Monday, September 14, 2009

All About Eleanor

It's so wonderful to receive your comments dear friends! I thank you so much for your company, I must say that you are such a warm, witty, wise and hysterically funny bunch of bloggies.

The only thing I feel like writing about tonight is screenwriting, and I'm afraid that my obsession with screenwriting is getting worse and worse...even as I type these words. I'm not sure if I can explain this rationally, because I am certainly not a film buff. I can't rattle off a list of classic films I love, I certainly didn't even go the cinema regularly during the last decade. My ignorance about films and what it takes to make them was quite shocking, and still is in fact. A lot of films bore me, I often forget plots mere moments after walking out of the cinema, and I have never managed to sit through that Matrix film without falling asleep, but I do keep trying.

Maybe what I love about this screenwriting business is that it isn't classified as literature, and a film earns its place in the world on the basis of mass appeal more than anything else. Oh sure, critics will analyse them, and academics may write theses about them, but when it comes down to it...we're talking bums on seats. Let's get a whole bunch of people into the cinema and work some magic on them. I like that. It's so refreshing after having been brought up in an academic environment which ignored popular culture. I studied literature at uni and never once did anyone mention to me that the point of the each book was really the STORY. You've got to have a really good story, and a really good story is practically the hardest thing to create. The WAY you write that story,well, can be "beautiful"...but you know what...your average reader isn't after that perfect adjective (is there such a thing?). Your average reader wants to be blown away by a really fabulous story.

You have to hook them in, and then you have to make them keep wondering what will happen next. It sounds so easy, doesn't it?

Can you hear me laughing hysterically, nay...maniacally?!!

Some scriptwriter, I forget who, said "Writing a script is easy, you just sit and stare at your computer screen until beads of blood form on your forehead." That's exactly what it feels like, I swear to you, really.

I thought that scriptwriting meant lots of dialogue. Hahahahah.....more crazed laughter. You have MONTHS of plotting (if not an entire year) before you can even begin to write a word of dialogue. You see, in my university-taught ivory tower I had completely forgotten that stories mean characters, that things happen to these characters, and then more things happen. What, what WHAT THINGS HAPPEN? That's what you have to come up with...from your imagination...all by yourself. I've never been more frightened in my life, honestly, because with scripts you can't hide behind "fancy" language, you have to know your facts and make them clear to your audience, otherwise they just walk out of the cinema and tell their friends that it was a crappy movie.

So I finished my 10-week course, and learned more than I learned in four years in uni. It also became clear very early on that I can be quite the difficult wife and mother when I'm trying to study and write something which means a lot to me. I'm using the word "difficult" with some hesitation because it's really quite an understatement.

Here is a scene from "All About Eve" which sums up my personality during the last two months:

So you can consider yourselves lucky indeed that I didn't post very much during the last month. I spared you a bumpy ride, although I'll tell you a secret, I don't think it's over yet. Endings are very difficult.


fifi said...

Can't wait till your screenplay is realised into a wondrous film!
please invite me to the premiere, won't you.

Mary said...

I'm with Fifi - I'll even dress up..

Julia said...

Looking forward to reading the next act!

eurolush said...

Difficult? You?


Suse said...

Hell, I'll even fly to Sydney AND dress up.