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Monday, 29 June 2009


A lot of people say "I can always watch any film" and "I have never walked out of a film." I am not one of these people. In fact, right now, I'm not watching any films at all.

It's really interesting looking at personal patterns - they tell you a lot about yourself. I have a pattern where I can sit for a couple of months and obsessively watch films, but then I tend to really struggle to write screenplays. But then, sometimes I am writing and writing and I don't even have time to watch movies. I feel like I watch a lot of movies, and then start to feel dissatisfied, often by their lacking quality -- and then my writing stems from that, I try and bring to the page what I feel has been missing from what I'm watching.

I'm not saying it's the only way I write, but it seems to be a pattern.

I hear a lot of filmmakers, writers, film-lovers, and random-pretentious-people saying how they can watch any film, and people wear this badge that they've never stopped a film before the end. I don't wear that badge, I've stampled the badge and thrown it in the bin. I give films about five minutes, if they haven't got me, I'm out, because two hours is a lot of time, I'm not going to waste it watching something I don't find interesting.

I've noticed also, that the writers and directors I admire tend to have similar patterns. Somebody who can watch any-film-any-time-because-they-love-films can also, often, write any-film-any-time-for-anyone-who-needs-a-script; and that's great, what a wonderful talent to have; but there are many who can only write and create when their patterns allow. What this means is, they can only create when they know what they're doing, when they know what they have to say. Basically, yeah; when there is no block.

The subconscious is a crazy place. It's a place where your memories are, it's where your ideas are. It's where you accidentally steal scenes from films you remember but don't remember you remember, and it's a place where you have the potential to write something amazing. And to truly access that wonderful place; you're going to be dealing with these patterns.

And I guess that's why it's often at the breaking point when you begin to write; that brief moment when you're transforming from viewer to writer, or from depressed and suicidal to inspired. It's those moments when you suddenly remember a moment from your teens and then you link it to this feeling you have now, and that manifests itself as a character on a page. That's real writing.

Care to share?


  1. Sometimes I force myself to sit through a movie just so I know what I'm up against. Not as a writer, I'm nowhere near that confident in myself, but as a movie-watcher with an opinion.

    Sometimes it's easier to explain the excellence of one movie by tacking something crappy up next to it.

  2. Sometimes I think you have to risk watching a bad film to know what a good film looks like. But you're right, two hours (or three for the really bad blockbusters) is a long time.

  3. I generally give a film half an hour because there are some slow starting films which have prooved very good - can't think of any now but I'm sure there are, westworld is a prime example of this, I guess! My main flaw with films is I refuse to watch most things suggested by my parents just because i seem to have developed an irrational dislike of any film not made in the last 10, 20 years - but regardless - I do agree with you on this one :p