The Creative Brain And The Gift Of Stories by Dr. Connie Shears, Author and Chapman University Professor

Film Courage: In The Science of Screenwriting, what’s your favorite chapter or maybe a chapter you felt was most challenging?

Dr. Connie Shears, Associate Professor, Chapman University, Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences; Psychology: I think my favorite chapter is one because we got to give the overview of the dance we were going to try to do for the potential screenwriter or anyone really who is interested in why movies are so fascinating. Why human beings will go into a dark place with dozens of total strangers and sit quietly for hours. I mean that behavior alone is worth a good thorough psychological investigation.

So in Chapter 1 I think we had a lot of fun building up what we were going to do in the rest of the book.

But I like the chapter that is on the creative stages of the screenwriter. That’s a chapter that involved quite a bit of research in studying how the creative process itself plays out in any artist, in any creative act. But in screenwriting, the importance of the story itself.

So you had asked [Paul Joseph Gulino, the co-writer of the book] a question about yes or no, if you focus on the audience would that make your screenplay a success. My answer would be a flat out no! You must have the story. The story is what will make your screenplay a success, the ability to pace your story, to weave your story, to tell your story in a way that’s respectful, even playful with the human brain that is going to be processing it. That will give your story the attraction and the further success. But without the story, you can play people all you want. If you don’t have something to tell them, there is no reason to engage.

And in the chapter on the creative processes The Stages of Creativity, I got to do quite a bit of research on what we know about creativity. Creativity is considered the ultimate cognitive process. So we do all of these things in our brain, right? We pay attention, we perceive all of our different sensory…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

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