Read to write

Apr 7, 2016 in Blog

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I’m starting to get serious about this screenwriting lark. Ever since I got into the Film & TV industry I’ve always had a script at some stage of completion. Right now I’m in the throes of a feature crime thriller set in a diner (EAT), and it’s flowing nicely. I can feel some resistance in some scenes, where my gut is instinctively saying nuh-uh-uhh! But on the whole it’s still moving. Which is good. And very rare.

I read a blog called Go Into The Story, run and written by Scott Myers. “Blog” doesn’t really do it justice, to me. It’s primarily about the mental and professional process of screenwriting. It is an absolute goldmine of incisive, smart thinking and experience-hardened advice for screenwriters at any stage in their career.

One really great thing Scott does is regular and intensive script analysis. He engages his readers by asking for volunteers to breakdown a script, scene by scene, and using that as a tool to examine and extrapolate about the story. Currently he is working on THE END OF THE TOUR, a road-trip movie by Donald Margulies, based on the book by Donald Lipsky about his Rolling Stone interview of the author David Foster Wallace just after the publishing of Infinite Jest.

I’ve offered to do a scene-by-scene breakdown of MICHAEL CLAYTON, one of my favourite films, written and directed by one of my favourite screenwriters, Tony Gilroy. The decision to this stems from the desire to give something back to Scott Myers for all his superb work; and to follow through on a rule I’ve developed for myself- “If you want to write, then read”, or Read to Write. I’m certainly not the first to come up with this and I’m quite aware it’s a fundamental rule of development as a writer in any medium. But it’s my own little catchphrase, and it works for me.

The breakdown for MICHAEL CLAYTON will be available as a PDF here and on GITS.