I recently had the great pleasure of meeting screenwriter and script consultant Michael Adams. His advice to screenwriters is a true testament of learning the craft to the point of a blood transfusion.
Books such as Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat, Robert McKee’s Story, John Truby’s Anatomy of Story, are great books for story structure, scene development, story arc and format. However, if you want to learn about developing characters, character motivation, underlying motivation, then books like The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler, An Actor Prepares by Konstantin Stanislavsky, Directing Actors by Judith Weston are essential. Without believable characters, the story falls flat.
Binding deep story structure to truthfully motivated character transformation is crucial to success.
Michael brings up the 10,000 hour rule. If you dedicate those hours to writing, you will become good at it. If you want to truly be great, you must dig deeper and learn every facet available.
Working on movie sets, seeing how a script unfolds, how actors deliver lines, how directors set up a scene to best convey story are all very useful in becoming a screenwriter. Taking acting classes are helpful for building characters and understanding moment-to-moment and underlying character motivation.
When writing, the protagonist should have the biggest transformational character arc. In television, both heroes and antiheroes rule. The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy are prime examples. Today’s audience is much better at spotting good character development and feels less fulfilled when it’s lacking.
To be continued…