The Movie In Your Head

I see this a fair amount, and my advice goes against the grain of what you feel would be the way to proceed. So what else is new?

You’re there at your desk. On your yacht. Writing your screenplay. All is right with the world. The yacht’s paid for.

Speaking of yachts… At Cannes, eons ago… FRANCIS COPPOLA: My yacht’s bigger than your yacht. SIR LEW GRADE: Mine’s not rented.


Probably Paid For!!

Nice yacht. I saw it moored in Capri years ago, when Charles Revson owned it and it was called the Ultima II. So far, screenwriting has not enabled me to purchase it. Anyway.

The Movie In Your Head. You sit there and write, and play out the scene on the screen in your mind. You play, rewind, edit, and then replay… and then you write down what you see in your mind’s eye. A perfectly lovely way to write.

Except it lays snares for you.

You only need to tell us the stuff that we HAVE TO KNOW, not everything you see, everything you think you need to tell us so that we too will see the movie in your head. If it is not “Plot Crucial” then don’t tell us. If we will fail to get what’s going on if you don’t tell us, then by all means, share the knowledge. Otherwise, don’t bother.


Bob picks up two bags, tosses them in the recycle bins.


That’s fine. It works. It tells us what we need to know. You say it, and move on. It also tells us ONLY what we need to know. What you don’t need is the movie from the screen in your mind… here’s the first pass…


Bob picks up two bags from the back door and places them in the appropriate recycle bins.


You may care about getting the image right, but the reader doesn’t. The reader doesn’t have to know about the recycle bins. So don’t tell them. That’s what the old red pen is for!!!


1 Comment

Filed under Details, Rewriting, Screenwriting

One response to “The Movie In Your Head

  1. Scorsese says when he writes he writes everything that he sees in his mind — probably why he’s a better director than a writer ha

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