A developer has to be a good technical fellow of course.
Screenwriter must be creative.
Is that all ?
A developer must be creative. Because creativity is the heart of human activity. Combining what you know to build something that does not exist yet.
A screenwriter must master some methods.
Either in the Hollywood business or in the indie productions. A writer must have a sense of what are the basic principles of human mind. Even if he wants to go against them. How many wannabe screenwriters have I heard saying : “I don’t want to lean gimmicks/tricks or how to do a movie, I just want my imagination and my guts to guide me”.
Yeah, right ! Your movie doesn’t work because you don’t even know what a dialog is.
There is more than one way to code a feature. And There is more than one way to write a scene.
In front of a blank page both the developer and the screenwriter are the same. They need inspiration.
Brainstorming, finding idea and a purpose is the key. Sometimes it happens really fast. But there is always a moment when they stop and choose an angle of attack.
If they don’t they create cliche…
Cliche appears when a screenwriter relies to much on what’s already in his mind.
Beware of your memory and imagination. It’s just a combination of what is already there from experience or from other people’s work.
But sometimes other people’s work is not appropriate for the situation you work on.
And for a developer, always attacking the same problem with the same solution can be dangerous. Especially if he doesn’t unit test what he codes, thinking that it’s basic.
Sometimes it’s not their fault…
The Good The Bad and The Ugly
- The producer orders a movie to a screenwriter (in Hollywood and Europa Corp. at least)
- The director changes every part of the screenplay except for the color of the main character eyes (in France at least)
- The editor changes the order and meaning of the scenes
- The sound designer and music composer adds their style
- The viewer has no idea what was in the screenwriter’s mind
A developer has also a project manager, co-developers, integrator, testers and finally a user.
One of the worst movies are those when the universe is not coherent. This is a proof that the screenwriter has not taken care of reading it’s own work.
Even in a science fiction movie, you must be coherent. That’s how you make people follow your story.
What’s more annoying than a character finding a car exactly when he needs it, with no previous reference to it ?
In software development the coherence is checked by code review and unit tests. Code duplication is one of my nightmare.
Constraints For Creativity
To much freedom when writing is never a good help for inspiration. Constraints are good.
They help the developer to focus on the essential and to respect budget.
They help the screenwriter writing stories with a meaning, not only good puns.
When you feel stuck with too many options : put yourself under some arbitrary constraints. For example : I must finish this before 5pm. I must use only one dialog in this scene…
At the end I would say that even a developer must have a “Style”. A way of coding that is smart yet understandable.