From Wednesday January 18, 2012:
I participated in a webinar this evening led by Corey Mandell (www.coreymandall.net) relating to the 5 skill sets needed for successful screenwriting. It makes a lot of sense that, as a writer, one should evaluate what type of learner he/she is, in order to deliver a story to his/her audience.
Conceptual meaning the “brainy” type, outlining the story before writing it, and making sure all the elements are present before beginning the process (i.e. character descriptions, setting, time, climax, plot, resolution, etc.).
Intuitive meaning the “emotional” type, writing the story before finding out what actually happens to the characters in the end. This type of learner (which I have realized is not me) has certain characters in mind and begins writing to see what happens to them.
In addition to conceptual versus intuitive thinking, conflict is an essential element to building skill sets (actually the foundation). It’s important for a writer to capture the reader’s attention all through the story, in order to carry them through each scene. Simple conflict is not enough, but must be compelling. Compelling conflict is what Corey Mandall sees as first element in his list of 5 skill set techniques.
If a writer is not maintaining this skill set, the reader will see a different movie when reading the script, and this will lead to failure. It is a waste of time to ask for feedback without this element present in a story. The story is generic and dry, and will not capture the audience. However, compelling conflict can be learned.
The overall process a writer maintains is what will draw him/her to a prospective agent or job. Being unique in style is what Hollywood is searching for at the present time. Although new writers are few and far between, they are in demand at the present. Mandall mentioned that about 99% of the scripts being sent to production companies are being rejected, but there is a chance to make it with uniqueness of style, process, and approach.
Maintaining an organic non-formulated writing approach is what he mentioned when relaying his message. Imagine the story being the wine in a glass, as the writer I am the glass and it is the experience with the wine that I am bringing to the audience that will contribute to their overall impression. Am I a paper cup, coffee mug, tall crystal chalice, etc.?
Finally, to state the obvious, the writer must be prepared to rewrite…rewrite…rewrite. If I have written a script, and I can visualize the movie in my head, I need to be able to relay that script to a trusted friend or mentor until he/she sees the exact movie I can see in my head. Having a mentor or coach is very essential for the success to become real, according to Mandall. He also reminded the listeners that it’s not talent alone that will determine the success of the script writing, but practicing the skill sets and technical skills of writing.
I really look forward to learning more about writing. The study of the mind has always fascinated me, and I feel that writing will allow me to explore different thinking styles and patterns of behavior, especially when creating unique characters. Also, my strong interest in movies has always created an interest for me to write my reactions, both mental (what I’m thinking), and physical (what I was feeling). In addition, my extensive love of learning new things can contribute a supportive element to my new goal for the new year.
In closing, I once again experience the emotional aspects of the highs and lows of life. On one hand I am excited to partake in another project toward hopeful success (along with my sports website); however, on the other hand, I am still lacking that companionship (a relationship/spouse) to share my life and interests. Maybe someday I’ll find that person.
I always think about the ups and downs of motivation. What do creative people go through in order to consistently create? It’s difficult to remember all experiences and emotions. That’s why reflection can be useful and productive. But what does it take to draw similar interests from other collaborators? Different experiences can contribute to creativity, but the experiences (alone) can oftentimes be restrictive. Oh to find a collaborator…
Goodbye for tonight…