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Your Screenplay - I Will Believe Anything Once

December 08, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 101

Movies are about the suspension of belief.

The audience enters into a willing contract with the storyteller. This contract states that they will believe absolutely anything that you tell them, once. I repeat ONCE.

Do not go beyond that unless you are writing a comedy. Comedy is the art of the ridiculous. All else requires that the once rule be put into place. Test this rule out on almost any and all bad movies that you have seen.

Why don't you like the movie Insidious up until the last third of the movie. They broke the one thing rule. Yes they did hint at what was to come, but it was too much all at once and it took the movie in a completely different direction. You had a really solid and creepy horror film going and the whole astro projection thing was a bit too much much too late in the movie.

Let us look at the anything once rule in full affect.

I see dead people, The Sixth Sense. You are told that and the movie never looks away or turns away from that premise.

The devil is in this elevator with us, The Devil. Simple and easy to follow. Well done little movie.

My child is possessed by a demon and needs an Exorcism, The Exorcist. Greatest horror film ever made and yes there is a bit more to the story than that, but the basic concept is followed through without blinking or looking away.

Killer shark has selected an island community as its feeding territory, Jaws. The big shark is not genetically engineered. It is not from outer space. It was not bullied in school. It is just a big bad eating machine and it likes the taste of people.

Keep it simple.

If your story is a spy thriller or a mystery you are allowed and encouraged to make it complicated. Those are puzzles and are meant to be studied and reworked by the viewer. While if you are doing an action or horror, or suspense or drama story I am telling you that simple and straight forward without grand twist are the best way to go.

Imagine that your script is an arrow that you have just shot from a bow. Do you want this arrow to fly straight and true toward its target or do you want it to twist and turn and do loops like in a Looney tunes cartoon?

Anything once will be believed, trust me on this.

Any one thing. If you want to hold your audience one shot is all you will get. If this was good enough for Dickens and Shakespeare then it should be good enough for me and you.

I have been a writer for most of my life. This lead me to becoming a low budget film maker and the thing that I noticed while reviewing others scripts was that most writers still do not know how to write a low budget screenplay so I decided to create a blog to offer advice. This article is a sample of the advice that I give there. I hope that it is helpful.

Source: EzineArticles
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