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06/07/2006 - LEARNING BY DOING PART I
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The British military defines experience as "the ability to recognize a mistake the second time you make it."

As a new screenwriter and even more so as a new filmmaker, the ability to recognize mistakes is a great gift.

Not having a strong enough story (or not having a story at all) is something to be dealt with each time you set out to write a script. And if you've managed to complete a short screenplay that you're planning on filming, before you start planning the shoot make sure you have a story to tell.

Just having a bunch of scenes strung together isn't enough. Even if your dialogue is clever or cool or hip or whatever, if it's not wrapped around a story-even a thin storyline-it is a mistake. And no matter how "good" your short film looks, without a story it will not hold anyone's interest.

In the next few columns I'm going to specify the mistakes new screenwriters and filmmakers fall victim to.

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