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Who do you write for? Yourself or who YOU think the audience is?

Discussion in 'Screenwriting' started by CountOfComedy, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. CountOfComedy

    CountOfComedy Bronze Member

    A simple enough question which I guess no one will answer or can answer in a simple way. Or won't answer and raise other questions.

    This question is raised thematically and beautifully in a 70s Indian film "Abhimaan" (Pride/Self-Esteem).

    A famous singer visits his original village and hears a country girl sing to herself. He is captivated by the emotions it carries so effortlessly. He asks her what her secret is. The conversation eventually comes around to who to sing for...the famous singer confesses "the public of course, the public is my patron"

    • Country girl (shocked): You sing to please other people?
    • Famous singer (duh!): Who else would I sing to please?
    • Country girl (with childlike innocence and simplicity) - Yourself, of course!
    • Famous singer (has an epiphany): So is that why you sing so beautifully?

    Here is the incident - not subtitled


    This is the thematic dialogue setup for the film. The Famous singer and the Country girl get married, and within a short time her popularity overshadows his, everyone wants to hear only her, he is booed off the stage so the audience can focus on her. Eventually he is completely eclipsed by her, shattering his self-esteem. She loves him and doesn't want to alienate him of course....and then the plot carries on. The film is a beautiful exploration of this theme "Who should an artist create for?"

    If there is one identity of Homo Sapiens, it would be "The Lying Ape" more than the "Naked Ape" or the "Wise Ape". Almost endlessly we tell a version of truth we think others will believe and hide what we feel or know is the real, complete, unadorned truth. Our communication is designed to appeal to "other people". The assumption is we know "other people".

    Is writing for yourself the ultimate mark of respect for the audience? That you treat them with the same respect as you would yourself? But if you write for the audience, can you be sure you really know them?

    From the beginning, Art has posed this as a "Fundamental Question". Not just a simple fable from the 70s to be forgotten.
  2. ...

    ... Bronze Member

    I like to think I write for both. I'm arrogant enough to believe that what interests me interests other people too.
  3. craktactor

    craktactor Moderator

    Everything I write is wholly based on what I would want to see. I am my audience. I am enigmatically narcissistic. :eek:
  4. Lon

    Lon Bronze Member

    ^^^ Ditto.
  5. Jack

    Jack Bronze Member

    If you can't keep yourself interested, then how do you expect to keep others interested.

    So yeah. I agree.
  6. Australis

    Australis Bronze Member

    I agree with the guys above. I come up with a story idea, and entertain myself with elaborating on it over and over until it becomes something. The rough draft (what I call my my very first draft) tells the story I want to tell. Then comes the edit phase, and I begin to weigh up commercial/producer expectations and aim for clarity. To me, that's what the craft is.

    There's another forum I go to where one guy is so determined that hi story and the way he's written it is the BEST THING EVAH that no matter what anyone tells him that you have to play the rules to be in the game, he's convinced himself he's brilliant. Sad, really. He's writing for himself and himself alone, and doesn't realise it.
  7. Thug Waffle

    Thug Waffle Bronze Member

    Yup, this. There's no real point in writing to satisfy others before yourself because there's far too much uncertainty involved in that.
  8. spinningdoc

    spinningdoc Bronze Member

    If that's the one I think it is, I suspect he's indulging in some massive self congratulatorily windup that he thinks is an perfect example of post modernism, when actually he's just a dull tw*t.
  9. Australis

    Australis Bronze Member

    Yep, that's the one! :D Dull tw*t is also an accurate description.
  10. Jack

    Jack Bronze Member

    This is not arrogance. This is common sense.

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