[Today we're reading Ch. 31 History Repeats Itself...Real & Imagined, from Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriters, by Michael Tierno (2002).]
I'm a big fan of using history in scripts.
How do you balance the accuracy of history & story? My rule is that good story rules, but use as much accurate history as possible.
Be judicial which facts need to be bent, O Grasshopper. Look hard for anything that rings false, or truly implausible...because if you screw it up, there are a hundred history buffs ready to jump.
ex. I read a spec script about a female Hollywood actress. The story was based on some facts, but also some imaginings of the undocumented periods of her life. I believed it all, even though I knew much had to have come from the writer's imagination.
The key was that it could've REALLY happened just as it was laid out. There wasn't a false note.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED: If you want a totally non-dramatic, entirely truthful retelling of the boring parts of a person's life, the movies are not for you.
(I actually knew a guy who didn't like "suspending disbelief." No surprise he wasn't a moviegoer.)
[DISCLAIMER: I have not been asked, nor paid, to read or comment on this book.]