11 July, 2007

Red Planet Prize Project - 3

Before we start, an inspirational quote from Paris Hilton:

“I think it's important for us to be confident. Believe in yourself and ... everybody's hot.”

Such wise words of wisdom. What a wonderful woman. Repeat after me:

"I believe in myself, I am hot."

Say it again, but mean it this time. Good.

OK, you should now have a pile of newspaper cuttings.

Firstly make sure all the cuttings are of news stories that interest you and ones chosen for other reasons haven't sneaked in.

Now look at those cuttings. Do they have anything in common? Can you recognise a theme? If the exercise is done right, the cuttings you've chosen will have in common one or two main themes. If we had all gone through exactly the same papers then we wouldn't all have chosen exactly the same stories. We all have different experiences, different world views and different things that interest us. We need to recognise that and be confident in writing in our own voice.

Even experienced writers who know all about the importance of writer's voice still attempt to copy other writers or write what they think the audience/script reader will want. It isn't a short cut to success as readers are looking for new voices not bad copies of old voices.

Have the confidence to write from the heart. That doesn't mean ignoring the basics of script writing but writing from a strong passion and a strong premise. The worst thing I've written isn't stuff I wrote as a juvenile but a feature script I wrote a couple of years ago.

The stuff I wrote early on might have been technically bad in terms of structure, characterisation, etc but it was stuff I felt passionate about and wanted to communicate. Two years ago I wrote a particular genre piece simply because that was what the market seemed to be buying. It was derivative and I was completely unenthusiastic about it. And it showed.

Our internal experience of the external world is what we communicate in our scripts and it's that unique perspective that networks/production companies want. To that end we have to be aware of ourselves and our feelings.

So here's some questions to think about for the next couple of days.

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What is your life like?
  • What do you feel about it?
  • What aspects annoy you or puzzle you?
  • Write down a list of ten of your personality traits.
  • What things do you want the most? What things do you try to avoid?

Keep the newspaper cuttings as you'll need them later.

Also try and tape one or two television dramas and look at them critically, especially the first ten minutes, and see how the story and characters are introduced. Can you work out the theme?

Links:

Danny: Original voice
English Dave: Confidence
Lucy: Writer's voice - one / Writer's voice - two / Writer's voice - three


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