Screenplay Story

SIMPLICITY


"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
LEONARDO DA VINCI
(1452-1519)

Tell a simple story well, at least at first. Like the guitarist who picks out his melody carefully, with softly-worded lyrics. Compare him to the screamer who strums so loudly you can't even tell if he knows how to play the darn thing. You want to be the guy who's so convinced them you've mastered your story that they hang on every word. Set everything up carefully, but not so many things you lose track (or they're sure to). Play it out even more carefully, only moving on once your note has been struck. Know what you're doing every step of the way.

Consider . .
  • reducing characters to the bare minimum needed to tell your story
  • keeping settings to the absolute least needed to make your story work
  • eliminating all sub-plots
  • adhering to the three unities of Aristotle, those of time, action, and place
  • applying Occam's razor to your story

Learn to play the flute on a street corner, focusing on the basics, until you're a virtuoso. Then they'll invite to join the orchestra (and be glad to have you).

The brilliance of your film might derive from its simplicity. You can always trying getting complicated later.

See also . .


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EXERCISES:
  1. Consider the Italian classic neorealist drama BICYCLE THIEF (1948) directed by Vittorio De Sica.
  2. Consider the Italian classic neorealist drama LA STRADA (1954) directed by Federico Fellini.
  3. Consider the lost classic THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955) directed by Charles Laughton.
  4. Consider the Russian BURNT BY THE SUN (1994), directed by and starring Nikita Mikhalkov, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
  5. Consider the silent B&W film from a French director, THE ARTIST (2011), that's taking Cannes 2011 by storm.