Advice for Writing a Spiritual Scenario: Feeling and Writing Like an Angel
There is a corn field in Iowa, and its owner hears a voice say: “If you build, he will come.” He builds a baseball field there, and famous dead baseball players begin playing there…There is a room in which dreams come true, and a stalker takes ones he chooses there…There is an Indian graveyard; whenever a dead body is buried, it comes to life again…There is an alien in space putting some eggs in the stomach of men, later to be “born” by tearing open the abdomen…
These scenarists are weird people! How do they find these stories, these strange ideas?
The stories of some films are based on real life; others on literature or myths, and many reflect fictional cartoons. Whatever the source, except the real ones, we ask the same question about these stories: Where do they all come from?
Some people believe that these weird things cannot be created by normal brains and must be mentally ill: producers like Bram Stoker, Lovecraft and Stephen King, and authors like Craven, Argento and Del Toro, who deal with zombies, werewolves and vampires. On the other hand, it is obvious that such frightening elements can be seen in many legends, myths and fables of different cultures. It seems that once upon a time such creatures really inhabited the earth; perhaps they are still here. As they still live in our collective subconscious, they receive mention in art works. The authors and producers I mentioned above tell us about the fears of man.
This is also valid for the scenarists who write stories on alien-invaders. Such creatures in science-fiction Hollywood movies of the Cold War era are reflections of Americans’ fears of communism. The word “alien” means extraterrestrial creatures or “foreigner.” It represents the unknown and all things feared.
Fairy of Inspiration
We are connected with everything: the Earth, all living and non-living things, the visible and invisible realms. When we open our internet browsers, through the energy that flows in cables, we connect to a faraway server and can download documents from another computer, send emails and chat online. Similarly, we are connected to everything and everyone via some invisible cables, and we give and take information whether we are aware of it or not. Inspiration is the knowledge we get from this connection which then rationalizes the connection between a human and the whole; so, it is noteworthy.
When we look closely at this process, we see no clear definition of the source of this knowledge. We cannot know or understand which stories or ideas come out of the consciousness of the author, those from an output of the subconscious, or if it comes out of the collective consciousness. Consequently, the phrase “fairy of inspiration” covers all of these sources of muse, and it defines the factors that cause, direct or contribute to creative activities.
The author transforms this muse into “his” work of art. During this process, his subconscious takes charge. Some elements of his subconscious shape the author’s work with or without awareness.
Many people assume this inspiration is only given or comes to artists; however, it acts as a way of communication open to everyone. Without any exception everyone receives benefit from this mechanism one way or the other; people use these ideas in their works, when cooking meals or in their relationships. Thinking the opposite is nonsense: Artists connect to everything with these invisible cords, so do the others. There is no discrimination; the only difference is the theme and its level. Everyone gets inspiration in the subject they find interest in because the information delivered should be beneficial to them. And, this information should also be processed…Because the inspiration wants to come to life.
To Get Inspiration for Writing Scenarios
The person who wants to write scenarios should direct all their attention to this goal. At the moment you decide to do that, the fairy of inspiration understands and brings stories, scenes and the scripts on their wings. If the scenarist candidate filled with enough determination begins writing, the inspiration flows continuously and increasingly.
The level and depth of this muse are not related with the fairy but with the person. If we need inspiration on more interesting and impressive scenarios, we must learn how to focus on it and clean your cord that ties you with everything.
First of all, you should not forget that “you are a scenarist.” If you have not yet written any scenario, you are now looking at the world with the eyes of a scenarist.
Focusing helps you keep the themes you like on your agenda; even if you do not think of them in each minute, you still keep the relationship going.
So, you try to reduce the interferences. For example, when a radio station nears a certain frequency, the channel you want to listen to cannot be heard at first because of the cracking sounds; while when the station gets tuned to the right position, the sound becomes clear. For an artist, the prejudices and the rigid thoughts act as interferences which limit and weaken you. The freer your mind and spirit, the more you get inspiration.
To free the mind and spirit enlarges your individuality and transforms it into “the one that is everything.” Writing deals with people who are brave, coward, indecisive, shy, impulsive, tolerant, open-minded, fanatic, partisans and opponents of violence. Being an author captures the ability to feel like a 4-year-old child or a 72-year-old adult when needed.
Authors who adopt new ideas and situations get quantities more and deeper inspiration. A cup can be filled with water only as much as it can take.
Discover Your Power
Writing a scenario is not an easy thing; however, those who really want to do it can achieve this feat. Everyone has the power to overcome this difficulty, but it is a hidden power. This power, sometimes undiscovered, should be revealed.
Possessing a desire for success and believing in your writing ability is enough.
Anyone new to scenario writing should first of all discover their own power. If you know your own power, then you believe you will succeed in this job. As much as you know your own capability, your anxieties weaken, trust in yourself increases, and you reach success step-by-step.
Your power is not only adequate but much wider, even limitless, because you possess very efficient tools. The first—inspiration—links you with everything and everyone with such a creative fountain that the water always pours, increases continuously, and the more you take the more it gives. Once you are aware of that, there is no need to worry.
Your second weapon is nothing but yourself—your uniqueness!
Everyone has different genes and a singular subconscious. Everyone has grown up under different circumstances. Everyone remains unique and this uniqueness is a precious gift—especially for people involved in the arts. Why? The production of works of art nourishes this uniqueness and obtains its power from individuality.
In our subconscious, you have thousands of moments and hundreds of effects that you cannot remember, such as a face you saw when 2-1/2 years old, danger you experienced or a moment of happiness. In your conscious, you also store billions of moments, millions of words you heard, lots of films and books; all of these form a magnificent richness.
You now sit on a treasure trove, but you think you are poor. All you need to do is to stand up and open that trove.
Now we will try to do that.
Let’s Practice a Little!
So you can understand your power, I will recommend some training for you.
If you have pieces of stories or some scenarios in your mind, just leave them. The goal of this exercise is to show you how much you know about a subject that you have never worked on and how much inspiration you can get.
You will work on the subject of “angels”; I chose this subject because it is difficult enough. Perhaps you do not believe in them like the majority of people or you never had a chance to contact them. If you do not know anything about angels, you will not have empathy with them.
On the other hand, you do hold some information about angels; for example, we know they are sinless. We also know they help us. Especially in Christianity, there is a concept known as a “Guardian Angel,” the creatures who always watch over and protect us.
We also know angels from some films. Lots of films use an angel as one of the leading characters.
Some authors like to make excessive research; for example, Milcho Manchevski read lots of books when he was writing the scenario of Before the Rain. However, Christopher Nolan declared that he did not perform research for Inception; he only observed his own dreams. Naturally, you will use the method which fits you. Even if you do not like doing research, you will need to watch films on that specific subject, if only to avoid making something similar.
By analyzing the existing works, you also learn new things, focus your attention to some hidden points, and you broaden your horizons. In short, this is something necessary and useful to do. If you know the existing films, it will be easier for you to define and tell your own story.
Now, you still do not know what kind of scenario you will write based on angels.
The Main Theme of the Film
Each film tells only one thing. There may be more than one subject in the film, but only one of them the main subject and others secondary elements. I advise you to summarize your theme in one sentence. You will determine the elements of your scenario and if the theme can be performed in a film by taking this one main sentence as your guide.
It is normal not to know what to tell since mainly the most difficult thing is to write this main sentence, so I advise you not to hurry. William Goodman confided that when he was adapting the story for Hearts in Atlantis, he spent six months defining the main sentence and three months to writing the whole story. Don’t give up if your main proposal is not ready; keep working, and you will finally discover what story you want to tell.
This is the thinking phase. Note down what you know about angels. This activity will help your subconscious engage fully and make you open for receiving the inspirational messages.
And ask questions: When do angels help humans? Do they intervene as they wish or do we need to ask for their help? And how do they help? For example, are they always with us and give us their opinions as seen in the film Always (Steven Spielberg, 1989). Do our ideas really belong to them or do we just think that these are our own ideas? We will reach the reality of angels through such questions.
Our final goal for this activity is “to be an angel.” If you cannot think and feel as they do, you cannot write about them, and it will only be a superficial story with dull characters and not touching anyone’s heart.
The main challenge here is: Are you ready to be an angel?
Can you be an angel if you do not know them and not believe in their existence?
Like an Angel
If you’d like to write about angels, you carry the responsibility and begin to think about it. So, you give this theme priority in the midst of inspiration and out of the blue, you begin to visualize the relationships, scenes and dialogues between angels and humans, and your story begins to evolve.
The more you are focused, the more inspiration given to you.
There is more however: The cosmos begins to help you. For example, while you are switching channels on TV, you bump into a discussion program or a serial film; while traveling, you overhear a conversation about angels, and in your dreams, you see angels or get contacted by one.
The more ambitious you are about writing, the more the cosmos helps you.
Unless you make an effort, the help or inspiration you get decreases and then comes to an end. You should keep on working and thinking—until you complete your story…until you become an angel.
Don’t sweat it, just be determined!
Also, you should be modest, the hardest part. If you are too stubborn by asserting “I” will find “my” own story, “my” creativity will flow through the pages, your ego may win, but you lose because the noise of your inner voice stops the flow of inspiration.
Your ego does not like inspired thoughts and tries to build new structures to confuse everything.
The best thing to do is to listen to your inspiration until you begin to control your ego and transform into something you are not, like a baby, an alcoholic, a hungry dog or an angel.
Unless you can change to feel like others, you cannot tell stories or touch their hearts.
If you want to write about angels, you have no choice; you have to be an angel!
I Am An Angel
If trying to be someone else seems difficult for you, repeat this sentence loudly: “I am an angel.” Go out and look at life around you; watch people in the streets and repeat again: “I am an angel.”
Stop seeing like a human; see like an angel.
Lie down in your bed and set your mind free. Think like an angel!
I am an angel…
“I know flowers, but I did not yet smell a flower. I did not watch it grow.”
“I did not have a shower; I did not swim or dive into the depths of the sea. I know rain, but I did not get wet. I did not drive a car. I did not sleep in a hammock. I did not cheer with the crowd in a stadium. I did not draw pictures. I did not kiss my sweetheart on their shoulder.”
Now, do you catch the point? Angels think our experiences are charming. They envy us because we experience and feel the things that they can only see through us.
For example, angels do not feel cold or hot; do not know poverty; do not understand how to miss someone, realize how to feel sad or tremble with fear. An angel does not know what it is to suffer from a toothache or to feel miserable; why pain hurts after losing a loved one or know the emptiness of being left; the feeling of waving your hand to a beloved son going off to war, planning revenge or perceiving hatred.
To review, a human seems like a magic thing for angels because humans experience all emotions and feelings from sorrow to happiness.
On the other hand, man always feels a kind of emptiness and lives life on the edge or near the edge of a cliff. He is…
And here comes the other important theme of your scenario: Respect for humans.
After the creation of man, God wanted Lucifer to prostrate in front of man because he rebelled while other angels did not. Lucifer became embodied and banished to live a hard life on earth.
It appears very natural that the most powerful feeling of angels is to help humans because our lives seem very complicated and frightening to them. I also think that’s why Wim Wenders used only black and white in his movies when he narrated about angels and changed to color when he focused on people in the films Wings of Desire and Faraway, So Close!
They are only angels, but humans have two sides—opposite energy—the good along with the bad which we refer to as our devil or evil side.
These two opposites quarrel constantly. As humans, we feel tired because of the tension between our mind and heart. We scatter ourselves between love and fear.
Life is difficult and the angels know this.
The films on angels always tell similar stories: Angels help us. However, they differ in some points, like the existent patterns of angels and their feelings.
Let’s remember some inspiring films:
In It’s A Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946), the main character wants to commit suicide, but his guardian angel appears and shows him how life would be if he were never born. He helps him understand the preciousness of life. This film praises life; it shows us how beautiful life is and gives courage and inspiration to its audience.
In The Bishop’s Wife, a film produced by Henry Koster the following year, not only shows us the help from angels but also relates how being human is so wonderful that an angel longs to be a human being and even falls in love.
We see the same theme in a German film 40 years later. Wim Wenders dealt with the feelings of angels for the first time and worked on the theme “the love between an angel and a human.” The leading character of Wings of Desire falls in love with a woman and decides to be a human, gives up his infinite life and falls to earth.
In Faraway, So Close! (1993), Wenders turned another angel into a human being. The main character comes to earth to rescue a little girl. In his second film, the differences between angels, the human being and the difficulties of man’s life are explained from the angel’s point of view.
These few examples show us that these films are influenced by writings in The Bible. Of course, some films do not mirror those recounted, like Michael (Nora Ephron, 1996) and Angel-A (Luc Besson, 2005) which many churchgoers cannot bear watching.
Skellig (Annabel Jankel, 2009) and A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (Fernando Birri, 1988) handles the theme more differently. In these two films, angels need help from a human.
The literature stands complete with all these contradictory samples: We have films about the best angels and also the opposite.
There is one thing left. All these films are West-oriented and inspired from Christianity and The Bible. Angels as told in other religions, especially in Islam, did not appear on the scene yet.
You may write a scenario based on religious stories or the opposite. You can watch the previous films and life as an angel, and if you focus on it, your choice becomes very clear.
Now your action plan is simple: Collect materials as much as possible and be inspired, then express everything in your mind in one sentence.
When you feel stuck or doubt yourself, remember the samples in this article. Many authors from different places on earth found inspiration and transformed these samples in scenarios. You can do the same, even better, if you really want it and work hard for it. There is nothing to prove the opposite. You can write an original scenario based on angels!
What About the Hair?
Now, what will your angels look like? Do you have any suggestions?
Or, is it your responsibility to decide what they will look like?
The answer to these questions lies in your theme’s main sentence.
This sentence is your graphic design before building your apartment. Your story will be based on this axis.
There are lots of differences between Angel-A and A Bishop’s Wife. Angels in A Life Less Ordinary has nothing in common with Skellig.
That means, it is not enough for an author to decide to write about angels; you need this “one sentence” with a large definition. This sentence should be a reference point for answering the questions, such as the one in this subtitle.
Let’s open it a little: I will tell you how angels help human beings.
It is one step further but not yet enough; we lack the philosophy. There is no answer for this question: They help, so what?
With your answer to that second question, you will decide to show a certain condition. When you look at masterpieces, you see the authors not only observe but also make some identification and ask some question, and then give answers to them.
If you want to write a successful film on angels, you must reveal how you perceive the human and humanity. If you cannot do that, then you only tell a story.
If angels will be seen together with a human, then you need to show angels in a distinguished way. For instance, in Wings of Desire all angels had similar clothes and they had short pony tails. In the mentioned film of the author, when Cassiel falls to earth, his pony tail detaches. So, you can distinguish the angels from the human characters in the film.
Showing humans and angels together reflects a very important point of view with regards to defining life. Only in Wings of Desire amongst the other films I mentioned here is the theme based on this sentence: “They are everywhere; they are with us.”
Will “your sentence” underscore its theme like that?
A Little Advice
If you are inspired to write a film scenario, don’t hurry. If your main sentence is not adequate, then your scenario fails and also the process gets complicated.
The main sentence not only sets the backbone of the story but also includes a point of view. It reflects how you perceive life and what kind of an opinion you propose to your audience.
If your angel is a lively, tender and cheerful one, as in The Bishop’s Wife, this also identifies God as the Creator of angels. In the Hollywood version of the film City of Angels, angels are very serious, even sulky and frightening. In Legion (Scott C Steward, 2009), angels are really scary; there are even some scenes when angels fight. There is no definition of God in these three films; however, they all describe an image of the Creator.
Great masters know they not only tell stories but also make a statement on life in a broader sense with help from the layers of meaning they establish. That’s why, It’s a Wonderful Life praises life; and even though the story tells about a man who attempts to commit suicide, you can feel a joie de vivre in each scene. You can easily understand that the artist who made this up thanks God for his every breath.
This joy for life and the praise for God are, of course, also felt by the audience.
Some films based on angels build on the idea that there is something wrong on “the other side.” Naturally, these films point to “a God who makes some mistakes.”
How you perceive angels is important from that point of view. When you define angels, you also define God; consequently, you define life—as God created it. Although this definition hides between the lines, the audience understands and embraces this definition from the heart, if not also from the mind.
What does all this mean? Writing requires a large responsibility.
Due to this responsibility, I advise you to analyze the best of literature: their stories, main sentences and points of view. While doing that, try to see what is lacking. For instance, The Bishop’s Wife has a perfect scenario, but you cannot see that angels are always with us. Both films of Wender, while good, the second one leaves the feeling that “there is something wrong on earth.” However, now you know that the theme of the film is not only based on angels but also on life and God; if there is something wrong on earth, then that means God is not performing well.
If you have a look at these angel films with a spiritual approach, you easily realize some serious problem. The basis of the scenario may not be healthy or its propositions may be lacking or wrong. For example, in some films heaven is a place like earth with a hierarchy, and Gabriel behaves harshly to a “subordinate” angel.
This imperfection may be normal; we are now at the edge of the enlightenment era, and humanity may only now perform their best works.
In other words, now is time for that precious inspiration. If you feel you can do that but don’t, someone else will write the best scenario based on angels.
On the other hand, if you read this long article and now reading these last sentences, then you are one of the best candidates for this job.
So, open your laptop now and begin taking notes:
“I am an angel…”