Reply To: plotto

Home Forums Writer’s Digest Forum Recommended Resources plotto Reply To: plotto



used by alfred hitchcock

Hitchcock was not a writer. He hired writers and supervised/guided them. And the writer that gave him him breakthrough film, “The Lodger”, did not outline or plan his stories:

“Hitchcock’s first job in film was as a designer of silent movie titles, which led him to work closely with the studio’s writers. It was during this early apprenticeship that Hitchcock learned the fundamentals of writing movie scenarios, and he might have found his calling had his visual flare, technical proficiency, and exposure to the German cinema not made him more ideally suited to becoming a director than a film writer.

At least Michael Balcon, chief of Gainsborough pictures, thought so when he assigned Eliot Stannard to write Hitchcock’s directorial debut, The Pleasure Garden. Stannard was a ten-year veteran of the British film industry with more than fifty scripts to his credit when he wrote Hitchcock’s first five films for Gainsborough, including the breakthrough thriller, The Lodger. Ivor Montagu described Stannard as a consummate professional, whose method “was to sit down and tap it straight out on the typewriter as he thought of it, without change or erasement.” Stannard followed Hitchcock to British International Pictures for two more films where his sure-handed writing freed the director to sharpen the visual skills that quickly set him apart from his contemporaries. ” [emphasis mine]

Hitchcock used many, many writers over his decades as a director, and many book adaptations (ie, many more writers), all of whom had their own methods of writing.

As to the book itself, it was published in 1928, and only recently re-issued. As others (professionals in the world of writing, I might add) have noted, many of the ideas and plot “decision trees” have become outdated over the last 90 years. JMO, but I would think one could easily come up with similar choices should one simply ask, “Well, what if…?”.

helps assemble a complete plot that holds together by suggesting things that would fit, based on context of your previous choices, for you to consider

Just to note – this is exactly how I write, sans any book telling me how to do it. I consider different routes to take, based on what I’ve already written and how well those possibilities could logically fit the story as written. The one that sounds like it could be the most interesting (and fun to write) is the one I generally choose. One doesn’t need an outline to do that – it can be done with or without one. Writer’s choice.