Great job pitching on Monday, guys!
Jake, Caroline, Sarah, Enrico, Nick, Saku, David.
It’s hard to present your idea, defend its premise and be open to suggestions and advice without losing your creative center, your artistic “spine”, as it were. Yes, it’s hard. But writing is hard. It only gets easier insofar as diminished mental bruising and soreness after the first draft as you get better. But you still have to fight the same battles.
On that cheery note…
I mentioned the Traveling Angel structure. The story teacher John Truby coined the phrase and discusses it in his book The Anatomy of Story. What it means is that your central character is not the person who carries the theme on his shoulders. In fact, your central character doesn’t even have a character arc (something that every main character should have, right?). Well, in a traveling angel structure, the community the “angel” comes to is the true main character. The traveling angel drives the story, but it’s the community that goes through a transformation. So the first thing to do if you decide to use such a structure is to setup the community first and then introduce the traveling angel. Examples: Shane, Pale Rider, Dead Poets Society, One Flew Over the Cuckoos’ Nest, just to name a few.
I also suggested that you write a BIOGRAPHY OF YOUR MAIN CHARACTER. If you’re writing a love story or a buddy movie, you should write a bio for both of your lovers / buddies.
What should a character biography include? Anything you want. Go to town. Feel free. Childhood, adolescence, scars, wounds, the color of her eyes. Anything and everything. Make it as personal as you want. No need to post it anywhere or show it to anyone. It’s for you.
I like to do my character bio using the Interview Format. You simply write down the questions you want to ask your character and see how he or she answers them. Describe her behavior. Ask a personal question. Would she answer it? If not, ask the same question but in different way. You can do it in a screenplay format, if you wish. Or you can simply write a long essay about your main character. You’ll be living with her for a while, so you’d better get to know her.
At the beginning of next class I will give you a questionnaire regarding your main character. Having written a bio, you should have no problem answering the questions.
Your Assignment for Monday, February 10th.
1. If you haven’t read the chapters assigned for last week, read them now.
2. Read the screenplay for Collateral (Blackboard / Screenplays page). We’ll discuss it in class.
3. In light of our discussions in class, adjust your pitch to make it more effective.
4. The seven of you who have already pitched, see if you can modify your premise to make it more effective.
See you next week.