Monday, May 13, 2013

Today's Lost Chance to Hollywood It

Today marks a day of professional growth disappointment. The screenwriting workshop I had signed up for at the local university did not make and therefore was cancelled. I had high hopes of learning the secrets of screenwriting in a two-week long course that would, per chance, enable me to channel Joss Whedon as I approach my next story concept. What's more, to have an affordable way to explore the craft of movie and television writing, right here in my own backyard. Well, to even have the opportunity is a rarity. Imagine my excitement paired with my disappointment as the course was squelched (for reasonable reasons, I'm sure).

Alas, that dream has faded. Today is just another Monday.

Not that I fancy myself a reborn (new born?) screenwriter. I enjoy the wordy exposition of the book format too much. I understand how different the formats of screenwriting versus novel writing are, but that's not to say I don't recognize the similarities as well. After all, a good story is a good story.

I'm a bit of a cinematic writer anyway. I tend to view the scenes in my head that I write much like I'm viewing them through a camera lens. This isn't a method exclusive to me. A lot of writers do it. We (meaning writer folk of the last several decades) have grown up in a society where television and film saturate our perspectives. But there is something innately comfortable with this method of storytelling--lenses, scenes, etc.--probably explained away in some philosophical psychology of the observer in relation the observed that dates back prior to the birth of moving pictures. However, the chicken-or-the-egg argument is not what I mean to highlight. What I mean to highlight is, as novelists, writers of any kind, ie: storytellers, we can learn a lot from experiencing the screenwriting process (I imagine, I had hoped, I still hope). I also think we can do the same by taking time to closely examine films that convey really good story.

This isn't anything new. It's not rocket science either. It's just something I'm pondering today--directly related to the mourning of my lost opportunity.

One thought brambling about up there...
Our film market is inundated (and always has been) with book to film adaptations. What is interesting to me is what works in both, what works exclusively with the confines of each format, and why we are so quick to judge these formats against one another (I loved the book but hated the movie, we often say).

I imagine this inevitable relation is as simple as: they are both ways to tell a story.

As a struggle through finishing my books and then making them really good stories (which I think the finishing is one thing and the latter comes with rewriting and editing) I look onward in awe at those filmmakers and screenwriters that tell really good stories. Until the next screenwriting opportunity shows itself, I'll satisfy myself with rereading Syd Feild's The Screenwriter's Workbook and keep replaying and scrutinizing Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams series' and films'.
Maybe I can teach myself to Hollywood It? But I'm open to suggestions.


1 comment:

  1. I'm with you, Michelle. I think each format has its appeal. I'll never be a screenwriter, but the screenwriting classes I took probably helped me more with plotting than anything else I've ever studied. Of course, they kinda ruined me on movies, too. At least on the formulaic ones.