Screenwriting 7 – Creativity or Conformity?

There is a reason why contemporary churches choose the songs they do for worship service. Three or four-chord songs with similar verses and easily anticipated choruses allow all members to access the music and include their voice.

(Digression: This differs from the way churches used to choose songs over four hundred years ago. The style was virtuousic and the form often challenging. But these songs were sung by trained choirs.)

Church Choir Van Eyke

But back to contemporary churches. The format of current worship songs are constructed for a reason: to appeal and include a wider audience.

The same rule applies to movies. There are not a lot of people going to certain B movies or genre movies for a reason: it does not appeal or include the wider group. It is a motion picture made for a small audience that enjoys a certain type of entertainment.

A good example of this would be Upsteam Colour, Pandorum, and Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus. On the other hand, the LEGO Movie appealed to a wide audience. Children, parents and grandparents all loved the LEGO Movie.

In his article here, Jacob Krueger poses a question: do we dive into creativity or allow the structure to inform us? Krueger, the author, writes, “there are two right ways to build with Legos and there are also two right ways to build a film.”

Comparing film to LEGO’s helps me frame the question in a concrete way. They can be built free-form or with instructions.

Often I believe that creativity is the obvious better answer to any art project I start on my own. But I have had on and off success with my own creative stints. Sometimes I need a driving deadline and a lot of pre-determined structure to be able to produce any art or writing at all.


Same with LEGO’s. I have started many creative and thrilling¬†MOC’s (My Own Creations). Some of them I finished, some of them I abandoned. But when I opened a new LEGO box on Christmas and looked at the instructions, my heart immediately started pounding and I went to work right away.


Featured Image: Geopolitical Child Watching the Birth of a New Man by Salvador Dali


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