weight of all the money, or you want to be the next Charlie Kaufman and die under the weight of everyone going ‘what?’, How to Write a Screenwriting is the ONLY online resource you need as a screenwriter who wants to write a screenwriting.
Of course writing is not easy. Look at the title to this whole course that I’m writing. Have you looked? Okay, the more perceptive among you will have noticed that there is something not quite right, something that the unkind might refer to as ‘wrong’. Of course, I wanted to write ‘How to Write a Screenplay’ but I was also thinking of ‘A Guide to Screenwriting’ and so accidentally I wrote ‘How to write a Screenwriting’, erroneously combining to the two titles because I was hungry and I was thinking about dinner – I’m thinking lasagna specifically. So do I go back and change it? NO. Why not? Well, for one thing it’s more work. But the more important reason is that LIFE DEPENDS ON MISTAKES.
Think about it.
All multi-cellular life comes from errors in replication of DNA. If there weren’t any errors, if everything was perfect, then no evolution. No evolution then no complexity; no complexity, then no us. No us, no cinema. No cinema and we’re out of a Goddamned job, just because the asshole DNA worked too damned well. Perfection is the death of life and the death of story. Do you think Jonathan and Christopher Nolan wanted to write Memento? No, they just kept forgetting the story-line and had to keep going back. Do you think Larry McMurty wanted Brokeback Mountain to be a heart-breaking gay love story? No, the original novel has the two cowboys fighting but a slip of the pen and fellatio as all over the page! Do you think Quentin Tarantino meant to write The Hateful Eight? No, his original screenplay was supposed to be called The Careful Eight, but one accidental slip of the fingers and suddenly he has to write something violent to justify the wrong title.