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Updated every Monday, one selected e-mail will be posted and answered here each week. With many years of experience in the film and television business, I look forward to providing answers to your questions about screenwriting or the entertainment industry in general.  Please send your e-mailed questions to: Script Advisor.  You may also wish to visit our Screenwriting Help E-Mails - The Archives.

This week's question: 

You don't write very seriously about screenwriting.  Do you take it seriously ever?


This week's Answer: 

The Good Humored Screenwriting Man

Thank you, Blake for pointing out the fact that I may not always give enough gravitas to this wonderful art, that of screenwriting.  It definitely deserves a right to be seen as a serious and meaningful mode of expression and creativity.  We're all too glib these days.  Then again, these days, if you're too solemn, people are likely to tell you to snap out of your depression, to lighten up, to go with the flow (wherever that takes you) and not be so serious.  Then you hear:  "It takes more energy to frown than to smile."  (Personally, I think it takes more energy to say, "It takes more energy to frown than to smile" than to not say anything at all.)  And let's not forget the inimitable, "Come on, let's see that smile."  And the Polly Anna-ish...

cheer up!  

(I think there should be an expression, "cheer down."  That would confuse those "happy people" for a while.  Not that I have anything against being happy.  "Happy" is good.  "Good" is "happy."  I could go on but I might become so happy that I'll fall out a window from sheer giddiness.  Although, I have been known to throw darts at T-shirts emblazoned with happy faces.  Even with people in them.)

Maybe I could be less whimsical in my approach to celebrating screenwriting.  It's possible that I could choose to stop looking at this fascinating and often odd world of writing for film through a humorous eye (or two humorous eyes.  Or three if you count my third eye, which is quite spiritual, but not very becoming.  Just ask Cyclops about that.)  I could become ponderous, dull, laborious, tedious... Wait, I already am.  So I might as well enjoy the Lighter Side of Ponderous, Dull, Laborious, Tedious Screenwriting.

Now, how would I write if I decided to only be serious about screenwriting?  Let's try this:

... And therefore and heretofore and thereby... said play of screening, after defining the protagonist's world, affords an incident of incitement, wherein he or she must be taken to task by a destiny that demands payment for an imbalance in the psyche, character, persona, and life, a payment that comes in many forms, often an antagonist that is a negative reflection of the protagonist, an antagonist that must be faced and conquered within the stipulated rules and confines of the established world, which blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...

Exciting, huh?  Reminds me of how Thomas Jefferson or Ben Franklin might have written if he were a script consultant or consultant of scripts, hear ye, hear ye... So, which one do you really want, Blake?   (Were you named after William Blake the humorist who always talked about the end of the world and other uplifting subjects?)  Whimsical or "Thomas Jeffersonian"?  (or Ben Franklinonian?)

I'm an adherent of the concept that much can be expressed through the medium of wit.  What did Shakespeare say so very long ago, but which still holds true?

  "...Extempore from my mother's wit."

And my mother wasn't even that witty.

But my dad was.

Humorously yours, 

(and an affectionate and grateful nod to my father... who would say, "That's fine, son.  You just keep writing to yourself, never knowing if anybody ever reads what you write on your website.  And I paid all that money to put you through college for four years to do this?)

Thanks, Dad.



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