Friday, March 23, 2007

Too Much Story / Too Little Story

It's funny. As I read more and more screenplays one thing has become clear.

Most people do not know how to communicate a story (in any medium, let alone screenwriting).

It is the one defining element that a professional writer can always manage to accomplish that hordes of amateurs can not. And most likely never will.

The majority of screenplays I have read have two problems.

1) Too much story
2) Too little story

It gets even stranger. Most bad scripts have both.
And it is for the SAME reasons that the script has both too little and too much story at the same time.

How can this be?

The key word of telling a story is FOCUS:

What is the story about?
Every scene (or damn near every scene) should relentlessly tell your story.

If your story is about... how the loss of his father effects poor little Johnny, then EVERY scene should reflect that.

  • Most pros do this without even thinking about it.
  • Most amateurs think they are doing this, but they aren't.
What I see in the majority of spec screenplays (I have read) is a writer who doesn't know how to expand on their central premise...

...So instead, they (at least the better ones) throw more plot at it in the hopes that it fixes the problem.

The result is a screenplay that has too few scenes that address the central premise (too little story). But they also have extra material that "fits" logically into the narrative, but has nothing to do with the central premise (too much story).

In both cases, too little and too much story, is a result of the exact same thing: a screenwriter that doesn't know how to tell a story.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Premiere is Here

Don't miss FX's THE RICHES, tonight at 10 PM.

Tonight's version is a 50+ minute cut of the series premiere. That means less commercials, more story. It also means, it will most likely never be aired in its full duration again.

Here's a little behind the scenes vid that's recently been put out.

See it as it was meant to be seen. Tonight at 10 PM.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Life is Rich

Cat's out of the bag. I am a writing intern for FX's new show THE RICHES.

It airs March 12th, at 10PM on FX. Check it out.

There is a movie length trailer floating around that does a great job of capturing the tone of the show. I'll see if I can find it online.

I've had such an enlightening time watching this show come together. The concept is a breath of fresh air. From the scripts I've been reading, to seeing the content onstage, I think people are going to be pleased.

But who knows?

Television is a harsh mistress.