"I don’t think screenplay writing is the same as writing — I mean, I think it’s blueprinting." – Robert Altman
This week we each borough in a three page scene to workshop in class. In the wise and now timeless words of fellow filmmaker Jacob Perlmutter, "It was wild." Suddenly the characters went from being abstract concepts living in my head to real entities, with their own volition, living in a windowless 'Learning Space 1' in the bowels of the BFI.
We took apart the scene and looked at ways of heightening conflict, adding obstacles, and generally making it better, funnier, more emotional and more believable. We also improvised around the lines which generated some pretty good stuff and opened up the inner lives of the characters in unpredictable and interesting ways.
This was a particularly good moment to play with this stuff as I'd been reworking the treatment from a psychological thriller to a black comedy. I decided to stop fighting the impulse to add humour to the dialogue off the back of the last Monday session where we exchanged scenes and rewrote them. It's working out well but the real challenge now is making the suspense and thriller elements work with the comedy.... *settles in for Coen Bros marathon*
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.