Monsters and Targets

So, I saw a really interesting interview on BBC Breakfast with Gareth Edwards, the annoyingly young writer and director of “Monsters“.  Mr. Edwards talks about his process for creating the movie which showed some great big steel balls the size of small moons. 

To summarise: he had a teeny tiny budget and just two professional actors playing the main leads. Everyone else in the film is a local amateur, hired on the spot.  Mr. Edwards didn’t try to tell his novice cast how to act, he just explained what was supposed to be happening in the scene, and then let them get on with it in their own way. He didn’t even have a complete script to start with. He explains that with most films, the script is your target, you aim to hit it with the scenes you’re filming. With this film, they drove the route that the characters took, shot a whole load of scenes and painted a target around them.

That’s a whole load of trust. Mr. Edwards trusted the untrained people he collaborated with. He trusted himself to pull the whole thing together into a coherent whole. And he trusted that it would all work out.  Quite a lot of creative types believe that if you move to make something happen, the Universe will move with you (and I believe it too).

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I am (for now) a dyed-in-the-wool plotter. I love the idea of gaily scattering scenes and ideas and then stitching them together into a coherent whole, but I don’t trust that I can do it.  I know other writers can and do. If you’re brimming over with ideas and scenes, but don’t yet have a plot, it could be worth a try. You could jot them all down on index cards, scraps of paper, excel spreadsheet entries, anything you can do quickly and easily rearrange.  Then you could see if you can paint the circle around them.


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