Telling a Story

My excursion into trying to write a film script has proved to be a real challenge in more ways than one. In a book one can build a character slowly, bring the person to life, with a background, future, quirks - all the human foibles. In a movie you have to launch them in, full on, larger than life and almost egoistic. There's no room for a build up, no room for frills, all of that has to be 'painted in' in the way the character is played, ultimately, by an actor or actress.

This carries thrugh all the characters, and here you run into another limitation. You have to make the story work with an absolute minimum of them. The dialogue can be carried by no more than three 'main' characters and they can be supported by no more than ten 'others' - some of whom you shouldn't even give names to. In fact, ideally, the 'supporting' characters end up almost as cardboard cutouts, two dimensional, walk-on, lead the 'main character' into his next speech, smile sweetly, drop dead, or exit appropriately. Since I started this project I've pulled out a lot of my DVDs and even some VHS tapes and watched carefully, note book in hand, to see how some of the big movies tell the story. It's been interesting, and somewhat daunting as my story is still to complex to be carried by only three 'main' characters.

Oh well, I shall have to do another revision and see how that works. Back to work ... 

Leave a comment

Add comment