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  1. #21
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    And while I'm not seeking to be the reigning authority on anything here or anywhere else I do think I may very well have a better understanding of what is helpful to other writers because I not only have my own experiences as a professional screenwriter - now with more than a 1/2 dozen paid assignments under my belt, but I've also worked with hundreds of other writers as a writing coach, script consultant and development executive. I've worked with complete novices as well as successful professionals. I don't give information based solely on my experiences as a writer, but what I've seen from working with all these other writers.
    Hmmm.... your believe that you "may very well have a better understanding (than us) of what is helpful to other writers" is quite the arrogant assumption, considering you know absolutely nothing about my own long career working in film. Unless I'm mistaken, I don't believe you've seen leslee's resume either.
    Last edited by Liza B.; 02-25-2012 at 09:02 AM.



  2. #22
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    I think those who have talent will intuitively learn what they need to about structure and storytelling by reading
    ...which also applies to writing fiction.

  3. #23
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    I think those who have talent will intuitively learn what they need to about structure and storytelling by reading
    I disagree. Some might, others might not.

  4. #24
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    @Liza

    Well since you have stated unequivocally that

    those who have talent will intuitively learn what they need to about structure and storytelling by reading screenplays and watching films, and others need Robert McKee-type workshops that teach traditional, dull, color-by-numbers structuring. Not for me, and I believe such workshops/seminars can be dangerous because they stifle creativity.

    and those statements fly in the face of what I've witnessed working with literally hundreds of writers, then, yes I'm going to stick with the belief that I may very well - no let's change that to most certainly - have a better understanding of what's helpful to other writers than you do. And I've had enough verbal feedback from enough writers regarding their understanding of the craft that I am positive that many writers (perhaps even the majority) learn more from learning about the craft than from just reading scripts in a craft knowledge vacuum. And if that makes me arrogant, so be it. Because time and time again I've actually seen writers improve once they've been taught structure and the other elements of the craft.

    Perhaps the reason you believe that those who have talent will intuitively learn what they need to know about structure by reading - is because you never took the time to teach writers about structure and enable them to access their innate talent. Which is not surprising since you see structure as some some rote, creativity sapping box, rather than the foundational support on which to build and develop a rich, compelling, original story.

  5. #25
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    Which is not surprising since you see structure as some some rote, creativity sapping box, rather than the foundational support on which to build and develop a rich, compelling, original story.
    Once again, Simon, you are making a false assumption.

    What you call "foundational support" is actually a hackneyed, color-by-numbers script building formula that the majority of screenwriting workshops and seminars teach. Newbies can even buy screenwriting software that will follow those same guidelines and practically write the script for them. But what they really do is sap originality and true creativity. You may think the writer is free to be creative within such a predetermined structure, but that's like saying they can pick whichever crayons they like to color within the lines.

    It's because I value structure so highly that I'm against such processed, derivative, unoriginal approaches to writing. And it's why so many of the most successful directors and screenwriters were kicked-out of or flunked film school; they were against cliche formulas, too, and recognized that such formulas are stifling, and actually diminishes the art of film. They were brave enough to forge ahead and find their true voices.

    Reading scripts and watching films was enough for them.
    Last edited by Liza B.; 02-25-2012 at 10:38 AM.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayce View Post
    I disagree. Some might, others might not.
    Obviously it doesn't apply to everyone. But it applies to quite a few.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Says View Post
    @Liza

    ....and those statements fly in the face of what I've witnessed working with literally hundreds of writers, then, yes I'm going to stick with the belief that I may very well - no let's change that to most certainly - have a better understanding of what's helpful to other writers than you do.
    You go ahead and believe that, Simon, if it feeds your ego. But it makes you sound insecure and amateurish.

    I've sold and optioned a few screenplays.... two scripts by an Academy Award nominated director, and another to a producer who actually won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, so I think my credentials are okay. I've worked with many talented writers, and haven't met one who needed workshops or seminars to achieve career success as a screenwriter.

    And you know what they say about those who teach.....
    Last edited by Liza B.; 02-25-2012 at 10:35 AM.

  8. #28
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    Jena!... My post wasn't directed at your comment but at Liza's. In fact, I agree with you, that this debate applies as much to narrative fiction as it does to screenwriting (when you exclude the rigors of screenplay formatting, which hands down is more readily learned in a structured setting than by osmosis).
    Last edited by jayce; 02-25-2012 at 10:48 AM.

  9. #29
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    i honestly could never do a screenplay. I'll leave that to the experts. I'm fascinated by them, though. I enjoy reading screenplays as much as I enjoy reading novels.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jena Grace View Post
    Obviously it doesn't apply to everyone. But it applies to quite a few.
    Yes, I agree with you.

    The only successful writing "class" that I ever took was led by one of the most well-known and respected fiction writers of this century. In the first class, he told us to throw-out everything we've ever learned about writing. He "taught" us by reading excerpts from writers he admired, and giving writing exercises, which were later read in the class and commented on by this brilliant man. He also told us to think of Magritte's "This is not a pipe" painting, and change the title to "This is not a story" before starting to write to free-up our brains from past misinformation that most other writing courses teach. That exercise stopped us from being derivative, and helped us find our authentic voices, which automatically lent original structure and storytelling to our work.
    Last edited by Liza B.; 02-25-2012 at 11:23 AM.

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