Wednesday, January 13, 2010

BOOK CLUB: One Heart (Ch. 7)

[Today we're reading Ch. 7 Why is My Beautiful Plot Growing a Hand Out of Its Head?, from Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriters, by Michael Tierno (2002).]

“The ‘organs,’ or scenes, work together to give ‘life’ to the plot, which means you don’t add scenes to make the action-idea have more & more plot lines, you add scenes to make the action-idea have more emotional impact on the audience.” P. 38.

Your high concept (i.e., action-idea) is the heart of the story. It keeps everything alive.

The problem comes when the writer wants two hearts, or to change the heart to a foot mid-way in Act 2.

I am very stubborn about only one heart per script.

In fact, I drove a writer crazy recently because I wouldn’t budge. He wanted to change the goal mid-way through the script and I said no. He wanted to add more plot lines, and I said no because the original plot would be obscured. He wanted this, because of that, because of those. Nope, I said, absolutely not.

Finally, I got my point across. If you feel the need for two hearts, more plot lines, more, more, more, than you don’t know what your original high concept is.

WHAT I’VE LEARNED: Real high concepts are clean and unfettered.

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

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