In the last weekend I was part of an amazing screenplay workshop; it was taught by Ricardo Tiezzi. He’s screenwriter and professor, he has written many winner series and features. Tiezzi also worked as screenwriter for TV stations like: Rede Globo, Band / Nickelodeon, FOX, GNT.
The workshop was a great learning, but among the subjects he taught, I want to highlight here something of indispensable to the screenwriting, the Techné.
Techné is a term in philosophy which resembles epistēmē in the implication of knowledge of principles, although techné differs in that its intent is making or doing as opposed to disinterested understanding.
I’ll simplify this, we can say techné is the art of doing without doing. Be the Creator of your very world and don’t be present on it; I mean, do not be seen by the “common” people, in our case, by the viewers; the Creator is only seen by the sensitives, those who read up on and find out the Creator’s code in the details of his work.
Techné can be seen in the details which talk alone or in the dialogues which talk, however wanting say another thing; a subtle affirmation about what the screenwriter wants the receptor understands.
To make clear as possible, better I show the Techné in the same way which Professor Tiezzi has shown us: through the analysis. I’ll talk about two movies which were analyzed in the workshop. Let’s start with the Devil’s Advocate.
This feature begins, and in a few seconds we know who is our main character: a guy who is sitting next Kevin Lomax looks down, and what does he sees? Lomax is cross legged; he’s impatient, but what does he wears on his feet? A so fancy shoe I don’t even know its name. See? It isn’t typical for a man, for the most of men shoe is shoe, however, to Lomax that’s different; he’s extremely vain. We get it! Here you are; our main character is a vainly ocean.
I said above Lomax is impatient, yes, he is, but there’s more in this impatience if you’re able to translate the Techné in the right way – He has a feeling of certainty; Lomax is absolutly certain about the innocence of his client.
Here you see the first rupture, the conflict: the girl’s testimony reveals sexual abuse from the part of the Kevin’s client, with deep details. Lomax realizes – his client is horny with the girl’s testimony, his client rubs the table, like it were the female sexual organ.
Kevin’s world is falling apart; now he knows, he’s defending a son of a bitch. Here we can see the external and internal of Lomax in fighting, one against another (I’ll talk about this in another article). The external of Lomax wants to be a great advocate, the guy who never lose, the vain person. The internal of Lomax says him to not defend a bad man, because it isn’t right – we hate to do that, but the external says him: yes, we hate to do that, however we love the results of that – status and money!
It’s a heart in conflict; that’s Techné; in other words, talking with images what the characters are not saying with their voices. But we can see this kind of example in dialogues too. In the feature, Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood is William Munny, a man who needs forgiveness, who suffers because of lost of his wife and because of his dark past.
You must consider all of your characters like they were star constellations, thus, they must illuminate his main character. It’s what happens here. Check out.
Do you remember I said William Munny suffers because of his dead wife? The Ned’s words enter in deep touch with the William’s interior. In the most clear translation of Techné, Ned says: “I have a wife, you haven’t.” After that, Willian feels bad, obviously.
You’re the Creator of your very world and the game rule is to be present, likewise, no one can see you on it; that’s the Techné!
Devil’s Advocate Screenplay: (http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/devils_advocate.pdf)
Unforgiven Screenplay: (http://www.screenplaydb.com/film/scripts/unforgiven.pdf)