Film Production

16 Steps for Planning and Writing Your Script: Step 8

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Step 8: Adding Layers of Meaning

Hi, my name is J.O. Booker and I am the producer, screenwriter, location scout, storyboarder, director, and editor (whew!) of the upcoming short film (my first ) called L.O.V.E.: A Four Letter Word.  I hope that this blog is helping you to write your novel, novella, or movie script.

Let’s recap:

In my previous blog, I asked you to create 1 folder in which you were to incorporate the following documents:

  • CHARACTER PROFILE (1 for each character in your story)



  • PLOT



I’m going to begin this lesson by asking you to take a good look at the idea or summary that you have in your project folder.  How would that idea look if viewed another way, from a whole different perspective?  

I will offer an example using one of my favorite movies, Amores Perros, from one of my favorite directors, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

Hypothetically, using the “what if” train of creative thinking, he may have been on the giving or receiving end of an abusive relationship and wanted  to share his insight with others.  So, he probably brainstormed over what would be the most creative way to characterize an abusive relationship and came up with the idea of fighting dogs!

The fighting dogs and their abusive owners became a mirror of the abusive human on human relationships throughout the film.  

If the director had not found a 2nd idea to complement his main idea, Amores Perros would have came across as dull and prosaic.  The dog-fighting part of the movie clarified the interactions between the humans. 

This is what I want you to do as you look over your idea — I want you to imagine another way in which it can be described. 

Thinking along these lines will make your idea more interesting and people will relate to it regardless of  their class, race, or culture.

The trick is in finding out how to make your small story bigger than the people in it.  That even if your story is about so and so, there is also something in the story that is connected to all of us.  Great films, great novels do this.  And you can too!

So, as you continue journaling and refining your idea, I want you to really delve into your idea head-first, create layers for it, look at it from different perspectives–sociological, psychological, philosophical, metaphorical, etc–and write down what you come up with.  Continue populating the documents you named in your project folder with as much information as you can.

Remember to make notes of anything you need to research in your “Research” folder, which we will deal with in more detail in the coming weeks.

Keep writing, and I’ll see you next time!

For More information onAlejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, be sure to check out:

Oscars: Leonardo DiCaprio and Alejandro González Iñárritu – Full Backstage Interview

Interview – Alejandro González Iñárritu (AMORES PERROS, 2000)


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