What Makes The Pros The Pros
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A tip I remember from Terry Rossio.
If you want to learn screenwriting (but this basically applies to everything that you want to learn on a professional level), take one of your screenplays.
Read it, and then take a professional level script and compare it to what you’ve written.
Try to find out where the difference is.
And by that (and that is my personal addition and interpretation of what he wrote) he means try to find the difference at a deep level.
Don’t just look at the words. Look at what happens to you, what you feel when you’re reading the professional level script.
Try to find out what they’re doing that makes you feel that way.
Try to find out how they were able to find a situation that makes you exactly feel what they wanted you to feel in that moments.
What are the components that make it possible?
Now go back to your own writing.
What from the things you saw in the professional level script are missing in your writing?
Can you tell?
Can you put your finger on it?
This is not an exercise to feel bad.
Try to see your script from a distance, as if it were the script of someone else. If you get emotional about the quality of writing you’re making it harder for you to have creative breakthroughs.
(There are times where you can get emotional when you write but this is not it.)
The difficulty here lies in seeing what the pros are doing.
Why are they introducing that character exactly that way?
Why is that character saying these lines at this moment?
A good exercise to find the purpose behind each of the elements on the page is leaving one out.
Read the professional script but jump over one of them, as if it wasn’t there.
If you try to read it as if you were reading it the first time without that specific element, what is missing?
Can you observe yourself feeling a different emotion?
Seeing what is missing from your script (or what is in the professional script and why) is a very important step towards learning or improving those necessary skills.
Because if you don’t see what’s missing, how would you know what to work on for becoming a better writer?
The more of those “pro tools” you can spot over time, the more this will free up your inspiration, because once you dominate them you can apply them consciously and without thinking too much about them.
So you have more capacity left to become creative with them and let your inspiration flow!
More techniques and habits to let your inspiration flow:
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