Friday, 5 June 2009

Guttering: emotional impact and momentum


Steve posted recently about creating momentum in story by cutting scenes correctly, in late - out early, contrast the scenes to build conflict, and letting the audience fill in the blanks in order to heighten their investment in the story being told because they have become co-creators in the movie/story process.

I definitely agree with all of this. And it is difficult to build these things into the story you are telling - that's why writing is work. It has to be said that this kind of finessing is missing from the majority of scripts that are out there that I've read [mine included, embarrassingly].

Part of our writer's toolbox should be understanding the importance of creating the Off Screen Movie as this can lead to a far more involving movie-going experience for the audience. - - The link goes to Terry Rossio's description of his awakening to that realisation when watching Schindler's List. Follow the link and read it, you'll be glad you did!

I had a similar revelation myself when reading *Black Orchid where the blood in the gutters totally blew my mind. It was like my subconscious screaming at me - -
...story can happen off-screen in a very powerful, emotionally involving way, if you hint at it correctly.

It completely changed the way I look at telling stories, and reinforced exactly how important it is to cut from scene to scene in the right places and how we should hint at our off-screen story in a way that allows it to be a living entity in the background of the unfolding tale. The landscape, if you will.

In short, I believe that in an ideal world the offscreen story should be part of the arena of the film as well as being an intimate part of the viewer's emotional experience of the story being told.

Screenwriter bollocks? Maybe. But IMO that doesn't make it any less true, or any less important to the process of crafting a very satisfying, emotionally moving tale.

... Now all I have to do is work out exactly how to do that....

Steve says that it's all a matter of planning. I think he's right. Annoyingly.


Adaddinsane said...

You told it better than me :-)

Eleanor said...

Are you nuts?
I come off like a pompous ass. *rolls eyes*
Where as your post which I shamelessly stole from, is much friendlier ... and reminded me that I had been wanting post about this for ages and ages.
But I forgot, due to day job taking over my brain last year...and Piers having Igor nick it.
Go read Steve's post you wayward comment readers, if you haven't followed the link already.
He's doing a fantastic series of posts on writing.

Adaddinsane said...

The cheque's in the post.

Eleanor said...



Hang on a mo. I've heard that before. *tempers enthusiasm*