YOU WANT ME TO READ WHAAAAAAT? A Snob’s Guide to Alternative Sources for Structure in Plotting for Screenplay and TV Writing, Part V: Philosophical Depth


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essay 11This is the fifth in a series of essays about alternative sources for structure and plotting for screenplays and television series (for earlier entry in the series, see the bottom of the essay).
By alternative, I mean sources other than the usual tomes written by the usual gurus, sources you might not immediately think about, that can be used as guides in trying to tell your story, sources that you might not have even considered of any use in this area.
The idea of writing these essays originated with the sudden rise of what is now being called a second golden age of television, as well as a paradigm shift in the way movies are made. There are now so many different ways of telling a story on television, while in movies there has been a swing away from the Hollywood/Studio type of filmmaking, that I believe thinking outside the box when it comes to finding ways to tell stories might be a wise move to make at this time.
However, before proceeding any further, I would also like to say one other thing. You may look at many of my lists and recoil at the hoity-toityness of them all and even accuse me of being a snob.
Well, what can I say? I am a snob and I’m proud of it.
But I seriously doubt it would hurt anyone’s ability to write if they let a little more snobbishness in. In fact, it might help. You never know, so give it a try.
And this essay will probably be the snobbiest of the snobbiest in that it focuses on films that take a lot of their cues from philosophers, theologians and great thinkers. These are films that really try to get to the heart of what makes us, well, us; what is the meaning of the universe; why were are here at all; why there is something instead of nothing; what is the point of being alive at all. These are questions that artists have been dealing with since time immemorial, and they still influence us today.
These are sources that have given guidance and depth to films since their inception and have influenced directly or indirectly such filmmakers as Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Martin Scorcese, Paul Schrader, Woody Allen, Michael Haneke, Ingmar Bergman, Robert Bresson, Michelangelo Antoinioni and many, many others. Continue reading