Storytelling gives the writer the power to make people feel. A great story will leave you feeling something and it can stay with you long after the credits roll. It has the power to make people think differently, inspire people, encourage them, make them laugh, take them somewhere else for a while. All of this begins with a great script. As a screenwriter, you have the power in your hands to say something and move people you have never met, across the country and even across the globe.
In the 21st century, storytelling presents greater challenges in writing than ever before. The greatest stories ever told have already been told. Screenwriters today have to be more creative than ever. They have to be inventors.
The advantage of storytelling nowadays, in particular screenwriting, is that the audience could be in the millions! Film is a very powerful medium and in my opinion one of the best storytelling mediums there is. That is why I am a screenwriter.
For me, writing comes from deep within. Sometimes it is a way of expressing things you wish you could say to another person. Other times, it's about disappearing into someone else's world for a while. I have never written a film where I stand from the sidelines emotionless. I ride the journey with my characters. I cry when they cry. I laugh when they laugh. Your characters live within you. They are a part of who you are. Truly love your characters, connect with them, understand them as you understand yourself. Let them take you on a journey. My greatest strength in writing is that I allow the characters to guide me, not the other way around.
I always begin the story at the end. There is not a script to date that I haven’t written where I don’t start at the end and wonder, how did my character get to this point? Of course, I understand the journey my character is making, I understand the events of the script that finds the resolution at the end of the film. However, by working backwards, I am able to surprise myself. I find other, innovative ways to tell the story, sometimes I even surprise myself. That is the most beautiful thing about writing, there are no right or wrong ways of doing it. Find a way that works for you. Film is creative, writing is like painting a picture or making music. All creativity stems from emotion. Get involved in your story and the emotions of the characters and bring them out.
The true power of film is to bring people together. A great story will do that. Many years ago, storytelling was an event held around a campfire, under the stars, with individuals huddled round to listen to stories about great heroes and their epic journeys or stories about our ancestors. Nowadays, we group together in movie theatres and cinemas around the world, under the flickering lights of projectors, watching the stories unfold before our eyes. It's still magic. It is still a fundamental human desire to tell and to be told stories.
I believe that telling stories is primitive. It takes us back to our childhood fantasies of battling giants in foreign lands, capturing castles and rescuing princesses, meeting strange and wonderful people and having strange and wonderful adventures. Storytelling in the 21st century is important because it makes people feel, it makes people think, and it makes people dream.