Investment, Fictionalizing, What’s the Point


  • Emotional risks, digging
  • What does making this cost you? what are you revealing about yourself?
  • Staying with the project – improving this story not going off to the next idea.
  • Thickening/deepening/layering project – metaphor, allegory, connotation and reference – each element (word, image, sentence, shot, setting) should be working on multiple levels.
  • Clarify the center (concept, point, emotional impact) – everything is in service of this.


  • If you are writing from life, change all names.
  • Intensify – neaten real story to make your point clearer. Don’t have to stay faithful to what really happened. Merge characters – limit their number, think of their functions.
  • Write what you know helps increase depth and telling detail but also think about how this small, intimate story can have general/universal implications.

What’s the Point?

Go through your draft (text/plan/storyboard) scene by scene, sentence by sentence, line of dialog by line of dialog, image by image, shot by shot and ask what is the point of this? What work is it doing? What is its function? Why is it here?

Write the point on a sticky note and stick it on the script.

  • Is it a hook, inciting incident, plot point?
  • Is it a surprise or a reversal?
  • Is it a scene – why have you set the scene here, could it be set elsewhere? What does the setting add?
  • Does it describe a location or person? Is the language telling, unusual, precise?
  • Does it introduce a person, a theme, an enigma? – What person, theme, enigma?
  • Does it continue to reveal a person, a theme, an enigma?
  • Does it give information?
  • Does it foreshadow events?
  • Does it give back story?
  • Does it give closure?
  • etc.etc.

At the end of this process – you should have a better idea of the way scenes, people and single words are functioning in your script – what’s working, what can be cut, what needs to be strengthened/lengthened


  • What do you know about the player, how can you know more?
  • What traps can you set, emotional, psychological?
  • Did players/participants do what you expected? Why? Why not?
  • How can you predict player/participant actions?
  • How/why are you manipulating the player/participant?

Caveat: All of these suggestions/rules can be broken!