There is this quote made by Franz Kafka I came across recently.
He said: “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly”.
Honestly, as a scriptwriter, there are times I get too analytical when writing. I think more and feel less. And then at the end of the day, I end up writing a whack screenplay. And no doubt there are other scriptwriters who are guilty of this.
You see, great movies usually have one thing in common; the ability to move the audience in different ways. They make us laugh; make us cry; make us angry; make us want to fall in love. Great movies are filled with emotional rollercoasters; it makes the audience to viscerally take part in the story and bond with the characters.
But then, this isn’t achieved when scriptwriters, the brainbox behind the movie fail to infuse their emotions into the screenplay.
As a scriptwriter, you should learn how to identify with your own characters. The only way to ensure that the audience emotionally connect to your characters is of you are able to connect to the characters yourself.
It is okay to do your research before writing, brainstorm, construct your plot but the moment you hit fade in, ditch your intellect and follow your feelings. Have some fun. It’s not like you are writing a thesis or something, so why been so serious and analytical? What’s the need of been logical?
William Goldman would say, “Your screenplay don’t have to read like an instruction manual. You can write them as a pleasurable read”. One way this can be achieved is by connecting with your characters and quit being logical.
Again, you can infuse emotions into your screenplay by showing how the characters relate or react to conflicts. Even in real life, our true nature doesn’t show off when things are going fine but the moment we are faced with so much adversities, challenges, and conflicts, our true nature pops out. That’s exactly how it is in stories.
The true nature of a character would only show when they faced with challenges, conflicts and disasters. Allow your characters to face some roadblocks. Add conflicts. It will pique the interest of the audience and they would be eager to how learn how the characters would respond emotionally when things turn messy and challenging.
A character’s emotional reaction make movies more fascinating that at the end of the day, the audience wouldn’t forget such movies in a hurry. Come rain, come shine Titanic is one of the great movies that can’t be forgotten.
I may be too analytical when writing my screenplays but it’s a bad habit I’m working so hard to correct. You should do same. Ditch the logic and have some fun.