Film Courage: You talk about the three wells in your book [The Three Wells of Screenwriting]. How does someone know which well they should tap into for their story?
Matthew Kalil, Author/Screenwriter: It’s a good question. I can very quickly show…I should quickly explain the three wells so you can see what they are. It’s a very simple concept.
And it’s linked to meditation which we’ve spoken about before. When I slow down the moment of creativity, so if I’m writing and there is this flashing cursor and I’m seeing that flashing cursor in front of me…you know when you’re writing on your document? I can draw from three distinct sources within myself in that moment of creation.
The first is any movies that I’ve seen or anything that I’ve read, books that I’ve read, any media that I’ve consumed that I haven’t created. I call that the external sources well.
Then the other one I can tap into is the imagination well which is like a lightening bolt from above. It’s just imagination, it feels like I made it up. Feels like it came from nowhere. And that’s the imagination well.
And then the third well is the memory well which is my own deep memories that I can tap into. It’s difficult to tap into sometimes but they are mine. They are like my lived experiences. All of my senses are alive when I experienced whatever it was that I experienced. And so those are the three different wells. And when we write we just automatically tap into whichever one we are writing. It depends on what we are writing.
If I say to you very quickly (I’ll just try to do this experiment) imagine a scene set in a cemetery or a graveyard and you have to imagine some images that come to your mind, chances are the first thing you imagine…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
Bio: Matthew Kalil is a writer, director and script editor. He has written and co-written over 40 produced episodes of TV and has received various grants, development funding and awards. Matthew’s productions have been screened and broadcast in Canada, Denmark, Morocco, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Kenya, South Africa, Thailand, the United States and the United Kingdom. Since receiving his MA in Screenwriting, he has been teaching, writing and mentoring students for close to 20 years. Matthew has developed a unique system of screenwriting theory that helps beginners as well as established screenwriters get in touch with their creative cores. His workshops have touched and inspired thousands of participants. His gentle and insightful script editing guidance has helped many writers realize the stories they were always trying to tell.
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