Archive for July 18th, 2013

July 18, 2013

Writing A Script with Good DNA

John August has a great article on his website about the idea of writing a script from theme. Some screenwriters like to start from a theme and then develop a story around it, but in a response to a reader question, John questions whether “theme” is actually an essential component of script writing at all:

“Theme” is a word screenwriters use without defining it clearly, so yes, it’s bound to be frustrating. But I’m not sure we should be using it at all.

In high school, we were taught that a theme is usually about opposing forces, e.g. “man vs. nature” or “the struggle for independence.” I don’t know that this kind of analysis is all that useful when you’re talking about a screenplay, however. It’s helpful for writing an essay about a movie, not for writing the movie itself.

I suspect what your pro-theme writer friends were talking about was some essence that permeates every moment of a good film. Something that’s in its DNA. You feel it when it’s there, and notice it when it’s missing — even when the script otherwise seems solid.

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July 18, 2013

Quote of the Day: Michael Arndt

Working at Pixar has been like my graduate school for screenwriting.