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Method Writing

Just for some personal bio, I've been writing since I was quite young, but before it was mainly novels and short story's. As of the last four years, it's been mostly screenplays. And I love writing, that's a disease I'm plagued with.

Until recently, I had been doing the writing solely by myself. Now, a close friend of mine -- someone who has a great taste for what works and what doesn't -- joined board with me to write a screenplay for a film we'll be making in due time. His style of writing has similarities to mine, but his approach was different:

.We had to do a number of scenes that were very dark, very dismal in every sense. He would lock himself in a room, drink profusely, and eventually reach a near suicidal stage where he'd be so close to the characters' lives that the words would ring so true to nature that it would work better that I imagined it could.

I noticed that many actors have their method acting approach, but then thought: the sane goes for writers do, does it not?

Have any of you tapped into screenwriting with a similar approach? Struck me as dangerous but emotionally true.
 
Well, I believe that if you are taking the step to write something, it better come from you emotionally, or there is no connection to that piece. That being said, when you are writing you are in turn spilling emotion onto the page, and that emotion resonates from within, as mentioned. So yes, while there are extremes, I feel in general that a good piece is born when you become the characters, because in essence the characters are a piece of you.
 
lol as long as he's not drinking himself to death I think thats a good idea. (if in fact he was doing it purposely lol) I think alot if not most of writing comes through inspirational experience in some way, so yea that could work.
 
I used to get into that kind of thing too, be it less extreme. But I think it is also largely a psychological thing. Much like Isaac in Heroes, when he thought he could only paint the future when he was high.
That being said, I now find myself sometimes feeling like sticking a knife in my head to let the ideas flow out of my skull because I just cannot write them down fast enough. But usually, I'm okay.
 
I think honesty is one of the most important things in writing.

Except when you're lying.

=)
 
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I see nothing dangerous. Of course you have to have something to get you feel the right feeling, while writing a script. For example, if you write for a child's death and the despair of it's parents, you'll try a sad song to get in a melancholic state of mind. However, what you say in your post, is impossible for me, but I don't know your friend's psychological situation.

Alcohol makes you feel your emotions stronger and express them better. So, when I drink, I become a cute, ruthless and violent creep with just a few positive emotions, that I can easily make you cry while reading because I really believe them. You see, most people write about feelings they don't even know or, worse, can't even feel. For example, a person writes about torments, while, the worst pain he has ever felt, was a broken finger. From the other side, most people who have felt too much pain, think they'll take revenge from their enemies, by adding them in their script as villains and, in the end, make the good guy (the one they consider and show as a good guy) win for them, by torturing them to death. My example? What else? Robocop (Clarence Boddicker is more sympathetic than Robocop)

I'll tell you something else you can use to write by expressing your feelings: Do you have a dream, about becoming tougher, smarter or things like that? Make your hero like you would want to be. I personally never do that only in one character, but, even if you do, I believe it'll work if you search and describe your feelings with a good way.
 

You think less. Sometimes, when you're sober, you have to think too much about the words you have to use to express your feelings. While drunk, you usually don't. Because, your feelings are stronger and you speak more with your heart. Whether some stupid bithces who get their shit beaten up want to believe it or not.

By the way, I pass out getting drunk every night.
 

mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
Personally, I think you're nuts.
And not likely to live long enough to enjoy any success you may get.
But each to his own, I guess, as long as you stay off the street (i.e., don't walk in front of a moving car, drive a car/bike/roller blades, etc).
 
You think less. Sometimes, when you're sober, you have to think too much about the words you have to use to express your feelings. While drunk, you usually don't. Because, your feelings are stronger and you speak more with your heart. Whether some stupid bithces who get their shit beaten up want to believe it or not.

By the way, I pass out getting drunk every night.

Out of curiosity, how old are you?
 
I usually just lock myself in a room, smoke pot and write all day. Sometimes I have to go out and research, which usually involves heavy non-fiction reading in a library or doing something physically. For instance, I'm going to be following a police officer for several weeks in the worst parts of Baltimore so I can enhance this new screenplay.

But in terms of doing something crazy that I'd have my characters do? Jesus, I wouldn't be around long enough to finish my work.
 
By the way, I pass out getting drunk every night.

You say this like you're bragging. Just because you're an alcoholic doesn't mean you're going to write embrosia. Its really about connecting themes to the social paradigm because the people that are immersed within that paradigm are the ones who will watch and judge it. Drugs and a tragic life aren't pre-requisites to good stories, although they certainly help and enhance the creative process.

It's really about what you and others feel, not just what you feel. That's why I personally think the future of cinema will involve a more collective effort rather than a monopolized one.
 
Drug addicts and drunkards assume they are creative. But in reality they are Junkies :D

There's something to be said for creativity and drugs.

I tend to stick with listening to appropriate music while I write, but when you write historical or sci-fi stuff it's not like you can go out and experience what you're writing about. Also I would never drink more than two beers and write, but that's me.
 
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If you have to drink enough alcohol to get drunk in order to write something good, it doesn't make you a good writer, it just makes you a good alcoholic.

You look at famous Rock Stars who have written amazing lyrics while hopped up on heroin....Were they capable of writing those same lyrics while not on drugs? If not, then it's not the person that wrote the lyrics, but the drug. If you have to go around telling people that the only way for you to write good dialogue or good scenes, etc. is to get drunk or take drugs, what kind of pride can you have in your ability as an artist?
 
I was thinking about something akin to "method writing" a while back, though nothing like going all bipolar and drinking yourself into oblivion. I was thinking as copying the actual methods actors use to bring genuine emotions to entirely fictional situations.

I starting thinking along this line because I was unhappy with an action/adventure film I was writing for someone. It seemed like it was trying to hard to "be a movie." That is, I felt like I was just trying to copy the stuff I've seen in movies over the years and conjure up something that looked and felt the same. Unfortunately, the result felt hollow and derivative. There was no real emotion there.

When actors use the Method approach, they take a scene with a situation they have never experienced and make it personal by thinking of something they themselves have experienced in the past that is emotionally tangential to the situation in the scene. For example the scene may ask the actor to run away from a giant three-eyed gorilla. Of course, no one on earth knows what such an experience is like. However, the actor can remember the time when he had to get a baseball from the neighbor's yard and the fear he felt when their angry Rottweiler came chasing after him; or that time he was in the spooky basement, heard a noise, and thought the Boogieman was there, so he ran upstairs as fast as he could to the safety of his mother.

I haven't tried this yet, but I think screenwriters could work in the same way. Add emotional realism to every scene by remembering something in your own past that is emotionally tangential to the situation.
 
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