Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ideas- Crazy Writer Terminology

I mentioned something about writers and executives loving obscure terminology when talking about ideas, so my friend Steve Williams sent me this list of sayings he banned from a movie he directed for disney. I added a couple of sayings I've heard over the years too. I'd love to hear more from your own experiences!

If you have any story bibles for cartoon shows, they'll be chock full of crazy talk.

"Let's run it up the flagpole and see if it sticks"

"We need a Scooby Beat here"

"We need to lay in a pipeline..."

From Steve (also known as Spaz):

"This is bald, but..." (the whole idea isn't there yet, but here's a start...)

"what's the story arc" ( supposedly all characters need an "arc";
beginning/middle/end; and apparently so does the story)

"internal logic" ( the public won't get it)

"it's a buy" (idiots sign off on it)

"it has no payoff" (who knows; I still can't figure out if it's a gay term)

"yelling is never funny, spaz" (this is what a Disney exec told me)

"it needs a turn" (the story is linear and needs a twist; why? don't ask me)

"I'll knit it together" (put 2 paragraphs together)

"it dovetails nicely" (segues into another idea)

"if you pull that string, it all unravels" (gay term again, about dangling ideas')

"too much pipe" ( this one always got me; i think it means the opposite of "it needs a turn")

"it's just chuffa" ( a hebrew term for "fluff")

Anyway, this kind of talk is a way to avoid directly coming up with actual specific and fresh ideas for a story. Actual creative people don't have trouble just presenting their story ideas in English but phonies do. Phonies need a secret language to hide the fact that the story is all formula.

Actually once in a blue moon, an executive - if he wants something really specific that doesn't depend upon committee approval, he will
actually use pure undiluted English - as in this famous quote:
"Aladdin needs to be more F#$@able"