Wednesday, December 3, 2014

15 Insights from John August on his Creative Spark

 Creative Spark
  1. My life is being able to make up those stories and tell those stories.
  2. Creativity is discovering what the interesting problems are and how can you solve them in a way that will be interesting for the people watching the story.
  3. A lot of screenwriting is like disciplined daydreaming. You're trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle but you aren't quite sure what the pieces even are.
  4. My brain is like a game of survivor and all these different ideas are fighting for my attention, and one by one they sort of get eliminated or they win.
  5. Before I start writing a script I try to have a good sense of what happens and what the beats are and that way I really do know what the end is.
  6. I have a lot of different ways of doing that very first putting stuff down on paper. Sometimes I'll use a whiteboard. The advantage of using a whiteboard is that it is just a chance to just explore and make mistakes and make connections to things that can be.
  7. Sometimes you just need to make a big mess.
  8. I'm a big fan of writing 'off the page'. Have them have a conversation in a  coffee shop, that doesn't having anything to do with your plot, but it gives you a sense of what their voice is like - who they are, what's driving them, how they communicate with themselves.
  9. You make a big messy map you find some of these connections that you would not have otherwise found.
  10. The crucial stuff I've learned is that I have to get it out of my head and on to paper as quickly as possible or I'll forget it. 
  11. What I do is a scribble draft where as fast as I possible can, I write it down. This barebones, transitional. Really just notes for myself.
  12. It's best for me not to write in sequence. So I won't start at the beginning of the story and go through till the end. I'll write whatever scene appeals to me to write.
  13. Skipping around a lot I can stop myself from saying 'Well I don't know what that next scene is so I'm just gonna stop.'
  14. Early on in the process I try to get those last 10 pages done, so I know what the boundary of the script is.
  15. If you're planning a roadtrip you've got to kind of know where you will end up. Then you can take really fascinating ways to get there.

About John August
As John August describes himself on his website, he is mostly known as a screenwriter, with credits including Go, Big Fish, Charlie’s Angels, Titan A.E., Charlie and Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie. He also wrote the book for the Broadway musical version of Big Fish. He wrote and directed the 2007 movie The Nines. For television, he created the show D.C. for the WB Network. He has also written short fiction, including The Variant and Snake People. Through his company, Quote-Unquote Apps, he has released several popular apps and doodads, including Highland, Weekend Read, Bronson Watermarker, and Less IMDb.

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