Screenwriting : Today's Wish and Creative Tip by Laurie Ashbourne

Laurie Ashbourne

Today's Wish and Creative Tip

Listen to TED Hi, I’m Laurie, and I’m addicted to TEDTalks and I want you to know, it can happen to you too. TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading and those videos that get spread are (TEDTalks) a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference. Given that the offering of these ‘best’ 18 minute segments seem to be endless, it begs to question: How these speakers are able to engage so many across a broad spectrum – and often about fairly bland or cerebral topics. The answer is simple, they pull us in first with a story and then slip in the topic and come full circle back to how it ties into the story they started with. Whether you realize it or not, your assignment as a screenwriter is to do this exact same thing and you have a lot more time to do so. BUT it’s those first moments that matter most. Those moments where your audience is immersed and hooked enough to sit through the ‘meat of the message.’ Our brains are hard-wired to listen to stories and the number one thing that makes a story compelling is the uncertainty of the outcome – opposing forces (conflict) that makes the outcome unknown. This is nothing new you may say, ‘we know we have to start in compelling way.’ The key to making these opening moments of conflict compelling is by making them personal. The best TEDTalks not only immediately launch into setting the scene, they focus what you imagine in the scene to what matters and they do it on a personal level – a primal, universal level anyone can relate to. There’s no laundry lists describing a scene and more importantly, by pinpointing the personal, the stories that open these talks are unique no matter how common the issue being discussed is – because every person is unique. So while there may be no more original stories, there will always be original takes on universal themes. Watch this TEDTalk – find the process described above and stop procrastinating. Now to what this post is really about. I fully admit that I feed the procrastination monkey by writing short snippets here and elsewhere, and even by watching a TEDTalk, but in my defense it’s the slow build of facing the piles of files on my desktop. It’s the stretch before my workout. Go write for 20 minutes without interruption, take a break and repeat. May all of your blocks be monkey-free.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Love love love TEDTalks! I have not seen Tim Urban yet—being the procrastinator that I am. Lol! Thanks for posting this, Laurie. :)

David Levy

Been watching TED talks for years! I was in Edinburgh, Scotland While a TED conference was going on. One of the speakers happened to stay a room next to me in the converted home into a hotel we stayed in. I found out as we both used Twitter to mention the hotel we were staying in. Chatted for a few moments. Their talks always know how to captivate me.

Richard "RB" Botto

Terrific share, as per usual Laurie. Thanks for posting!

Laurie Ashbourne

Of course, RB! I actually enjoy it. ;-) And Patricia, as I said, I feed the procrastination monkey by writing things other than my most pressing deadlines, I happen to work incredibly well under pressure because I have a finely tuned sense of exactly how long it will take me, so I can put it off until I hit that window. But even when procrastinating writing, I'm writing. That's where stacking projects comes in really handy. So one can be in outline mode, one can be in rewrite mode, one can be in pitch mode, one can be in chapter mode, one can be in first draft mode... (yes there are that many and more), when one needs time to simmer, another is ready to be stirred -- but the interesting thing is, the more you write the more you are able to write. Good luck with #3!

Richard "RB" Botto

You're very much like me, Laurie. I love sharing content on social media. Anything I can do to help others - and share a little of what interests me.

Bill Costantini

I love TEDx Talks, too. My favorite one of all time is Sam Berns' "My Philosophy for a Happy Life". Mr Berns was 17 when he died of Progeria, an advanced aging disease. His words are precious, profound and inspirational.

Laurie Ashbourne

Very inspiring, Bill! (And Sam is great too)! Seriously, 3 simple points we should all live by in his stead.

Terri Viani

Chiming in as another member of the I "Heart" TedTalks club. =D My faves are Brene Brown's The Power of Vulnerability, Elizabeth Gilbert's Your Elusive Creative Genius, Ken Robinson, Do Schools Kill Creativity, and Andrew Stanton, The Clues to a Great Story. @Patricia, your comment reminds me of a post novelist Nancy Peacock put up on Facebook recently, about how writers need to slow down, take their time, and not be rushed. =)

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