Friday, March 19, 2010

To structure or not to structure...

I've been wondering recently about script structure. When does it become too formulaic? Sometimes you watch a movie and you can literally see the wheels turning. It's predictable and boring. Other times, a film is so random and disorganised that you find yourself longing for a bit of structure, just so you know what the hell's going on!

So is structure a necessary evil or a useful tool? I think it's the latter and here's why. If you look at a Picasso painting from his middle period and then one from his early years, you can see that this was a guy who understood the fundamentals of painting. He was able to paint like an Old Master before he started doing his radical modernist stuff. He started with the basics, then started tearing them apart. You have to know the rules before you can break them.

So I think if you're like me and only six or seven scripts in, it's way too early to start going all Memento and throwing normal structure out the window. Learn to master the blueprint for your thriller, horror or comedy and THEN head down the path of Charlie Kaufman. Otherwise your audience will leave the theatre scratching their heads and going, "What the hell was that?"

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