Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Filming the Hole

My. Brain. Hurts.

I literally googled 'blog post ideas' because I'm completely tapped out. It didn't lead me to anything useful.

I remember one of my screenwriting professors once told our class that if there's a hole on the set, film the hole. So this is my attempt at that. Basically, it means that sometimes the funk, the bunk, the mishaps and mistakes, they are the things that make the art, so it's best to admit your shortcomings and see what happens, before you try to cover it up.

I did that once. In my writing. I'll tell you about it.

I once wrote a cheesy scene. I'm not really one for writing cheese. I prefer the depressing reality of things. Give me war torn villages, cancer with a capitol C, suicides and murders, unrequited love. Anything that allows me to say This is the way things really are, when, in fact, they're probably not... While I can get past the cheese in novels and films and television shows, and musicals, musicals, musicals, I love me some big ensemble happy clappy tappy numbers, it's not what I tend to focus on in my writing.

But a cheesy plot twist found it's way into my writing (I'm sure there have been many throughout the years) and, when I was finished, I wasn't sure what to do with it. I figured it would be best to throw it away. But a strange voice whispered: Film the hole. So I tried it. My main character basically looked at what just happened (1st person narrative, how I love thee) and said, all that stuff that just happened... That was cheesy. That was Hollywood. And, to tell you the truth, it worked out well. It said a lot about who she was and the way she observed life and highlighting that was one of the best things I could have done.

I don't think you should consistently make excuses for mistakes in your work, or put a spotlight on the things that aren't working, but I urge you to experiment with this idea a little. See where it takes you.

I had no blog post and I admitted I didn't and now I do. So there's proof in the puddin'. ;-)

What do you think about filming the hole?


  1. Very interesting post. I also had an MC who observed this crazy thing happen and said something to the effect of, "This is like a bad teen movie." My beta reader highlighted that line and had the strong opinion I MUST cut it. She said it made an otherwise believable scene sound cheesy -- but, um, I'd thought it wasn't believable at all! :)

    But man, it does work to show how a character feels about life, doesn't it? Here's to experimentation! The best stuff often comes by accident (in my case). Happy Writing, Melissa!

  2. I like it! Will do. It is good to discover both the awkward and the fun things that should not have happened, but did ..... and it goes for life, too.

  3. I meant to say that I love reading your posts; they are so alive, spontaneous and uplifting.

  4. i've definitely written songs about being blocked. and it's just as easy to relate to or be interested in the next thing.

    thanks for the little comment you left about zoe and scout. kind words bring a lot of comfort right now.