A Clothesline of Icons –

As I labour over a screenplay rewrite – for content, structure and style – I constantly  refer to a ‘trailer’ for the film I’ve written and keep handy next to me.

It’s not like the trailer that’s used to market and advertise a film but rather a writer’s trailer: the series of memorable moments that sum up visually the story, both in tone and content, in the opinion of the writer –

It’s a series of icons that provoke emotion and information.

That sum up who the characters are and their relationship to one another. And what each of them wants.

Can images provide such information? I hope so.

Take the picture below. If this were a moment in a story – which it is in a sense – what would we infer about the man in the suit?  What does his body caught in mid-turn say about him? About his hopes and aspirations? About his relation to the other individuals around him? About his environment? What about the way he holds that wad of money? Etc.

I ask myself if I could only project 10 frames/icons from my narrative that I want  burned in the minds of the audience what would those moments be. And can I make those moments more ‘sticky’ through my writing and rewriting?

Could this apply to sound as well? Are there a set of sounds iconic to the story, characters and landscape? Does this current draft of the script reflect that?

It’s an interesting thought experiment – give it a try and tell me if it helps your work as a writer and/or director.


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