Wall-E – Getting to the Essence of Things
I am here on the lake front and just have had my wireless router installed. I am writing on my trusty MAC and catching up on email and newsletters. This caught my eye from earlier in July:
“In Disney Pixar’s new movie, “Wall-E,” the female heroine is a shiny all-white robot with no seams or overt buttons showing. Remind you of anything? Actually, it brings to mind most of the Apple product line. Could this be the product-placement model of the future?” This is a quote from an interesting newsletter article from Ad Age.
What does this have to do with screenwriters? There is a really important lesson here.
The article goes on to say:
“The idea is that your logo isn’t going to be featured or your product isn’t going to be shown … but your essence runs through the whole thing instead… ‘How many companies could do that?’ Not too many, I think.”
A strong brand is crucial for marketers. Apple has such a strong brand it doesn’t even need to be mentioned by name in the hit film, Wall-E. The MAC start up tone and the sleek design is all you need to say “Apple.”
Essence is defined as: the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something. Synonyms are: soul, spirit, nature; core, heart, crux, fundamental quality
Every pitch you write, every character in your story and every script you finish should have an equally strong brand. What is the soul or spirit of what you are trying to convey? Is there an iconic image that captures this perfectly for your script and your character? If not, find one.
In a few seconds the audience (or executive in a pitch session) should be able to get the essential core of your story and character. One of my favorite quotes is by Albert Einstein: “If you can’t say it simply and briefly you probably don’t understand it well enough.”
Do your understand your story and character well enough to distill them down to their most fundamental quality? Can you convey that briefly and simply? Do you have an iconic image that sums everything up? What I am asking is incredibly hard. It requires immense effort and a bit of creative genius. You must care enough about your script to go that extra mile, if you want it to succeed.
The Nine Character Types helps distill the essence of a character and story instantly. It helps you understand the fundamental principles at the core of your script.