Saturday, April 12, 2008

Something for the weekend?

I thought this was an apt title as a) it's the weekend and b) the last two posts have covered female ejaculation, cunts and arseholes. Clearly there is a recurring theme going on.

I'm writing a script just now, and one of the characters says there are only 2 motives for any crime. Sex or money.

Okay not very original as lines go, but hey. I think it's a truism and writers deal in truisims. As any Freudian analyist will tell you, boil any action down to it's true motive and sex will be behind it somewhere. I don't agree btw, tonight I tipped a waiter 20% because the service was great. I got what I wanted, when I wanted it, efficiently and pleasantly. oh.......wait a minute..... lol

That doesn't make me gay. [not that there's anything wrong with that. ahhh Seinfeld] And I was with my son so not trying to impress a bird.

But as a writer, the Freudian approach is a useful tool when approaching character motivation. It adds another layer to your view of why a character chooses a course of action, be that over a script or a single scene and helps humanise them in your mind rather than making them simply plot enablers.

A character has to have a self-perception of who they really are if they are to work on paper and on screen. That's what a real character biography is. Not what colour of socks they wear. Where they eat or what Cd's they buy. Those are just examples of how they'd like the world to perceive them. What really makes them tick is their attitude towards sex and money. Get to the bottom of that and you have a very real character.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

First time poster English. A Yank so don't get some of the references. Blog is aces. We don't get much like it over here. But I think you're a fuckin' genius.

Anonymous said...

First time poster English. A Yank so don't get some of the references. Blog is aces. We don't get much like it over here. But I think you're a fuckin' genius.

Eleanor said...

I'd add "attitude to death" to the list as well. Just because. ;)

Jaded and Cynical said...

If it's the weekend, it must be time for Doctor Who.

Squeee, I creamed my pants!

Not really.

Did you see DW Confidential?

It's always revealing. Apparently, when they staged the eruption of Vesuvius, in order to convey an authentic sense of panic, they gathered all the extras together and placed them between Catherine Tate and a Ginster's Pasty.

They interviewed everyone for the behind-the-scenes stuff, including the guys who drove the lorries over from Wales ('Yeah, we got held up in customs') and David Tennant's Italian tour guide (The redhead, she is the monster, no?').

The only person they wouldn't give even five seconds to was - surprise, surprise - the writer (James Moran, who did a typically good job).

And that's pretty much where the writer stands in British television. His status is slightly below that of anyone qualified to drive a heavy goods vehicle.

Seriously, why the fuck would anyone even try to be a screenwriter in this country?

English Dave said...

anon - cheers. Plaudits are always welcome.

Eleanor - yep. Good one. Sex, money and death. The 3 horsemen of the apothecary.... or something.

jaded - I thought I read on his blog that he was interviewed for DW Confidential? Maybe they cut it.

It is true that writers rarely get the attention or public recognition they deserve. But you know what? I'm pretty happy about that. If people ever started blowing smoke up my ass and asking for autographs and the like, pretty soon I'd become a total wanker, I just know it. The drip feed of hype would eventually get to me and I'd lose the FEAR! From that point I'd be dead as a writer.

I'd rather keep my anonymity and healthy cynicism.

I have a few notions about the reasons why the industry likes to keep writers away from the audience which I might post on later when they solidify a little.

Lucy said...

They did interview James but it's on the DW website instead. It's quite in-depth; if it weren't for the tinternet I think writers would get no cred at all.

But it's true, no one notices who writes what - not even writers! C'mon, admit it. For every time you say "Ooooh I'll watch that film or TV episode because so-and-so has written it", I'll bet you three million actual squid (no tentacles) that there's another 20 times you've said "Oooooh I'll watch that film or TV episode because so and so is STARRING in it" perhaps closely followed by "...because so and so has DIRECTED it". Writers are bottom of the pile, every time.

when I was at a lit agent when I was about 21, one of my first jobs was to pick up an American writer from the station and bring him back to the office as apparently he was prone to getting lost. I was quite star struck by this since I'd seen his work and liked it; he was my FIRST REAL WRITER. I tell him this and he asked me if I wanted to be one too. I said yes and he said, "If I give you £20 would you change your mind?" I said no: I was way up for it. So he said: "In that case, remember this: as a writer you are worth less than the catering guys, they notice when they don't turn up on set. And they make fucking tea."

Your long lost cousin Eng Dave?? ; )

Jaded and Cynical said...

ED, Bill Martell had an interesting piece recently about how some demonstrably bad writers in Hollywood keep getting work purely because they manage their PR well.

Makes you wonder whether mediocre but visible is a better career option than talented but off the radar.

English Dave said...

Lucy - to be fair, it is often the best directors and actors who work with the best writers - so when I go to see a movie it's kinda the whole package - though obviously the writer's involvement is usualy implied more than overt lol

Jaded - yep I read that. personally I think the greater reason the same writers get used has more to do with money than PR. The money men are risk adverse, and will tend to use a writer who actually has something made rather than new talent.
It's the same reason you see many of the same writers get their own series time and time again. Proven quantities, even if the ratings ain't that great or the show isn't that unique or original.