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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    Screenwriting Class  ›  Coherency and leaving your own mind. Moderators: George Willson
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  Author    Coherency and leaving your own mind.  (currently 208 views)
TheReccher
Posted: July 28th, 2017, 3:47pm Report to Moderator
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Something that's become startlingly clear about human psychology, having been through university, and having suffered through horrible professors, the better you are at something, the worse you are at explaining it. These people were chosen for their expertise, but they're so good at it, they have a difficult time teaching it. The details are so second nature, so invisibly simple in their mind, they lack the instinct to know it needs to be elaborated.

I am the master of my story. I am brilliant at understanding it because it's mine. The ultimate expert. Which makes me bad at explaining it unfortunately. For the longest time I thought I was being subtle and clever with my exposition, turns out I was just cryptic. "Like dude, common, I made the character flinch! Obviously he's blah blah. How could you miss that sub-text! It's so simple."

I want to try and contort my mind, to put myself in the shoes of someone who's being exposed to this story for the first time. I'm just wondering how to do that.  



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eldave1
Posted: July 28th, 2017, 4:23pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from TheReccher
Something that's become startlingly clear about human psychology, having been through university, and having suffered through horrible professors, the better you are at something, the worse you are at explaining it. These people were chosen for their expertise, but they're so good at it, they have a difficult time teaching it. The details are so second nature, so invisibly simple in their mind, they lack the instinct to know it needs to be elaborated.

I am the master of my story. I am brilliant at understanding it because it's mine. The ultimate expert. Which makes me bad at explaining it unfortunately. For the longest time I thought I was being subtle and clever with my exposition, turns out I was just cryptic. "Like dude, common, I made the character flinch! Obviously he's blah blah. How could you miss that sub-text! It's so simple."

I want to try and contort my mind, to put myself in the shoes of someone who's being exposed to this story for the first time. I'm just wondering how to do that.  





An interesting challenge - I just think it is an impossible task.  I think what you are left with is reading other scripts and seeing your criticism of theirs in terms of - is it obvious - could also apply to yours


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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JonnyBoy
Posted: July 28th, 2017, 7:15pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from TheReccher
Something that's become startlingly clear about human psychology, having been through university, and having suffered through horrible professors, the better you are at something, the worse you are at explaining it. These people were chosen for their expertise, but they're so good at it, they have a difficult time teaching it. The details are so second nature, so invisibly simple in their mind, they lack the instinct to know it needs to be elaborated.

I am the master of my story. I am brilliant at understanding it because it's mine. The ultimate expert. Which makes me bad at explaining it unfortunately. For the longest time I thought I was being subtle and clever with my exposition, turns out I was just cryptic. "Like dude, common, I made the character flinch! Obviously he's blah blah. How could you miss that sub-text! It's so simple."

I want to try and contort my mind, to put myself in the shoes of someone who's being exposed to this story for the first time. I'm just wondering how to do that.


A practical suggestion: get a few people together who are comfortable reading aloud, do a read-through of your script (with you present, watching how everyone reacts), and then talk it about it. I used to do some stuff in theatre, and I promise you that hearing it through the mouths of others will make you see it afresh. Obviously with the dialogue, but also generally. I now work for a publisher of scripts and books on making theatre, and I think one of our writers summed it up brilliantly:

"No playwright knows what their play is even about until actors start performing it. Things we thought were obvious become impossible to express, and things we thought were clever and original are revealed as obvious."


That's true for screenwriters as well - after all, both are works written in isolation, brought to life (usually) by others. So yeah, my recommendation is to get other minds involved. That should help.


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eldave1
Posted: July 28th, 2017, 7:16pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from JonnyBoy


A practical suggestion: get a few people together who are comfortable reading aloud, do a read-through of your script, and then talk it about it. I used to do some stuff in theatre, and I promise you that hearing it through the mouths of others will make you see it afresh. Obviously with the dialogue, but also generally. I now work for a publisher of scripts and books on making theatre, and I think one of our writers summed it up brilliantly:

"No playwright knows what their play is even about until actors start performing it. Things we thought were obvious become impossible to express, and things we thought were clever and original are revealed as obvious."


That's true for screenwriters as well - after all, both are works written in isolation, brought to life (usually) by others. So yeah, my recommendation is to get other minds involved. That should help.


Hadn't though of that - that is real solid advice.


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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JonnyBoy
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Not to plug one of my writers too much, but the whole article is well worth a read. His name is Conor McPherson, and he's an Irish playwright and screenwriter who's just opened a show here in London using the songs of Bob Dylan (which is totally beautiful, by the way).

He also directs his plays, and his article is about how central actors are to making good work: http://www.standard.co.uk/goin.....-acting-9043179.html. I personally think it's something not enough people keep in mind: at the end of the day, writers write for actors. The words will be said by them. The characters will be played by them. Don't pander to them, but remember they're the ones who'll have to bring what you put down on paper to life for your audience.

So to come back to your point, OP: knowing your story is important, of course, but it's the conveying of it (what you called 'explaining') that really matters. At least imo.


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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: July 28th, 2017, 9:39pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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Quoted from TheReccher
Something that's become startlingly clear about human psychology, having been through university, and having suffered through horrible professors, the better you are at something, the worse you are at explaining it. These people were chosen for their expertise, but they're so good at it, they have a difficult time teaching it. The details are so second nature, so invisibly simple in their mind, they lack the instinct to know it needs to be elaborated.

I am the master of my story. I am brilliant at understanding it because it's mine. The ultimate expert. Which makes me bad at explaining it unfortunately. For the longest time I thought I was being subtle and clever with my exposition, turns out I was just cryptic. "Like dude, common, I made the character flinch! Obviously he's blah blah. How could you miss that sub-text! It's so simple."

I want to try and contort my mind, to put myself in the shoes of someone who's being exposed to this story for the first time. I'm just wondering how to do that.  





You and me both!!! This is an extremely difficult thing and why we rely on our readers to point us out of obscurity into the clear strip of proper storytelling.

Sandra




A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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Dustin
Posted: July 29th, 2017, 2:51am Report to Moderator
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Easy as a director he saying that we write for actors. If only that were true. We write for directors. Even when we write for ourselves they take our vision and turn it into their own. Perhaps that is why he became a director too... and now he's forgotten.

Not saying that all directors are bad. I'm lucky enough to be working with one of the best up and coming directors in the UK on a few projects and the man is a real artist. In fact, I think having a separate writer and director is quite essential. I groan when I see a writer/director. This often means the scenes will be too long and melodramatic. Writers need extra pairs of eyes. But there's no point doing that until the script is in the hands of people that are similarly qualified and are invested in the project. Opinions before that are often not worth heeding.
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JonnyBoy
Posted: July 29th, 2017, 5:33pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dustin
Easy as a director he saying that we write for actors. If only that were true. We write for directors. Even when we write for ourselves they take our vision and turn it into their own. Perhaps that is why he became a director too... and now he's forgotten.

Not saying that all directors are bad. I'm lucky enough to be working with one of the best up and coming directors in the UK on a few projects and the man is a real artist. In fact, I think having a separate writer and director is quite essential. I groan when I see a writer/director. This often means the scenes will be too long and melodramatic. Writers need extra pairs of eyes. But there's no point doing that until the script is in the hands of people that are similarly qualified and are invested in the project. Opinions before that are often not worth heeding.


I definitely think that collaboration is a massively important thing - a multiplicity of brains and inputs can lead to much stronger work, if they're gelling together properly. But I'm not sure that it's true that a writer/director project necessarily guarantees a worse film - here's twenty varied examples of films, all since 2014, where the same person wrote and directed, and I thought they all turned out great:

Baby Driver, Edgar Wright
Boyhood, Richard Linklater
Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen
Chef, Jon Favreau (also starred)
Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan
Ex Machina, Alex Garland
Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson
Her, Spike Jonze
Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Taika Waititi
La La Land, Damien Chazelle
Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan
Midnight Special, Jeff Nichols
Moonlight, Barry Jenkins
A Most Violent Year, J. C. Chandor
Nightcrawler, Dan Gilroy
Nocturnal Animals, Tom Ford
Spy, Paul Feig
Tallulah, Sian Heder
Whiplash, Damien Chazelle

(By the way, it's not lost on me that all but one of those are by men. Don't know whether that says more about me or the powers that be who decide who gets to make their films - possibly both?)

Now granted that's all personal taste - you may not rate some or indeed all of those films (from what I've read from you on the boards, I'd put good money on you not being a fan of La La Land!) - but solely speaking for myself, I respect when I see someone trying to follow a singular vision.

As long as it's well-realised, of course, and there are intrinsic dangers in that lack of scrutiny; I personally think Neill Blomkamp is squandering his early promise, the Wachowskis gave us Jupiter Ascending which is basically an abuse of power, and Tarantino's become a bit self-indulgent as his career has gone on - his films are too long, baggy and kind of self-satisfied of late, and have been for a while. But then they continue do well, so why would he change his approach?

This is possibly drifting off-topic. But hopefully the OP is getting something out of this - maybe that by also being directors, those writers manage to have an external perspective on their stories as they know they'll have to actually get the shots and construct their meaning for the audience?


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Ares
Posted: August 7th, 2017, 12:13am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from TheReccher
Something that's become startlingly clear about human psychology, having been through university, and having suffered through horrible professors, the better you are at something, the worse you are at explaining it. These people were chosen for their expertise, but they're so good at it, they have a difficult time teaching it. The details are so second nature, so invisibly simple in their mind, they lack the instinct to know it needs to be elaborated.

I am the master of my story. I am brilliant at understanding it because it's mine. The ultimate expert. Which makes me bad at explaining it unfortunately. For the longest time I thought I was being subtle and clever with my exposition, turns out I was just cryptic. "Like dude, common, I made the character flinch! Obviously he's blah blah. How could you miss that sub-text! It's so simple."

I want to try and contort my mind, to put myself in the shoes of someone who's being exposed to this story for the first time. I'm just wondering how to do that.  


So, you are worried that there might be flaws in your story? Maybe you worry that if it gets produced YouTube channels like CinemaSins will pick it up and point out all the mistakes and "mistakes" in it?
Don't worry. The important thing is that you have written a script. If you were inquisitive about every little detail, if you were like me ( ) you would not have written that script. Don't want to be like me. All movies have their flaws, some more than others. And if some YouTube critics pick them up, then it might work positive for the movie. Flaws do not deny success.

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