You should know I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of studying the art and craft of screenplay writing. And no, I’m not giving up my day job to write screenplays. But I have become fascinated by how those who write compelling movies do their work.
You can blame Steven Pressfield, my favorite author. He’s written more than a few things about writing fiction, the structure of stories and what makes excellent narratives.
I’m fascinated by storytelling and movies because both require the magic of holding audience attention. That’s key to great fundraising and marketing.
Capture and hold someone’s attention? Memorable movies and gripping stories do that.
The best marketing and fundraising does that. That’s why I’m exploring the connections between these two crafts.
Anyway, Pressfield turned me on to Blake Snyder. Snyder is rather famous in the screenplay world as a teacher and guru on the how-to of writing screenplays that become compelling movies.
One of Synder’s principles is Keep It Primal. He believes that a great movie is so fundamental, so soul-grounded, so rooted in the core of a person, that it could be understood by a caveman (I’m, of course, resisting any GEICO Insurance references).
To Snyder, the themes, dialog, and visuals are aimed at the heart level of a caveman. You know me, I love how that phrase splashes on my face like a cup of cold water: “Written for a caveman?”
Blake’s not saying this is easy or simple to do. You know exactly how challenging it is to present complex problems in a way that busy people can understand enough, quickly enough.
Think about the movies you love and that stick with you. I suspect the themes and characters are primal. Maybe there are plot twists, complex intrigues and deep characters but the “what’s this about” is probably pretty primal. Hmmm. . . that might make good copy, too.
Keep It Primal.
I’m not ready to say that’s a principle I’d have you embrace. But I like the idea enough to get you thinking about it.
“Keep It Simple” is one of my principles for powerful fundraising and marketing.
None of our clients do “simple” work in changing the world. One and all are solving massively complex problems with thoughtful processes. Yet, when we find ways to explain and communicate these issues in non-complex ways, beautiful things begin to happen in the heart of a donor.
And fun things happen on your bottom line.
Think about “keep it primal.” I’d love to know what your reaction is. And we might talk favorite movies another time. (You can count on hearing more about plotting, stories, and screenplays).
Photo credit: Graeme Churchard