The Camera Will Not Let You Fake Honesty

For most people, you cannot script honesty. Actors get paid the big bucks to bring someone else’s words to life. Most people can’t do that. Most people stale up when forced to read a script. If you mean to be honest with your audience, words must come from the heart and without censorship. If you cannot deliver a genuine message from a page, throw the page away. Skip the expensive production value if you need to. Keep it simple: one shot, one take. Nothing between you and absolute truth.

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End With a Question [Film Friday]

They call it a cliffhanger. End every scene and episode with a question. “What will happen next?” The stronger the question, the more likely you’ll grip your audience and inspire them back for more. “Will she say something?” “Will he find out?” “Will they make it out alive?”

I find it a useful writing exercise to note the question at the end of every scene. With the dramatic tension clearly identified, you can revise your characters and action within the scene to serve the question as dramatically as possible.

On the next Film Friday post, I have big news to announce. What will it be? Tune in next week to find out! How’s that for a cliffhanger?

How to Tell a Great Story

Character first, plot second. People do not connect with events; they connect with real human beings. Make sure you know your story’s character first before putting him or her through the ropes. Where does he come from? What does she fear? Who does he idealize? Why does she dress a certain way? When does he prefer to go to bed? How does she tie her shoes?

Take some time and ask a lot questions. Pretend like you are dating him or her. Learn everything you want to know about the person. Know him or her so well that you’d accurately guess how he or she would react to random situations. Before long, your character will tell the story for you.