writing as acting: john august

Last fall I took a writing workshop with Daniel Wallace, a man who knows a thing or two about bringing books to the big screen. The film rights to Wallace’s novel, “Big Fish”, was purchased by Columbia Pictures. Steven Spielberg sat on the project for a while but it was Tim Burton who eventually directed Ewan McGregor in the starring role.

When Wallace started applauding the talents of the screenwriter who adapted the novel, John August (Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), I felt a little smug and did a knowing nod. I’ve followed August and his blog for a few years now and lately I find myself hanging onto his every word.

Author Daniel Wallace

Last week August blogged “in defense of fake tears”. It’s about writing as acting and about feeling your way through it all. “One basic goal of creative writing,” said August, “is to evoke a desired response.”

He said this too:

“Screenwriters are basically actors who do their work on the page rather than the stage. Both professions earn their keep by pretending things are much different than they are. Actors ignore the lights and cameras and missing walls. Writers ignore the missing everything, summoning locations and characters to enact scenes which they can later transcribe….Actors and writers are trying to create moments that feel true, despite being completely invented….Experiencing the moment is what writers do, too.” – John August

John August’s Blog
John August’s Twitter

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  • Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist
    Feb 16, 2010 at 3:01

    I haven’t heard it put like that before – that we basically pull truths out of thin air (If we’re lucky or very very good. i profess to be neither).

    Thanks for the blog rec. I will check it out.

  • Cat
    Feb 16, 2010 at 16:53

    “It’s about writing as acting and about feeling your way through it all.”

    I am neither actor nor writer (even though I claim to “write”), but I LIKE that! I, too, shall check out his blog. Thanks!