Thursday, February 25, 2010

Studio Stories VII - Nocturnal Inspiration

For the unfamiliar, a "reveal" in screenwriting parlance is the placement of key, revelatory information in a story. Most times, the last reveal is the most important revelation of all.


In Editor, Patrick McGilligan’s book of interviews, Backstory 1, p. 167, screenwriter Philip Dunne commented:

If you get an idea in the middle of the night, it’s a good idea to get up and write it down, or it’s gone. There’s a famous story about a writer who always swore he got up and wrote his ideas down. He had a wonderful idea in the middle of the night once, got out his pad and pencil, and wrote it down. He went back to sleep—slept like a baby. He woke up, and he had written: “boy meets girl.”

Something like this actually happened for me, but it went the other way: it was actually good. It was before the novel, The Genesis Code, by John Case came out, and also before another book and movie I’ll mention below.

Not long after I was married, in the middle of the night, I suddenly sat straight up, scaring the hell out of my wife. “What’s wrong?” she yelled. I looked at her and said, “What if they cloned Christ from the blood in the Turin Shroud?” Needless to say, she wasn’t pleased with me, suffering as she did on occasion from insomnia. I made a note of it and went back to sleep.

The next day, I thought about it and decided it was probably too weird, so filed it away.

Then the John Case book came out and I saw it was more or less the same idea. Not long after that another one came out: Jurassic Park.

It was a valuable lesson: the zeitgeist waits for no one, use it or lose it. #


Lee A. Matthias

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