Friday, January 8, 2016


Most screenplays, at least in the early drafts, are built on cliches. The cliche is the broadest possible stroke of emotion, the familiar approximation that indicates some semblance of meaning. But it is stale, hackneyed and ultimately impotent. What the screenwriter must do is recognize the cliches and then have the guts and talent to transform them, which means disfiguring with it, damaging them, roughing them up, not for the sake of making a better cliche, but to prove to oneself that they have no power over you, and that you will not be a slave to them or allow their covert bullying. A damaged cliche can be very seductive, of course. It may even seem a useful option if you're writing bad melodrama or satire, but really, what you must strive for, and ultimately achieve, is your liberation from cliches altogether.

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