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When Tom Hank’s character in Cast Away, Chuck Noland, began sailing away from the island at the end of the film, why was Wilson left out at sea?
Every creative choice by the writer is purposeful. In Cast Away, the writer, William Broyles Jr, who also wrote Apollo 13, Planet of the Apes, and Jarhead, made the decision that Wilson, Chuck’s beloved volleyball and companion of isolation, would be lost at sea.
—But, why? Why couldn’t he take Wilson back with him; why couldn’t the humor of the situation in which he brings Wilson back be portrayed at the end of the film? Why couldn’t he leave his boat to save Wilson, swim back, and in that moment realize that he’s delusional? That he is able to leave Wilson behind on the plane, while looking back over his shoulder, on the way back to civilization? Why couldn’t that be the ending?
As writers, we have the power to evoke an emotional response from the stories we tell. For novelists, these decisions are accomplished through the use of plot devices, manipulated through our narrator, or who the story is told through, and through our individual styles.
We’ve discussed the basics of screenwriting. Now, for our 2nd workshop in a series of 8 pitch prep workshops, we will explore the application of literary techniques to screenwriting, and how to analyze the creative decisions we make.
As always, if you have a work in progress, please bring up to 10 pages, in Standard Hollywood Format. This includes any outlines or synopses that haven’t been discussed by the group.