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Achieving Cinematic Vision

August 11th, 2017

I am coming to the end of my course with the ‘Writers Bureau’ and I am writing a screen play for BBC TV entitled ‘Punjabi Girl’. My screen play is about a young Asian girl named Sunita who is trafficked and sold to a talented but quite disturbed musician. The biographies of the two characters provide a dichotomy of love, hate and passion. Finally after travelling the continents of Europe with an entourage of musicians and in a shocking revelation Sunita gains her freedom.

I find that writing for film is totally different from most other genres and it requires pictorial or cinematic vision. The story should enfold visually. How do I achieve this: First, of course, I have the outline of my story and biographies of the main characters sketched out in my notebook. Then I do what I call ‘writing in my head,’ this can occur at any time and in any place. Visions of my characters’ actions come to my mind. It is quite detailed pictorially even down to the colours that my characters are wearing, the time of day, the light and the camera angles. Then my characters speak providing me with dialogue. After a while I come out of my dream state and I write in long hand for as long as I am able; finally typing up and editing on my laptop.

The thing about writing dialogue for film is that it seems to be quite lengthy as you write it down but when you come to read it back and time it, it can be quite disappointing as to how much it has shrunk time wise. When you consider time for the story to unfold, it is essential that you keep to certain specific margins.

As I progress with my writing sometimes life gets in the way. I come down to earth as the washing up piles up in the sink and the garden needs attention. The good thing is that while I am engaged in these tasks I can write – ‘in my head’ of course.

I am near the end of part two of my screen play – so wish me luck and watch this space.

Elise Jones



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