Visual Storytelling 6

Lesson Six | Visual Storytelling Course


Lesson 6: Take A Magnifying Glass To Your Script

As a screenwriter, you must zero in on the small details that will have the greatest impact on the story. Don’t ignore the minutiae. Illuminate the small moments, the telling detail.

You can use symbols (like jewellery, a music box, a car, a painting) to create a visual and tangible thread in your script. If you do it well, you can also let it do some of the emotional ‘heavy lifting’ in your screen story.

Subtle symbolism and allegory can work well, but don’t be heavy handed in your approach. Metaphysical or abstract storytelling can work in short or experimental films, but these scripts can also come across as pretentious and indulgent.

Exercise 13:

Two siblings are cleaning out the attic or basement of a relative who has passed away.

Pick one of the objects below and write 2-3 screen pages around its discovery.

  1. An empty photo album – but the negatives are tucked away in a flap in the back.
  2. A box of beach toys: buckets, spades, inflatables, shells etc.
  3. A wedding dress in a vacuum-sealed bag.
  4. A rusted tandem bicycle.
  5. Sheet music for a piano or guitar in a plastic sleeve.
  6. A book of watercolour paintings.
  7. A felt bag with the leather collar of a deceased dog.

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