Just came back from a week in Las Vegas. UNLV brings me out as an artist in residence from time to time. It’s great. I like the teachers, like the students, and like going out to eat. Who doesn’t? Didn’t visit the Double Down Saloon this trip. A flaw in my personality. Did check out the Cosmopolitan hotel. Wow.
What did I learn about writing that I can pass on to you? This.
Beware that it’s all in your head.
And not on the page.
That’s a killer.
I talked with several students about their scripts — scripts they were on the verge of shooting. First thing I asked them was, “Tell me your story.”
They would tell me their story. They were very good at it, too.
I’m sure, so are you.
But, the problem was, often, that story WASN’T ON THE PAGE. What they thought they were describing, wasn’t what had ended up on the page. This means the crew didn’t know what the movie was about and neither did the actors.
Just because you, the writer, know what your story is… doesn’t mean you have actually put that information on the page. I can’t tell you how often I see this happen. Makes me want to pull out the script I am working on and make sure that what I am assuming is actually on the page is actually what is on the page!
“It’s about this guy who…”
No it isn’t.
“Yes it is.”
Read it, dude.
SOUND OF READING
So, how the hell are you going to shoot your script and make a movie that resembles the movie in your head if the movie in your head STAYS IN YOUR HEAD? There’s no cable from your brain to mine, yet. You can’t beam the movie from your head to mine, yet. It has to be filmed first. And it has to have a script first. And that script has to actually say what you want.
Be aware that this is a problem. Check your script. Tell the story to a friend or two. Let one of them read it and see if the story you told matches the one on paper. Woe unto you if it does not.
Get it out of your head.
Get it on the page.
Now, excuse me while I go look at my script in progress!