"It made me alive to the fact that the most important thing sometimes is what isn't said - to prepare for moments of revelation that can be read entirely on actors' faces without dialogue." - Robert Towne, Writer of Chinatown
The week started with feedback on the first drafts of our treatments. These mentor sessions are approximately:
- 40% "that's glaringly obvious, why the fuck didn't I think if that?"
- 35% "you're wrong but that comment's highlighted a problem I need to deal with in the next draft..."
- 20% "I'm stealing your idea and not thanking you at the Oscars"
- 5% "I thought about putting that in. Why the fuck didn't I put that in? Goddammit."
On Wednesday we looked at sex and romance in screenwriting. How do you write a sex scene that's actually sexy? Many sex scenes in classic films are a break from the story, a side note to the character development. But an interesting sex scene (see also: any interesting scene) has to move the characters' story forward.
The simplest way to make a sex scene sexy is to add an element of taboo. The most obvious example of this is infidelity but there are countless ways to give a scene a sense of the forbidden, from framing choices to dramatic irony. The most important thing to remember is that just because characters have had a rummage in the sack, it doesn't mean the audience will buy that they're in love. So the lead up and aftermath of the sex scene are as important, if not more, to convincing an audience to invest in a romantic entanglement.
STORYTELLING FOR THE SCREEN
A blog about The Screen Arts Institute's 'Storytelling for the Screen' course, taught by Stephen May and supported by the BFI.