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Posts Tagged ‘William M. Akers’

“Exposition is BORING unless it is in the context of some present dramatic tension or crisis. So start with an action that creates tension, then provide the exposition in terms of the present development.”
Writer/director Alexander Mackendrick
On Film-making

William M. Akers in Your Screenplay Sucks! points out a great example of creating tension then giving exposition from Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid when they’re working as payroll guards:

“Their boss gets shot and they hide behind some rocks. They end up in a face off, with Butch and Sundance holding pistols on a double handful of fearsome looking bandits. 

Butch Cassidy: Kid, there’s something I ought to tell you. I never shot anybody before.
Sundance Kid: One hell of a time to tell me!

A great way to reveal significant information, and, in a crowded theater, it got a gigantic laugh.”  

Related posts:

Cary Grant & Exposition (Tip # 38)
Screenwriting & Exposition (Tip #10)
Cody on Expo

Scott W. Smith

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Not my title but it is an attention getter isn’t it? Your Screenplay Sucks! 100 ways to make it great is a fairly new book by screenwriter William M. Akers. I finally picked up a copy this week and have been enjoying it. It’s hard to say new stuff on screenwriting— or present proven thoughts from a new perspective— but Akers is able to do both.

Akers’ book was up to the task of ending my 10 day Coppolablogfest. I won’t cover all the reason your screenplay sucks (you can buy the book for that), but I’ll toss a few your way this week beginning with:

#19. You worried about structure when you came up with your story.

Screw Structure. Have fun.

Structure is for later. For now, just let your incredibly creative mind run free. Make notes about character and plot and story and funny moments and locations you’d like to visit. Tape record dialogue for your characters…Free associate…Make stuff up. Make more stuff up. Steal from real life and make it your own. Steal from other people’s lives….Make more notes. Enjoy this part of the process. It’s easier to think up cool material if you don’t have to worry if it fits…Creativity sells. Worrying about rules and page numbers will only cloud your mind.
William M. Akers
Your Screenplay Sucks!
pages 43-44

Of course, structure is important.  Some would put it at or near the top of screenwriting importance. I wouldn’t disagree, but it has been hammered home so much in books, blogs, and seminars that many writers feel like they can’t take step one unless they have their plot points in place. Akers says just put it later in the process. (Eventually they more you read and write the more intuitive and organic structure will become .)

Akers also has a website at www.yourscreenplaysucks.com

Related post: Screenwriting and Structure (tip#5)

Scott W. Smith

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