Sunday, January 24, 2010

BOOK CLUB: Beyond SHOW & TELL (Ch. 18)

[Today we're reading Ch. 18 Whatever Causes the Action Better Be Up There On the Screen, from Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriters, by Michael Tierno (2002).]

The phrase "SHOW, not TELL" often means that the writer is telling you what is happening rather than showing it.

ex. MAN: "I'm going to open a red wine. Then I will toss it in your face."

Most of us avoid this, so let's look at the next most frequent problem: What if you're SHOWING, but there's no story? What does that look like?

I saw a script that described the situation, but it was like reading a map.

ex. John turned to Judy. He shouted. She cowered.

The characters are obviously in conflict. We show that John is loud, and Judy is scared. But is this a story?


It is static scene & a story is a series of moving, connected scenes. If it does not push forward, it's dead weight.


[DISCLAIMER: I have not been asked, nor paid, to read or comment on this book.]

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