Tuesday, January 17, 2006

On Notes From Fellow Students...

In our 434 class, we read each others work and then give notes on what we think is strong or weak with either the story, the script, the dialogue, or the characters. It is the students responsibility to take what they find valuable and discard what is not. I say responsibility because you have to leave your comfort area, that rest area inside of the brain that tells writers that everything they write is made of pure gold, and be willing to listen to criticisms and shock, BETTER ideas for your story/script.

Yesterday, I took all of the notes my fellow students (and Hal) gave me, and sat them on my coffee table. Then I went through them. Some stuff, I didn't agree with, but there was one thing that did strike a nerve. In MEN OF THEIR TIMES, Langston Hughes is 25 years old. One of my fellow students told me to remember that if he's that young, then he would be a bit more immature and irrational than the iconic Hughes that we know now. I had to keep that in mind as I wrote him, so that his actions wouldn't simply be Hughes as perfect debater to his opposite, the scientist Latimer. That was a EUREKA moment for my script, and it made me go back through the story to add logical flaws for a still developing Hughes. This will change the story to a certain degree, but that's good. It'll mean that the characters will be more well rounded around a more well rounded plot.

The other thing I'd worried about was the use of flashbacks in my script. This is a period piece, and it has to use them. However I want to be judicious with them. Too many flashbacks and you get a CBS movie of the week during Black History Month. So I'm going to have to get creative with using the present to explain the past.

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