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Sunday, January 06, 2013

The Playwright's Craft - Learning from film

I'm always trying to impress on writers I am coaching that play writing is a completely different discipline from film and television script writing.  It has different aims and objectives and attempts to provide a narrative in a completely different way.  However, I respect the reallyg reat exponents of the other crafts and we can still learn from them.  Here is Billy Wilder's take:

1. The audience is fickle.
2. Grab ‘em by the throat and never let ‘em go.
3. Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.
4. Know where you’re going.
5. The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.
6. If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.
7. A tip from Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They’ll love you forever.
8. In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees. Add to what they’re seeing.
9. The event that occurs at the second act curtain triggers the end of the movie.
10. The third act must build, build, build in tempo and action until the last event, and then -
11. - that’s it. Don’t hang around.

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