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Mark McIlrath's Blog (136)

The Revelation of Unspoken Thought

 - Is that not the definition of Drama?

Is your skill as a dramatist the subtlety with which the undertones of thought + feeling are conveyed?

Direct statement being antithetical to our experience of what Drama is - namely a collaboration in which the spectator completes the narrative which the characters play out before him/ her. …


Added by Mark McIlrath on September 4, 2018 at 16:10 — No Comments

The Solipsist.

Write a Step Outline for a screenplay in 10 chapters.

1.  Memory of Things Past

Your protagonist dunking something in his/ her morning coffee.

2.  Strange Exile.

3.  The Reality of Deceit

4.  The World is Not Respectable

5.  The Wicked Animal

6.  Self-Consciousness is Murder

7.  I Rejecting Me.

8.  Choosing Delusion

9.  The Solidarity of…


Added by Mark McIlrath on July 23, 2018 at 15:24 — No Comments

Milton's God

Screenwriting Ex.

1. The Devil I Am.

Write a 2 - 3 page Synopsis about a Man/ Woman who finds out he's the Devil.

He doesn't want to be.  

Initially comic - think through his line of action.

What is he required to do for this 'job'.  What actions?

What are the obstacles?  How hard does he try to resist?

Can the Comedy/ Farce evolve into…


Added by Mark McIlrath on July 18, 2018 at 14:53 — No Comments

Macbeth & Nietzsche

1. The Present.

Adapt the story of Macbeth where the protagonist is Nietzsche.

- Rewatch Welles' + Kurosawa's version. 

i.  Or take King Lear + the Kozintsev film.

(Why not watch his Hamlet too?)

2.  Medea.

Write a Short film (10 - 15 minutes) based on Euripides Medea - but within the context of Brexit.

If Euripides isn't working for you - maybe try Seneca, Grillparzer or Alvaro's…


Added by Mark McIlrath on July 12, 2018 at 14:39 — No Comments

Odysseus in Belfast

1. Read Homer's Odyssey.

- List the Episodes.

2. Set the Action in your own town/ city in the Present.

- Choose from the Episodes those which serve your purposes - thinking about Locations.

Think of Walter Hill's The Warriors.

Don't be put off by Joyce - you can tell this story in Bergmanesque individual drama (Chamber Films) - reducing the cast to a minimum.

3.  Time

Could this be a…


Added by Mark McIlrath on July 12, 2018 at 14:30 — No Comments

Pirandello+ Exercise

Screenwriting Ex.

Write a 2 - 3 page Synopsis for a feature script where your protagonist discovers s/he is a character in a Writer's comedy - though s/he wants to think of her life as a Drama.

- When does she discover she's a character/ fiction?

- What does she do?…


Added by Mark McIlrath on July 12, 2018 at 14:22 — No Comments

Vor Dem Sommerregen

Cause + Effect

– the consequence of action.

Is there meaning in your (story) world. Or are Beginning – Middle – End ultimately made inconsequential by Time, 3 points on top of one another?



Added by Mark McIlrath on July 11, 2018 at 15:37 — No Comments

Hirst in Venice

Hirst has gone. The mega-exhibition. The greatest hits of the Ancient and the pre-modern worlds. Almost like he'd got a researcher to buy the book and decided to copy them. In Venice, sponsored by billionaire kitsch-addict Francois Pinault.

Venice. Culture deracinated from the power + fear of its roots, its rituals, its crimes + punishments. Disneyfied. Emptied of its original meaning - of all meaning, save that of a selling the the corpse as a commodity.

Mayan. Greek. Roman.…


Added by Mark McIlrath on December 19, 2017 at 16:08 — No Comments

Decisions Decisions.

Added by Mark McIlrath on June 17, 2017 at 17:29 — No Comments

Beau Laid


If drama is no more than character revelation through the force of a pressing/ unavoidable plot - then sequencing (SQ) must surely be focused on the conflicts, contradictions and consequences of the character, each SQ revealing his/ her changing view of herself?  The self-revelation, often painful, that she is - or is…


Added by Mark McIlrath on February 11, 2017 at 17:17 — No Comments

The Sincerity of Fools

Careers' Advice for Screenwriters:

The only way you'll find yourself working in a bank will be with a balaclava on.  The only way you'll make money writing is with ransom notes.

The Optimist's Guide to Screenplay…


Added by Mark McIlrath on January 22, 2017 at 17:30 — No Comments

Une oasis d'horreur dans un désert d'ennui

Give a Fool a Cross + he'll Mistake Himself for a Messiah.

Script Editor/ Screenwriter seeking salvation.

So you've read Vogler.  Then Campbell.  Then Fuch's The Death of…


Added by Mark McIlrath on January 11, 2017 at 15:30 — No Comments

All Roads Lead to Hell

'Nichts gibt so sehr das Gefulh der Unendlichkeit als wie die Dummheit'

Ex 1.  Day 1.


Get the group to form a circle -…


Added by Mark McIlrath on September 27, 2016 at 19:00 — No Comments

The Dialectics of Failure


Why are screenwriters so precious about defining what their work means? We avoid talk of meaning with an almost superstitious reverence - that by exposing it it will destroy the writer's muse.  Is this not ridiculous?

Let's put 1…


Added by Mark McIlrath on June 27, 2016 at 16:00 — No Comments

Friends of Script Editors.

Yes - the film script editor has many friends - particularly those you hardly know.

People you met - briefly - at film festivals, at scriptwriting conferences, at film workshops - in those days when you were so avid to network, so impressed by the American tutors and their proselytising of the sub-80 IQ 'Frank Daniel' method of Want…


Added by Mark McIlrath on May 26, 2016 at 15:30 — No Comments

Towards a Dramaturgy of Solipsism

Is there any other?

What would you rather watch - an action-heavy genre piece with paper-thin stereotypes or Fellini's 8½, Antonioni's Red Desert, and Has' Hourglass Sanitorium?  Not that I'm loading the dice.…


Added by Mark McIlrath on May 19, 2016 at 15:00 — No Comments

Buddha With Psychosis

Mystery Play.

If you want to write a screenplay - if you have a story - then structuring it like a Mystery Play - but doing so without drawing any overt attention to that fact - is a more interesting way of shaping both it and the audience's experience, drawing on more than 1 level of the conscious/ unconscious narrative story trove…


Added by Mark McIlrath on March 20, 2016 at 15:30 — No Comments

Serial Killer in Arcadia


High Art.…


Added by Mark McIlrath on February 22, 2016 at 16:00 — No Comments

Hochschule für Ketzer

                                               'All great Truths begin as blasphemies'.


Copyists - plagiarists - mannerists of…


Added by Mark McIlrath on February 14, 2016 at 18:00 — No Comments

Hitchhiking In Hell

'Artistic discipline is a way of refusal.  Technique in theatre and the attitude that it presupposes is a continual exercise in revolt, above all against oneself, against one's own ideas, one's own resolutions and plans, against the comforting assurance of one's own intelligence, knowledge, and sensibility.  It is the practice of a voluntary and lucid disorientation in the search for new points of orientation...To…


Added by Mark McIlrath on December 31, 2015 at 19:30 — No Comments


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