Script Symbology by John Fraim

The Script Symbology column investigates the study and application of symbols and symbolism to scripts by exploring the relationship of symbols and symbolism to character archetypes, drama, storytelling, screenplay structure, film genre, screenplay acts and scenes, mythology, multi-media, popular culture and leading communications theories and technologies. It combines a synthesis of leading screenwriting books and theories with the author’s long-term research into symbolism and provides a structure for providing powerful dramatic and powerful scripts. Such a synthesis is long overdue and greatly needed. In the same way mythology ideas of Joseph Campbell have revitalized film structure, so will symbolism do the same if understood and applied.

"Landscape With The Fall of Icarus" Pieter Bruegel

Script Symbology: Full of Sound and Fury

“Francis Bacon never tired of contrasting hot and cool prose. Writing in ‘methods’ or complete packages, he contrasted with writing in aphorisms, or single observations such as ‘Revenge is a kind of wild justice.’ The passive consumer wants packages, but those, he suggested, who are concerned in pursuing knowledge and in seeking causes will...

Weather Vane

Script Symbology: The Synchronicity of Classic Scripts

“Bogey would invite me into his dressing-room with his usual ‘relax and have a drink.’ We would talk and sometimes a genie popped out of the whiskey bottle and off I’d go to develop the idea into a scene.” Howard Koch (Co-Screenwriter, Casablanca) “They are laying bets over on the RKO lot that the...

symbols and symbolism

Script Symbology: Applying Symbols and Symbolism to Screenplays

Most agree films are the most symbolic art form, making extensive use of symbols and symbolism to carry messages. However, few understand symbols and symbolism and their successful application in films and (those blueprints for films) screenplays. It is seldom mentioned in screenwriting books or taught in film schools and when it is, there...

eisenhower-peak-first-light1

Script Symbology: Symbol Systems

We have observed that individual symbols exist in contexts and move within systems of symbolism. Symbols are also part of symbol systems that might be defined as categories of symbols. These symbol systems consist of familiar as well as esoteric categories of phenomena and things such as colors, numbers, genres, drama modes, the basic...

color-palm-trees

Script Symbology: Contagious In Hollywood

By John Fraim No, this is not some sequel to Sleepless in Seattle but rather a discussion of the application of one of the most popular books on contemporary marketing to the screenwriting and film community. The book is Contagious: Why Things Catch On (Simon & Schuster, 2013) by Wharton School Marketing Professor Jonah...

symbolism

Script Symbology: The Once And Future Kingdom – The Evolution of Hollywood

By John Fraim “In 2012, moving images are absolutely everywhere – movies, TV, video games, YouTube, streaming services, taxi cabs, subway ads, electronic billboards, and so on. For someone of my generation, the most astonishing aspect of this development is that many of these images were created by nonprofessionals, shot with smartphones and cameras...

sea of zombies

Script Symbology: Sea of Zombies – Big Budget Movies

By John Fraim Hollywood seems to have placed a heavy bet on the table with its mega-budget zombie, vampire and super-hero comic-book films in the summer of 2013. Somewhere north of a billion dollars was spent creating various alternative worlds surrounding the films Man of Steel, Lone Ranger,World War Z and White House Down....

art of symbolism

Script Symbology: The Art of Symbolism

“The essential problem is to know what is revealed to us not by any particular version of a symbol, but by the whole of symbolism.” Mercea Eliade The Rites and Symbols of Initiation Symbolism is the art or practice of using symbols especially by investing things with a symbolic meaning or expressing the invisible...

symbols

Script Symbology: What Are Symbols?

The simple definition of a symbol is something that represents something else by association, resemblance, or convention, especially a material object used to represent something invisible. For example, a lion is a symbol for courage, and a flag a symbol of patriotism. But simple definitions have never served to adequately describe symbols. For instance,...

symbology

Script Symbology

The upcoming column in Script Magazine called Script Symbology is about the study and application of symbols and symbolism to scripts. While there are so-called movie symbologists (Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code comes to mind) to our knowledge there exists no ongoing research, discussion or study of the application of symbols and...