Wednesday, June 04, 2008

An eye opener for screenplay writers.

In one of the Tora-san films that I saw recently, the lead character Tora-san befriended a famous clay sculptor.

One night, while they were getting drunk together, the sculptor spoke at some length about how he approached his craft.

It was the best, most liberating piece of advice I had ever heard for screenplay writing.

It was written by the great Yoji Yamada.

"While I knead clay, form is spontaneously born. Thinking about what form to adopt, or what colour to use, makes little sense. I wait until a form appears. But spontaneous forms don't come easily. While wanting to make good ceramics, or waiting for the praise of others, our work is poor. The secret is in digging. Something beautiful is hiding in the clay. It's asking us to dig it out... begging us."

There it was. The hair on my arms stood on end; I kept skipping the dvd back, again and again, to the little soliloquy made by that drunken old scultpor.

Whatever we're doing, be it medical research or aeronautics or sculpting clay or even writing a script for a film, there's one thing we would do well to remember.

And that is, our job is not to invent, but to search. To "dig" until God's truth and beauty reveal themselves.