Typical Problems

In looking for logic in your script writing, you will often find yourself being pulled in different directions by the variety of possibilities. The most common problem is trying to decide whether to proceed chronologically, intellectually, or spatially. What is all this about in practice? Let's consider a chronological progression versus an intellectual progression.

You are doing a film about World War II and want to bring in the subject of civilian resistance. Your general story has taken you to 1942. You then find several stories you want to use about resistance—one in 1942, one in 1944, and one in 1945. In terms of ideas, you probably want to tell all the stories in one sequence to prove a certain point about resistance. But that will carry you to 1945, whereas the main part of your film will have only reached 1942. So you have a problem.

In the same film, you are showing the D-day invasion of June 1944. Your idea line suddenly pulls you into a discussion of other successful and less successful attacks in the war, such as the Dieppe raid and the Italian invasion. Do you branch out and show those incidents, or do you stay with the scenes on the Normandy beaches?

There are no easy answers, but it helps to ask yourself a few questions: Will what you are doing confuse the viewer? Will it aid or spoil the dramatic and emotional telling of the story? Will it affect the overall rhythm of the film? In nine cases out of ten, you'll find it best to keep within a chronological progression and to stay with one physical location until the information about it is exhausted. There are exceptions, but these guidelines seem to be the most helpful in practice.

Another problem in writing the first draft film is to overload it with too many sequences. There is suddenly so much to say, and you want to put every thing in. I would suggest you resist this impulse and really question the place and worth of everything you insert. I know there will be second drafts, and I know you can eliminate sequences in editing, but it is worthwhile to try to get everything right the first time around. Overloading is, in fact, the second problem of Tongues Untied. It simply tries to do too much, with the overloading eventually reducing the power of the rest of the film. The rule here, then, is that less can be more.

Film Making

Film Making

If you have ever wanted the secrets to making your own film, here it is: Indy Film Insider Tips And Basics To Film Making. Have you ever wanted to make your own film? Is there a story you want to tell? You might even think that this is impossible. Studios make films, not the little guy. This is probably what you tell yourself. Do you watch films with more than a casual eye? You probably want to know how they were able to get perfect lighting in your favorite scene, or how to write a professional screenplay.

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