The Psychology of Scriptwriting (3)

PART 3: THE ID THEORY

In an average life, most people have a very constricted time. Rarely is a person satisfied with as much sex, food, money and fun as he/she desires. Mostly, society (and health issues) enforce humans to lead somewhat disgruntled lives. Because the alternative, if everyone did exactly what their hearts desired and damn the consequences, would be anarchy and chaos. Plus obesity and death.

The thing inside us all, in our unconscious, that wants to be free, regardless of outcome, is what Freud named the id.

And it wants to play.

Seemingly, scriptwriters have discovered a method to let their id run free. In a script, they can allow their characters to indulge in any taboo behaviour. And with impunity to boot!

Freud said that every person in your dreams is you. And so logically, every character in a script is thus a facet of the scriptwriter. And when characters have sex, kill, and generally do whatever they want, it’s the scriptwriter’s id at work.

Often you’ll meet a scriptwriter and he/she will be bespeckled and timid. And then you’ll read their script and be astonished at what the scriptwriter has written.

You’ve probably heard these comments said about certain scripts…

“I couldn’t continue reading it after he ate his cat.”

“The fact your protagonist does that with his mother makes him unlikeable.”

“I had to look up coprophilia in the dictionary”

Unchecked by the Super Ego ( the disciplinarian part of the unconscious) the id can truly run free. And occasionally some scriptwriters fall prey to their unencumbered id ruining their script. A good example of this is Joe Eszterhas, the writer of BASIC INSTINCT. By the time Eszterhas wrote SHOWGIRLS, a famously bad film, his id had truly and uncontrollably run amok.

Jack Feldstein.

Previously:
PART 1 – THE AUTISTIC FANTASY THEORY
PART 2 – THE NARCISSISTIC THEORY
Next: PART 4 – THE EMPOWERMENT THEORY

About the Author

Karel Segers

Karel Segers wrote his first produced screenplay at age 17. Today he is a story analyst with experience in international movie rights acquisition, script development and production. He has trained and consulted to filmmakers all over the world, including award-winning screenwriters, and Academy Award nominees. Karel founded this website, as well as Logline.it!, ranks among the most influential people for screenwriting on social media, and speaks more than a handful of European languages (which should come in handy in his present hometown of Sydney, Australia).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *