Allowing the story to talk.

This has been a good week to check some famous screenwriting blogs. I’d strongly recommend for you to check Carson Reeves’ article on the SOUL of a screenplay. You know, that thing that makes it truly tick. Other place to go would be Scott Myers new article series, Spirit of the Spec, in which he daily goes through the creation process. Baby steps.

What we have been talking so far and what these two references also is that the beginning of a script is more creativity and less technique. A good story begins in the guts.

We’ve been talking about ideas and how to pick the best one and i can only hope that you’ve made the right choice, because now it’s the time to let it grow on it. An idea is an opportunity, a risky chance, you don’t know what it is going to be, but you know that the shape it gains is your responsibility. You just became a father.

In the first post of this blog i said that the story picks its format. You can’t force it to become the short film that you want, sometimes it fits better someplace else, what if it would be a great ad campaign? A documentary? Perhaps even a feature film? Your concept is a grenade and your job now is to see where those shrapnels could go.

Honestly, there’s not much you can do right now other than let it loose. Seriously, let your idea talk to you, it surely has a lot to say.

If you want to know if your idea belongs to the narrative film niche, you must look for a few elements: a LIFE CHANGING EVENT, an OBSTACLE, a GOAL. If you’re having difficulties find those three elements, perhaps answering to these little questions will help you out:

Why now?
What’s next?
What for?

Those are the first steps to develop a narrative structure, still, short films are like a cheap western, they can be literally anything and these questions solely apply to concepts on classical film storytelling, however, some short mockumentaries might skip that class, nevertheless, they’re fiction. No better example than Alive in Joburg, short film by Neill Blomkamp, which originated the feature film District 9.

Alive in Joburg is an exposition of the What if? It’s just an overall view, but a really good one. You can’t evaluate it as a plot, because there’s none. Here we’re going to work on narrative short films most of the time, but if your idea doesn’t fit in that box, don’t panic, if it is any good there’s a place for it in another format. To help out these lost causes, we’re going to talk about the types of short film in the next article.


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