Last week I attended Art Wednesday’s Nice to Meet You event, where amongst Game of Thrones' cast members and aspiring creatives, Kate Leys (legendary script editor and general story-maker-better-er) gave an extremely insightful talk on ‘The Art of Storytelling’.
Her advice was simple and spot on. Just the tonic for anyone stuck with their script.
Her main points were thus:
- The basis of all narrative is that a stranger comes to town - whether it’s a shark (Jaws), a tsunami (The Impossible) or a wealthy businessman (Pretty Woman) - to disrupt the status quo.
- If you want to work out what your film is all about, start with the sentence:
This is a story about...
- You should be able to answer the following questions about your character:
1) Who are they?
2) What do they want?
3) How are they going to get it?
And the secret fourth question:
4) What do they really need?
- Remember that a ‘writer’s voice’ is all about finding truth, in character, situation or human emotion. If writers aren’t true to this - if they’re faking or trying to second guess what people want from the story - the audience will know.
And there you have it. Just a couple of embarrassingly rudimentary ways to make sure your script has all the right ingredients to keep the audience on your side.