MA Writing for Script & Screen: Reflective Blog Week 3

A fascinating week where the task was to expand a synopsis into a treatment and post it for feedback. The optional task was to watch God’s Pocket and comment on how the environment acts as an obstacle, or antagonist.

I am beginning to find some sort of structure with allocation of time. I spent the first four days working on my treatment, and then gave myself the next 3 days to read others work and give feedback (one of the course requirements). I then decided to not look at the emails for the next weeks readings, lectures and tasks until I have written the reflective blog post (this). I’m currently a bit behind. But I blame John Yorke.

Introduced to his book on screenwriting Into the Woods and given chapter 22 to read, I ordered the book and have been getting stuck in over my morning expresso, managing a few pages at the start of each day. Yorke advocates a 5 Act Structure. However, having spent the last few months trying to marry Michael Hague’s 3 Act structure to Chris Vogler’s The Hero’s Journey, without success, John Yorke has thrown another spanner into the works.

You can read my ramblings here:

The Midpoint and The Supreme Ordeal

Furthermore, I made the decision to avoid flashback in my short film, having read online that flashback in short films is a sign of the amateur.

4 reasons not to use flashbacks – Screenwriting Magazine

Making the decision has, as the article states, made me think about how to convey backstory in a creative way in the present, in the moment. I’m not ruling it out, but I’m enjoying racking my brains and assimilating the ideas of my peers into using interesting and creative ways to tell the story.

The task of reading a few pages from The Art of Screenplays – A Writers Guide – was most welcome. After Maras on Auteur Theory, reading Robin Mukherjee’s book was like eating tiramisu after anchovies. Brilliantly refreshing, written in a lively, casual style. Robin Mukherjee’s book is full of tips and examples of real life experiences from someone who has worked as a jobbing writer, cutting his teeth on British TV shows such as Casualty. The book is high up on my reading list.

Finally, a word about God’s Pocket directed by John Slattery, his feature film directorial debut. Slattery co-wrote the screenplay with Alex Metcalf, based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Pete Dexter. 

The only black character Lucien ‘Old Lucy’ Edwards – the catalyst for all the events that spiral out of control – was played by actor / producer Arthur French, who died this year – 24 July 2021, aged 89. He was best known for his stage work in New York.

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