"SCREENWRITING AND THE STUDIO PROCESS"
January 1, 1970Today the shape of movies takes on remarkably short consentration.
Even more than ever, studio projects are marketed by the screenplay process more than going forward on gut reaction. A studio executive will first consider the audience and play to that end. Feelings and story dirven projects just oren't on the venue.
Movies are a lot like comic books. The lines are short, characters are an exaggeration, and points of view are extreme. Even the most intimate situations go to feelings very fast. Very little applies to real life.
What seems to sell to both studio executives and the audience are lines. If a writer comes up with a 'Make my day,' or 'This could be the start of a beautiful friendship, Louis,' the world will want to see the movie. Catch phrase makes the hook.
Character development of an extreme chimes our one note of movie going rapture: Extreme. Coupled with exaggeration, with all the problems that could possibly occur to them, with just the right subtle lack of ability to cope, add that at every turn there remains an obsticle for the character . . . in studio movies this is desireable.
The character points have to congeal with the plot points, what the character wants drives the story into existence.
I keep in mind, what takes the character out of their house? What keeps the character from getting to point a, b, xyz? Where that happens in the writing, is a plot point -- every single scene.
In today's highly technically driven production capabilities, the back story becomes the unique intriguing element in the movie. To create a unique and intriguing, suspenceful back story, Foreshadowing a series of fortelling situations that have any plot points that come up to slap us in the face at the end is a rare cinematic element. For the writer, this becomes a key element of talent.
The one thing that sustains Hollywood studios is talent, and the thing that survives studio executives is the ability to see talent in the writing.