It’s a Wonderful Life

December 23rd, 2010 by Ron

The Script Blogger

It’s a Wonderful Life


Still probably one of the most original Christmas movies, even though it was made over sixty years ago; but this festive Blog is not about Frank Capra’s Oscar nominated film but about being a screenwriter at Christmas.

The great thing about being a screenwriter is it can take you anywhere.

In the last few years it has taken me from the destruction of the Christmas Day Asian Tsunami, to the rolling hills of Dakota in the late nineteenth century, the foreboding alleys of East London when Jack the Ripper roamed the streets, to the current war in Afghanistan, to the cruelty at Guantanamo Bay and even to a battle two thousand years ago between the Celts and the Romans.

Recently I was in Kentucky and Beijing at the same time as I worked on two different screenplays for two different producers.

Currently I am on the Dark Side of the Moon, in Nigeria and thirteenth century England; such diversity could only be achieved by a writer.

Writing can take you anywhere, but most surprisingly it has taken me to London, Franklin Indiana and to Hollywood.

You couldn’t make it up.

In many of the places my scripts have taken me the characters I met were fictitious or historical, but not so in London, Franklin, or come to that, in Hollywood.

The characters in those places were not only real; they were people making movies. I met producers, directors, actors, other writers and company executives.

It is amazing where writing stories can take a person but that is only one side of the coin; as a writer it is amazing where you can take your audience.

There should be no limit to your imagination, nothing is impossible for your characters; there are no restrictions on your space time continuum or the places you include in your stories.

The only limitations are the ones you set yourself.

This week is Christmas week, regardless of it being something you celebrate for religious reasons or not, it is difficult not to be caught up in the euphoria of Christmas parties, giving presents, receiving presents or maybe the sadness of people who live alone.

For a writer it is a wonderful time to be observant.

Currently in the UK we can watch the faces of hundreds of people on the TV news waiting at airports because of cancelled flights due to the snow, or at railway stations looking despondently at notice boards listing cancelled or delayed trains where departure times should appear.

The queues of traffic progressing a mile in five hours along a blocked highway and the kids risking life and limb descending down a steep snow covered hill on a metal tray they have borrowed from their mother’s kitchen.

If you have had enough of the depressing news on the TV, just watch your relations and friends’ behaviour at Christmas parties, particularly office parties, or their demeanour when opening presents and receiving something they hate or even worse a gift from somebody they forgot.

The greed and poor manners displayed by some guests at the Christmas Dinner and the acceptance of their performance by others.

Everywhere you look at Christmas it is a time that is full of wonderful ammunition for a writer to incorporate into a screenplay, at some point in the future. It is a wonderful time to see people at their best and at their worse.

Enjoy the festive season and the antics of all those you meet.

In another week it will be the January Sales and another place to observe the kindness and meanness of people sometimes witnessed in the flash of a look, a turn of a head or a word of encouragement or derision.

It is a wonderful life full of opportunities for observant writers.

Thank you everyone for the material I will use in the coming year.

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