Friday, March 13, 2009

The genius of bad writing

From Billy Mernit's must-read blog, Living The Romantic Comedy, a must-read post on why 'bad' screenwriting is the best way to sell scripts.
Good screenwriting is supposed to appeal to a reader's intelligence. Be clear, be precise, and they'll get what you intend in a given scene. Your prose should be as spare and smart as a Raymond Carver story.

But as a writer who's been a story analyst and script consultant in the studio system, and thus has read something like 6,893 screenplays over the past 17 years, most of them agented, many of them since sold and developed, I say:

He continues:
The Big Boys and most of the less heralded writers who get their movies made observe a less well-known rule of the screenwriting trade: The fundamental job of a selling screenplay is to get the reader to empathize with its protagonist.
And that, Mernit argues (with examples to support his case), typically involves screenwriting techniques that so-called experts teach students to reject.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder how many others see screenwriting as a separate occupation from story writing. Much of my own work as a screenwriter was to take someone elses work and put it in a presentably form as a film-ready script. Different from a script editor where one tries to sort out what the writer wants to say, and again different from a story writer where one writes for love or the market.


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