Connecting to Purpose, Self, and Process SOURCE: CLAUDIA HUNTER JOHNSON

PART 1: WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE?

A screenwriter's purpose is to CONNECT.

"Only connect." Add this to the back of your tent card right now.

Connecting with your audience is the feeling that we are all after. It feels better than almost anything else in our world.

Audiences WANT to connect, even though they may not realize it. We all yearn for relationship, connection and meaning. Good stories satisfy this yearning.

E.M.Forster meant "only connect" as a rule to live by. You could consider it a rule to write by.

Oliver Stone says, "You must never forget the umbilical cord is to real life, real people."

The Screenplay Paradox

NOT ABOUT ME/ABOUT ME

Though our lives may be different, our desires, our needs are the same.

DIFFERENT LIVES/SAME DESIRES

NOT ABOUT ME/ABOUT ME

UNIQUE/UNIVERSAL

We strive and compete in order to connect. We need to win because we want to belong. It's the HUMAN MATRIX, a vertical pattern of striving with the horizontal pattern of connecting

THIS IS THE SOURCE OF A STORY'S SHARED EMOTIONS

So, as a writer, your PURPOSE IS TO CONNECT.

PART 2: WHO ARE YOU?

As a writer, you must next CONNECT TO YOURSELF.

In order to find your unique voice you must identify those attitudes, values and experiences that will energize your work as a screenwriter. In other words, you have to find your VOICE.

You've got to search deep within and find things that are SPECIFICALLY UNIQUE. Vague beliefs like "I hate war," or "Love your neighbor" aren't going to help you find any kind of unique voice.

An Example From My Own Life:

"I hate racism." - too broad, general, vague, generic.

When I was 7 years old I hated the white school bus driver who told my black friends to "move to the back" every single day.

The best short screenplays are deeply felt and highly specific.

back to the paradox

The best way to connect with others is through the honest expression of our unique experiences as a human.

Part 3: What is your process?

You must DISCOVER the madness of your method.

"It boils down to time, space, objects, and rituals. It's not what the environment is like that matters, but the extent to which you are in harmony with it." - Csikszentmihalyi

WHEN do you work best? Do everything you can to set aside that particular time regularly.

"One of the mysterious things about writing is the extreme susceptibility it shows to the influence of PLACES." - Tennessee Williams

OBJECTS will either help or hinder the allocation of creative energies.

"Small RITUALS we practice before practicing our art help dispel those doubts and fears that plague us." -Twyla Tharp

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings always wrote on the front porch of her home in Cross Creek.

When the weather didn't cooperate, she wrote indoors by the windows.

At home, I have two spaces where I most often work/write/edit (often simultaneously).

When I get tired, around 3pm, a cup of tea keeps me going until about 5.

perfection is a form of self-hatred.

Lighten up and just do it. Something will come of it, even though you may not ever realize what that something is.

Credits:

Created with images by jonathan229 - "MS1470_1964_Marber_ModernClassics_JS" • ThoseGuys119 - "First Student #150194" • ThoseGuys119 - "First Student #170" • Unsplash - "typewriter book notebook" • alans1948 - "FloridaFall13-06696" • alans1948 - "FloridaFall13-06695"

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