A famous philosophizer

For the last few years I have been exploring screenwriting. I think that the more an editor understands screenplay structure and methods, the better the editor.

Part of understanding screenwriting is coming up with ideas for films. You can start with a character and work out an ironic situation they could find themselves in. You can come up with a ‘what-if’ high concept first, and find a character that illustrates the concept the best. Another method is to come up with a political or philosophical theme that you think an audience would like to see explored. Most good screenplays have all these elements, it’s just a question of at which point you start to come up with your idea.

Where the writer pokes their nose into the picture is when they realise what stories they feel they want to tell the the current point in their life. I’ve been looking at the film ideas I’ve been having recently and been trying to see if I can determine what stories I want to be telling right now. Knowing that will help me persue the most apposite idea.

I’ve been thinking about the dichotomy between freedom and love. You want freedom for yourself. On the other hand, you want to give up some of that freedom for those you love. The irony is that you do this so that the people you love can be free to do what they want.

I went to see Pirates 3 last night. The film was very odd: the screenwriters seemed to think that people will watch the film many times, and that it is OK for a film to only be fully understood once you have watched it more than four times. Wanting to understand their thinking about this, I found a (spoiler-filled) interview with them at Box Office Mojo . What should I find but the following quote:

…the rest of the story really is about Sartre’s [idea of] freedom—that if you enter into a relationship, you take on these obligations and limit your own freedom willingly and, if you objectify the [other] person, that can lead to sadism, whereas if you try to ensure that other person’s freedom as well as your own, that’s really the nature of love. To me, it’s such an inspiring concept.

Looks like I should have taken the time to do a little philosophy course…


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