Simple Tools part 2 : Heart of the Replicants
In a previous post I tried to make my own ideas clearer about brains and the huge intellectual process involved in conceiving screenplays. Let’s now have a look to the second and only other tool we have to master : our heart.
Simple tools, brains and heart, and all writing comes down to them.
Rembember that scene in the beginning of Blade Runner when the replicant passes a test ? Later Deckard will have Rachael pass the same Voight Kampff test. Questions made to evaluate the emotional response of the subjects and therefore establish their humanity. « You see a turtle laid on its back in the desert, you don’t help. » Or « Raw oyster and boiled dog at a friends’ buffet».
This scene is to me the core of modern writers main trial. Do we think or do we feel ?
The problem is that writing a screenplay can’t be done without an incredible amount of hours of brain work. Wich is precisely the best way to get our emotional responses submerged and even inhibited.
Yes, thinking makes heart getting cold. Makes our characters treated like puppets. Makes cynical.
Or makes a newbie comes with strategy like « I must make them feel happy or sad, I most provoke an emotional response there. » I’ve been through all this.
In the long and complicate process of writing, we become replicants. And at that very moment we lose the single unique way to establish a true connection with the audience. However hard we work, there is not a single chance to write a meaningful story that way.
Neither by jumping to the page offering our hearts in a honest but naive attempt.
So we can’t write like childs and we should be more than specialists of high level architecture. Let’s take a closer look to what is at stake here.
Heart is an organ, the central one in a human being. But again this is the brain that creates and decode all emotions.
And coding and decoding emotions provoked by our own stories is the core key of communicating with another human. This is the connection, and anything that touches the audience will first have passed through this connection. This is the only road for a writer, the one that can’t be missed.
Among human beings, storytellers are maybe the only corporation that has to make a living through being fully connected to others while having to live with the worst enemy of emotional connection, wich is precisely thinking.
That’s our lives folks. Thinking, elaborate, build, evaluate, structure, organize, anticipate.
Prepare a lot and be spontaneous. Searching the universal crowd through loneliness.
But we should be aware that thinking is realised through dissociation with the emotions we feel. Which causes to lose the freshness and accuracy of the way we decode the emotions in the story we are writing. Makes us blind and deaf, with the best will in the world.
At least myself, and more than often.
So what is a really great writer ? Someones who succeeds in being fresh in the emotional decoding of what he writes.
Someone who just has eyes to see and ears to hear his own production. And feel exactly what emerges from what he writes. Someones who stay tuned with the only bond that ties him to the audience whose time and money he intends to take. Because that’s what they pay for : listening to their own emotional responses and fully experience them.
This is our vital rope through darkness.
Brains in his intellectual aspect is the nemesis of true feelings. Simply stated, you have to deal with an artform whose process kills the single most precious ressource needed.
The war lies in yourself all the time and you experience the challenging unity of two absolute enemies. And you have not only to survive but make them both win. Brains and feelings.
From this you’ll be able to offer a rich, powerful and meaningful emotional adventure to the audience.
The price to pay is only to accept to be the hero of your own process and stay always in touch with the eternal humanity that lies within us all, from the dawn of life.
Be smart, work hard, be an architect, a detective, an engineer, an accountant or a lawyer of your story. But always fear to reach a point where you’d fail the Voight Kampff test and Deckard might retire you.
How ? Ask Wilder and let Dr Dreyfuss be our guide in this matter : « Be a mensch »
Listen to your heart
Not because it could be a wonderful, wise and mystic motto for living.
But simply because if you don’t, they won’t either, and if they don’t, you miss the point of being a writer.
For the single most important character in any story always has been and always will be the audience. And the only way to reach them is to write your story in their heart, which is inside yours.