Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Today's Class...

Today, we had our class with Hal. The assignment had been to write short story based on one regret we'd had in our life. It could be funny, serious, or anything in between. It didn't have to be true, but interesting. So I wrote my piece and as soon as I started reading it, I knew I'd made a mistake.

Hal called it scaffolding and I call it fluff. My piece had too much descriptive fluff used to intro elemets of the story. I made the mistake of writing this piece as though I was in the MFA program for creative writing versus screenwriting. My words needed to move the story forward in a spare manner, with sights and sounds described as it moved forward, rather than paragraphs of words that kept the story stuck in one place.

If I had to set up my own screenwriting rule, it would be called the Tuco rule. In my favorite movie, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, Tuco (the Ugly) shoots a man in the right arm in the opening scene. About an hour later, the one armed man confronts Tuco with a gun in his left arm. Tuco appears to be helpless, as he's soaking in a bath. The one arm man gives a long soliloquy about how he'd been tracking Tuco down. Tuco says nothing. Finally, before the one armed man can shoot him, Tuco blasts him with a gun he's hidden underneath the soap bubbles. As Tuco looks down at the dead would be killer, he says simply.

"When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk."

And that is the same with screenwriting. Screw the long descriptions and move the story forward.

Now I'm rewriting it so that it follows my Tuco rule.


David said...

Hey, I really like that. Good movie, too.

So I suppose this assignment is what I can look forward to tomorrow (Tuesday)? How did your reading of your "Times I Broke the Rules" thing go?

Lawrence said...

It went well, but I want to re-write it. It's not necessary but I want to take Hal's comments and see if I can apply them to a re-write. Might as well get used to re-writing since this program is about that anyway.

Bullet Proof Diva said...

wow.. interesting analogy..I love how films can have little gems that can be applied to other aspects of life...and it takes a wise man to catch them and know WHERE to apply them. Good Luck Lawrence!

hope you are feeling less sore these days!

Lawrence said...

Thanks! I think this is why the MFA program is going to be fun for me. I want all of my stuff chopped up, over and over, so I can continue to see how good stuff looks and bad stuff looks. I figure that at the end, my work will be cleaner and clearer than when I began.