Friday, October 17

Nestor Torre gives tips for aspiring scriptwriters.

Uhm, okay.

But he makes kambyo naman and says that the tips are actually by Marsha Norman, playwright, so it's not all that bad. *snicker, snicker* Bad, kantogirl, bad, bad.

Here it is:

First, to be a good writer, you have to be an avid reader. Read at least four hours a day. No arguments here. Not three hours and a half, but four. Take it or leave it.

Next, don't write about your life now, it's too unclear and inchoate. Write about your past, something that's already been completed, and thus easier for you to get a handle on.

Write about something that terrified you, something you still think is unfair, something that you haven't been able to forget after all the years that have passed since it happened.

Don't write in order to show the audience how smart you are. The audience is not the least bit interested in the scriptwriter, it only wants to know-and care about-the characters.

If the audience begins to suspect that what it's watching was actually written by some other person, it's going to quit watching and listening. So keep yourself out of it!

If you have characters you can't write fairly, cut them out. Grudges have no place here. Nobody cares about your grudges but you, and you can't attract an audience!

There must be one central character. Only one. Not two, not three-one. And he or she must want something. And by the end of your script, your central character must either get it or not. Period. No exceptions.

You must tell your audience right away what is at stake in your script-i.e., how they know when the drama is over. They are, in a sense, the jury. You present the evidence, and then they say whether or not it seems true to them.

If it does, your script will work. If it doesn't seem true to your viewers, try to find out why-and don't do it anymore!

If, while you're writing, thoughts of critics, family members or the audience occur to you, stop writing and do some reading until you have successfully forgotten them.

Don't talk about your script while you're writing it. Good scripts are always the product of a single vision, a single point of view. Your friends will be helpful later, after the script's direction is established.

A script is one thing you can easily get too much help with. If you must break this rule, try not to say what you have learned by talking. Or just let other people talk and you listen. Don't talk your script away.

Keep pads of paper near you all the time. Whenever you have thoughts about your script, write them down.

Never start writing until you know what your first sentence is that day. It is unhealthy to sit in front of an unused typewriter or computer for any length of time. If, after you have typed the first sentence, you can't think of a second one, go read.

There is only one good reason to write a script, and that is that there is no other way to take care of it, or process it, whatever it is. There are too many made-up scripts being written these days.

So if it doesn't spill out faster than you can write it, don't write it at all! Or write about something else that does spill out. Spilling out is what scripts are all about. "Writing" is for novelists.


Four frigging hours? If you count webpages, maybe. I read a lot of stuff from the net now. Mag-newspaper rounds lang ako, that's a lot already. Although must admit I'm becoming slow na when it comes to books. I've had "How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents" in my backpack for more than a week now, nasa p.46 pa lang ako.

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