Of course I worship the ground Paul Schrader walks on but our writing methods couldn’t be farther apart. I would be interested though in seeing if I’d make the cut for his screenwriting class. I’d think he’d let me in if I disclosed my insecurities over having an average penis. That would make a fascinating discussion over 10 weeks.
But Paul’s method is a little too structured. Naturally, writing 101 tells you to utilize metaphor in place of a real world problem. As Schrader said, fiction allows us to see all the drama and complexities play out through the filter of metaphor. I also agree that we need limitations in art (Nicholas Meyer has echoed a similar sentiment). But I think that’s where our philosophies diverge.
To me, I approach art, or writing, as an ongoing activity. It very much exits in the present. That’s why I rarely take time to develop a story. If I have a concept, I run with it. Of course, like Schrader, I filter my own concerns, thoughts, and insecurities into the story and watch it play out. But the spontaneity is where the fun is.
That’s why I wish I was a television writer. Give me a story and a deadline and let’s see what happens. I’m not saying that it will be any good, but I’d certainly have a good time!
Maybe my writing suffers because of this “method”. I don’t know. But this was an interesting lecture by Schrader.