Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Doing the LEAST amount

Writing is hard.  Sorry to disillusion anyone, especially those who make script gurus like Syd Field et al rich, buying their books.  It's easy to explain what goes into a good screenplay.  It's hard to write one.

But it's not going to get easier, if all you do is the least amount possible.  Fulfilling one of the script guru's structural plans for a good script, doesn't mean you've written a good script.

I see this in my screenwriting courses.  Most of the students I've taught initially believe that all they need to do is write the least amount possible and they've done the job.

For example, one of the first assignments I give beginning students is to read one of my favourite Star Trek: TNG episodes, ("Darmok") and deconstruct it into beginning, middle and end.  The assignment calls for students to use no more than 3 sentences for each part and to encompass all pertinent story points.

This is harder than it looks.

But students tend to think it's an easy task and usually turn in something that looks like it took them as long to write it as it would to type it.

If you DO the least amount possible to get through whatever you're trying to learn, I suspect you also LEARN the least amount possible.
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