" In an era where an almost scientific focus on structure dominates the scripts for many of Hollywood’s biggest films, David Scarpa -- the scripter behind the giant new Keanu Reeves-starred remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still -- is refreshingly, even shockingly simple in his approach.
While so many screenwriters today are obsessed with systems and metrics for structure, Scarpa seems to think if you have a good story, structure is the last thing you need to worry about.
“If you’ve written the perfect little campfire tale, then it will work out,” says the Connecticut-raised and NYU-schooled scribe. “That’s why pitching can be so helpful. If you can verbally tell that campfire story and grab your audience, then you can tell it in a 120-page screenplay. You have to understand your story on that simple fundamental level, otherwise you will have trouble with the whole process.”
“It’s not a math equation,” he continues. “In a sense, the structure is implicit -- it arises naturally out of storytelling. Those early cavemen all the way up to Mark Twain never thought in terms of structure. The problem is writers now are trained to put the ‘structure’ first when they should let it come out of the story and characters they’re trying to explore. I think structure comes last.” "
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