Kate Leys has worked on ‘4 Weddings and a Funeral’, ‘The Full Monty’ and more. She describes her job as a scriptwriter as being to ask those stupid questions other people thing are just too stupid to ask… ‘But why are they doing that?’
She talked for about six hours (without hesitation, deviation or repetition). Every second was gold. We analysed ‘Shrek’ and I saw it was about Johari Window – and actually, most stories are – the main character always discovers something about themselves they didn’t know. It’s the point.
The main thing to remember is that we need to tell a story. And any story, to be interesting, needs a beginning, a middle and an end. And it needs to be big. It needs to come from somewhere, and go somewhere.
The example was given of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. What does Indianna want? The ark. Why can’t he have it? It’s lost. What is stopping him? Nazis. What does he need? The love of a good woman. He is useless throughout the film: The opening sequence sets that up – he sets off the traps, gets chased by the bad guys, and loses the thing he was trying to get. Things only go well when he has a woman’s help.
However, the biggest lesson was at the start: no one knows what makes a good screenplay. It just reads well. There is no formula, there is only that little voice in your ear that says “hold on… I’m lost. What was the point again?”
Listen to it. If the script reads well, it should work. If the script doesn’t read well, it will be crap. You cannot polish a turd.