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Monday, February 14, 2005

Have you ever smelled the flowers?

David Howard:

One of the most important things I learned from Frank Daniel in the first hour (and throughout our years of working together) was that a story is about the experience you are creating for the audience. Like many beginning writers, I thought all I needed to do was figure out my characters and the world and the conflicts and then the story was done. I didn't realize that is only part of the process. The "telling" in storytelling is consciously striving to have an intended impact on the audience - to give them an exciting and meaningful experience through the lives of the characters. To create that experience we make thousands of decisions about what portion of the lives and world and conflicts we reveal when, in what order, for what impact. That's true storytelling.

I've taken what I've learned in two decades of film study, teaching and extensive professional writing and tried to make it accessible to anyone seriously interested in writing for film and television. I like to say that a lot of the books you find about screenwriting talk very nicely about "flowers." I don't talk much about flowers, I'm a gardener. I've got dirt under my fingernails and I know how much water and fertilizer to spread around. That's what I deal with in How to Build a Great Screenplay - working in the garden of your own imagination and intentions. The results are the flowers; the exhilarating dirty work is what the book is about.

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