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Home » Archives » March 2007 » Not a Theme: "Funny Things People Do"
[Previous entry: "Theme-ophilia"] [Next entry: "I Think the Sheriff is Steamed"]

03/09/2007: Not a Theme: "Funny Things People Do"

Observant readers will note that the "Who is Jane" header on this page has changed to reflect my new position on Battlestar Galactica. Now, I am still involved with Andy Barker P.I., of course, so you need to watch that too, starting on March 15. (You can also check it out here!)

Battlestar is a blast -- a great room and a great show runner, making the best show on television. So much fun I cannot express it. Really.

But I can talk more about the importance of theme in a spec script! While we're on the topic, I just want to warn you about something I used to do, early in my career. I could convince myself, quite skillfully, that any two stories were thematically linked. I'd have an A-story in place, and I'd try to come up with a B-story. As soon as I'd have an idea for one, I'd declare it themic because both stories dealt with, um... "Lies!" or "Secrets!" Well, an awful lot of stories have lies and secrets. They're perfectly good themes, but they're better when they're cut into tailored suits, not thrown over stories as if they were horse blankets.

Also beware of using word play in place of a genuine theme. Check-kiting and kite-flying both have "kite" in 'em. Doesn't make 'em themically linked. This is an exaggeration, but it's not far off from what a writer eager to locate a theme will settle for.

So give it some thought. If you really want two stories to resonate with each other, engineer the theme, don't just mine for it after the fact.

Lunch: bacon cheeseburger. Ate every bite of it, too. Yummy.


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