Tuesday, January 5, 2016


One should treat the writing of a screenplay - whether a drama or a sitcom - in the way jazz musicians improvise with music. Writing actions and voices is much more like creating music that shooting photographs. Like the jazz musician, the writer is steeped in tribal circumstances - ideas, themes, talents, tastes and history, and, like the jazz player, contributes to a conversation. The musician converses with other musicians, the writer - at least at the scripting stage - converses with the other characters, the characters in the script and the audience, and the cultural and societal contexts out of which his/her passion for the story has been born. Neither the screenwriter nor the jazz musician knows exactly where the story/music is going - it is all about listening and improvising around whatever it is that you are hearing. It's a conversation, and it's always moving, always changing, so long as the music and drama are there.


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