Premise for a screen idea

At the heart of this week’s study was the conception of a 40-50 word premise for a short screen idea. I started by looking for ideas that would challenge me creatively, yet be practical enough to make into a 15 minute short film. In particular, I was looking for ideas that were grounded in real-life situatlons, preferably involving some kind of life struggle that would translate into an authentically told story on screen.
Of the ideas I came up with, the one I chose felt the most filmic and also had the potential for being a moving character study. Focusing on the protagonist and her goal of crossing the city on foot at night, I used the four questions within the task brief to help frame the premise. This was a particularly fruitful approach to my writing. Reading the chapter ‘Why?’ in John Yorke’s Into the Woods had a profound effect on my understanding of storytelling as I worked on this task. It opened my eyes to why we tells stories. That they act as maps, helping us create order out of the chaos of human existence. In particular, his statement that ‘every tale is an attempt to lasso a terrifying reality, tame it and bring it to heel’ (2014: 230).
As I worked on the screen idea, I realised that the story encapsulated in my premise was a metaphor for something much deeper than I had originally imagined. Something primal, mythic – a woman wakes up in the woods, surrounded by wolves and ogres. What is the ‘terrifying reality’ in the premise? How is it to be ‘tamed’ and ‘brought to heel’ by the story? Two questions I shall explore next week as I start work on the story outline.



YORKE, John. 2014. Into the Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them. London: Penguin Books.

What storytelling means to me and why I'm interested in being a storyteller for the screen

Storytelling for me is about taking something fundamentally true about the human condition and exploring it through the imagination.

We process experience through storytelling. Through stories we are able to share passions, fears, joys, sadness, and we are able to find common ground with other people. I like the way in which stories transport us into different worlds and open our minds to new experiences and perceptions of other people and the way they think and feel. Stories provide a link with mythic archetypes, they connect us to universal truths about ourselves and the world. They allow us to transcend time and place, shape our perspective of what it means to be human.

When you enter a story, something magical happens, and for me entering a story on screen is where the greatest magic happens. Watching a film can have a profound effect upon me. Film at its highest level is close to the condition of dreaming, it connects at a subconscious level through the movement of images and sounds. All of that, and the fact that writing screenplays is simply just great fun and immensely satisfying.