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Linear Screenplay?

Posted: Oct 17, 2011 9:03 am
by Kippy
Even when writing a screenplay about historical events, I think it’s expected that some theatrical / artistic elements may be fictional or “exaggerated”. Basically, they help keep the story entertaining while also being true to the telling. Afterall, unless there's an eyewitness of the event, no one really knows for certain anyway.

That being said, would anyone disagree that screenplays about historical figures (i.e. Napoleon, Julius Ceaser, etc) MUST BE linear and chronological?

Case in point, my character gives an inspiring speech that would be perfect for my inciting incident. Historically, the speech is thought to have been given the year before his death. But I want to include the speech toward the beginning of my story. It’s more entertaining. It dosen't detract from the life and purpose of my character, it just happens outside the "accepted" time-line. Any thoughts there…

Again, not a documentary. Simply a story about the life of a remarkable man.

Re: Linear Screenplay?

Posted: Oct 17, 2011 9:13 pm
by Chris Huntley
There are no reasons you cannot tell a biography of historical drama non-linearly. However, filmmakers often tell historical stories linearly because of the unfamiliarity of the historical and/or biographical material to many audiences. Adding non-linear storytelling might make it difficult for an audience to follow.

Re: Linear Screenplay?

Posted: Jan 02, 2012 7:52 am
by Havel
Linear timelines help to keep things clear. You can tell it non-linearly, just don't confuse the audience.