Effective Screenwriting

Corey Mandell speaks on how professional writers broach rewriting.

The key problem with many early drafts is that readers often perceive a different story to what the writer intended. This often results from writers making too many assumptions about what the reader should know about the main character, their backstory and motivation. They have also not sufficiently communicated what is in their imagination.

This ultimately relates to writers not providing an EFFECTIVE CONTEXT. The basic building blocks of stories are the setup, story building to a climax and the payoff/ conclusion.  The audience must understand the who, what and why of the characters to appreciate a story. If this isn’t set up adequately, they will ultimately find the story unengaging and become bored.

The audience must understand what is going on and why? They must also care about what’s going on. This achieved through COMPELLING CONFLICT. One way to achieve this is by forcing the characters to make decisions under pressure. Conflict also requires an authenticity of emotional experience so the audience can relate to the story.

Ask yourself what would the character do at any given point in the story? What story elements are interesting and engaging? What best serves the story- escalation of conflict, theme etc.

Understanding the different modes of storytelling also help create a cohesive story. Are you a logic-based conceptual writer interested in big ideas or an emotive-based intuitive writer interested in character, theme and dialogue at the expense of plot? These are powerful cognition systems linked to the left and right hemispheres of the brain respectively. Writers can only be in one mode at a time. Know which mode you are most in and learn to exercise the other one to become a better writer.


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