I keep up with reading the blog of Dean Wesley Smith. He writes about writing, and about the business of writing. I try my best to learn by absorbing.
One of the things that he emphasizes is that you can apply lessons from other areas to writing. Specifically, he often cites NBC’s The Voice as a way for writers to learn. Now, I haven’t watched The Voice, because my husband can’t stand singing shows. (He doesn’t like musicals either. I blame whatever teacher told him when he was young that he couldn’t sing.) But I do try to keep an eye out for lessons elsewhere.
And, the other day, I found an interview with a director and actress about a movie that was filmed in one take. No gimmicks, no tricks – 138 minutes in a single take.
Of course they practiced, rehearsed, blocked and planned. But the final cut is the uncut length of a single run through. The director, Sebastian Schipper, had this to say:
I think one of the least important things you need for making a film whether you’re an an actor or director is your brain. One of the most important things is your intuition and to get into the flow and really understand. That’s what makes a film radiate. Your brain can get in the way so that you’re controlling everything and eliminate mistakes, so that all of a sudden your job as a director is to always make everything clean.
And when I read that paragraph, I thought of Dean. This director, this creator, in my mind, rephrased one of Dean’s frequent admonishments to writers about not letting critical voice take over your writing.
Beyond that, the idea of filming in one continuous take is akin, though not exactly similar, to writing into the dark. Even though they practiced this film, they didn’t rewrite the final take. Its final form was defined as it was created. No editing. No oversight committee.
There is inspiration everywhere, if you just take the time to notice.