Friday, February 5, 2010

BOOK CLUB: Bending History (Ch. 31)

[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.]

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