Get Out Of My Face About Film

Image - iStockphoto: TrekAndShoot
Image – iStockphoto: TrekAndShoot

“Remember In That Movie When Tom Hanks…?”

If you’re lucky, what follows is a well-chosen and interesting example of something the session leader wants a roomful of book writers to think about.

But that session leader is missing his or her mark.

If you’re going to teach novel-writing, teach novel-writing.

If you’re going to teach screenplay, teach that.

They are not the same. I don’t care about that time when Tom Hanks….

During this past weekend’s just-concluded and really excellent Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference (#WDNWC14) in Los Angeles, it became apparent that too many instructors like to invoke cinematic examples for written-word issues. It also became apparent that they know they’re on ice that’s a lot less thick than their excuses.

“I know, movies and books aren’t the same — but it’s all storytelling.” That’s how one of them at #WDNWC14 intoned the great “I don’t want any questions about this” position on the matter — quickly — before running a clip from some film, ostensibly to make a point about novel technique.

These folks — most of them completely well-meaning, by the way — are more wrong than right as they dive into the YouTube video vault to show you how some fine director orchestrated his crew and cast and score and lighting and costumes and makeup and sets (location, backlot or soundstage). and graphics and film edits and those best boys (forever) to do…hm…well, let’s see…whatwere you trying to do with a keyboard on a “page” in your Word software…?

Oh, yeah! You were writing a book. Damn it. Not a movie.

Read the full story at Thought Catalog

By Porter Ander­son | @Porter_Anderson

Writing on the Ether: If You’re Teaching Novel-Writing, Get Out Of My Face About Film

Originally published by Thought Catalog at



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