#WritingAdviceWednesday – Writing Exercises: Picture Perfect

Writing Advice Wednesday

Writing Exercises

As well as a relevant video essay I’ve found, I’ll be giving you writing exercises to perform, if you’re keen to either get some practise, or need some motivations to start a new script or novel. It’s exercises like this that form part of my One Hour Screenwriter course, which will help you write an entire feature film script in 22 weeks. You can purchase it at the shop here. You can also read testimonies here that show my methods have worked for plenty of other people.

This week, it’s time to think visually!

Visual Exercise

Does your story have a powerful central image? What picture sums up your story in a single frame? Do you have a visual theme that recurs throughout your screenplay?

It is a good idea to analyze the images in your story. Do they have a consistent motif? How do the images reflect or symbolize the interior action or theme of the story?

How can you use these images to build richer, more interesting detail into your story? How can you use these images to strengthen the visual events in each of your scenes?

For example, in The Terminator, the central visual theme is man vs. machine.

The story opens with machines hunting down humans in the future. Next, we see an image of a large machine in the present and the Terminator materializes nearby. Then the Terminator confiscates and roars off on a huge motorcycle he steals from a biker in a bar.

This theme of man vs. machine plays out through the story.

The main character’s roommate is killed because she is hooked up to a machine (listening to a Walkman) and doesn’t hear the Terminator entering the house.

The Terminator discovers the main character’s whereabouts by a message left on an answering machine.

In the end, a giant stamping machine kills the Terminator.

All these story events add to and reinforce the story’s visual theme.

Can you find a powerful central image in your film? A unified visual motif is much more powerful than a variety of unrelated images.

Find a central image and make a mini poster to remind yourself of your visual theme.

Find ways to use a variation on your visual theme in all the choices, objects and details of your story.

Video Essay of the Week

When you think of visuals, think about how they become a part of your screenplay well beyond the page. Director Edgar Wright certainly does!

(Ignore the lack of thumbnail on the embedded video below, just press play as the video works. This really is a brilliant video essay worth checking out)

Let me know what you think of this week’s writing exercise by emailing me at ETBHelp@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you as we go forward with more of these writing exercises. Next week, it’s time to take responsibility…

Until then, remember- all you need to do is Get Started and Keep Going!

– Laurie


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