Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Scriptwriting Feng Shui (ii)

Here is the next in the series on scriptwriting Feng Shui. For the previous post in this series, click on feng shui in the labels cloud.

One of the key things we scriptwriters struggle with - particularly in the first draft of a script is getting the story from a to b and even to z, narrative momentum; the magic ingredient that keeps the reader turning the pages and (later when the script is made) the audience glued to their seats.

So what (aside from good writing) keeps a story moving? Scriptwriting manuals talk about how each scene must achieve at least four things (move story forward, reveal or develop characters, reveal emotions, give story info etc. And of course they are all right.

Here I'm going to look at the 'chi' or energy of the script. Remember this series is not about crafting tips - more 'alternative ways of thinking through scriptwriting' and trying to decipher the 'magic' of what works. The scene', 'the act' or 'the script' will not be discussed as separate entities but as 'a whole'.

Instead of narrative momentum - here's another word:


'Transference' needs to take place within each scene/act and across the entire script. So what is transference?

Well transference also means (ex)change or conversion. In terms of scriptwriting it can refer to 'cause and effect'. Transference sums up the script rules for ensuring narrative momentum, mentioned above.

But most importantly transference describes the exchange of energies that needs to take place within the scene/act/ script - whether these are exchanges of emotions, twists of story direction or mutations of possibility.

If at the beginning, character A is angry and gets mad with B, then by the end of the scene, A must be calm and B must be mad. OK for most scriptwriters this is basic knowledge. But many make the mistake of thinking that having A get mad with B is a complete scene. It isn't because there is no transference.

OK for further illumination - here's a letter. What I like about the letter X (apart from its symmetry and the fact that it is the first letter of my daughter's name) is that it works as a pictogram to demonstrate transference. (For more info on pictograms - see previous post in this series.)


And maybe this will be helpful too:


The use of feng shui to aid scriptwriting may not always be appropriate or useful.

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