This week, we don’t make it through our usual three topics – we get stuck on the first one! Pete takes us on a great journey discussing how he sold his short film to RADA before it was even written and then wrote 16 pages in one sitting, finishing a pack of cigarettes and a carafe of wine at an old French cafe in Soho. We talk about the dangers of writing in isolation and how difficult it can be for a shy writer to get his work seen. The romantic notion of the creative “lone ranger” is definitely a myth and something Paul admits to. This leads into a discussion of story and Pete talks about tragic figures in Hamlet, Othello and Macbeth. What are the lessons the audience is meant to absorb from these tragic heroes? Shakespearean dramas are very satisfying stories, and their dramatic structure obviously works. But how do we know when a story is broken? What are the elements, when missing, that make a narrative fail? Peter and Paul discuss. Pete’s childhood immersion in theater and literature shaped his current interest in storytelling and film: he is engaged with the big themes of life, such as ambition, betrayal, jealousy. Paul, on the other hand, had an early affinity to the sciences and mathematical endeavor. He loved the payoff of a problem solved, the immediate feedback of a solution. And, until college, Paul viewed the humanities with skepticism, as a lot of “arm waving.” The men discuss these attitudes and Pete makes the point that the study of science often delivers quicker rewards, whereas art and literature are initially inscrutable and need to be pried open to reveal their treasure.
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