Michael Joiner, a Creative Director at McCann-Erickson talked to my SVA Business and Craft of TV Writing class about the relationships between TV and advertising. The big takeaway was that ads use the same story structure to sell things as dramatic writing does, but in a shorter format. Michael’s a big fan of Orson Welles and one of his “go to” films is Citizen Kane.
Orson Welles is a great filmmaker to study because he had a unique vision and was able to get his work produced. Even if you watch clips instead of an entire film, you’ll learn a lot from this master. My two personal favorites are The Lady From Shanghai and The Stranger .
I’m excited to be teaching my NWIFT Seminar, The Creative Business of Screenwriting on Wednesday 11/8 from 6:30 -8:30. There are a couple of seats left.
A private student came into town to work with me for two days to structure a new film based on a personal experience. She’d researched it for several years and couldn’t get started. I suggested that she reconnect with the part of herself that had been a teenager when the event happened and write from the teenager’s perspective in the first person to see where the painful memories were hidden.
The exercise worked, and my student was able to create a workable outline, and start writing.
Here’s the exercise we used, and try completing it for your main character and villain or obstacle:
Set a timer for 15 minutes.
Writing in first person tense, using the “voice” of your main character or self, describe a good food “memory” or experience. Be as descriptive as you can, and include inner thoughts and feelings.
When you’re done, reset the timer and repeat the exercise for your villain or obstacle.
Then repeat the exercise for both characters, but substitute a bad or traumatic food memory.
Often this exercise will produce new, usable scenes, but even if it doesn’t you’ll learn a lot about your characters. The more you understand your characters, the better your script will be.
Halloween was fun and here are some photos.
Here’s to your successful writing!
Professor Marilyn Horowitz