monday,the book of Ben, chapter 1 verse 1

Today was our first lecture on screenwriting.

Ben took us through a few main pointers of what screenwriting is.
Then he mentioned how in our parents/grandparents day before the internet the viewer was a "passive recipient" in a "read only" world
Now it is a "commercial + sharing" world where people are the audience but they are also the creator.
We have a "read/write" culture

The purpose of telling us this was to remind us that anyone can produce anything these days, so a good story and a strong script is what is going to make you stand out.

Other pointers:

  • Keep it simple
  • Embrace criticism (my favourite - many tears over Art A-level taught me that)
  • Develop a thick skin
  • Outline
  • Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite
  • Your goal is always to tell a fantastic story

Then, to give us an idea of good short filmmaking, Ben showed us this.

Electronic Labyrinth - written and directed by George Lucas

When it finished, Ben stated that you could hit the mute button on the film and still understand the story.

Well, I don't know about you, but I spent the entire 15 minutes straining my ears, eyes, nose and brain to sniff out what I was sure was a plot lurking about there, in the murky depths of this little masterpiece

I saw a man running down endless corridors. I saw some other men watching him. I saw lots of computers.

Who the man was, where he was, what he was running from and who the men watching the video screens were completely escaped me.

After about 10 minutes in, I had already decided that this film was made by some intellectual superior being for other higher beings who were able to glean information from it that, try as she might, a lowly one such as myself could never comprehend.

If I were wrong of course, it would mean that George Lucas is in fact a mere man, and that his beginnings were as dubious as other student films. No character development. No hook (Black screen for the entire first minute is very risky) Unclear plot. Great filming. Clever technical usage considering the equipment and era it was made in. Great premise.

After having read a synopsis, I am informed that the man was running away from a community, is tracked by men using computers and cameras and is pronounced dead at the end of the film.

I can't help but feel that if this was the story of one man's escape it could have been made much tighter and much clearer.

Banish the thought.

I think I must return to my first theory that George Lucas wrote a plot that was so far above any level of storytelling ever seen to man before, that my tiny little mind just could not cope with it.