ESFC Part 7

Dr. Conway: How does movie making actually relate to writing? Your composition skills? What should the written language do for the reader? It should tell a story – what should it do for the imagery? It should make the movie in their head. But if the story is written in such a way that it goes beginning, and then middle, and then end, an then beginning again and the middle again and then the end again, and this other piece your friend is telling you about, your movie is all over the place and you have no idea what theyr’e trying to say. Or they say “It went down the road by the dog next to the thing under the other stuff” – huh?

Dr. Conway:So it could be because they use such vague terminology. Like say for example I say to you – “the dog went down the road” – Sir, what do you picture for that?

Audience: a dog, going down the road.

Dr. Conway: Ok, do you think your dog looks like mine?

Audience: I’m picturing my dog, as opposed to yours, because I haven’t’ seen your dog.

Dr. Conway: How come? Didn’t I tell you the dog went down the road? Shouldn’t we have the same picture?

Audience: Perhaps of a dog, but not a specific dog.

Dr. Conway: So what if I said – “the small white poodle went down the brown dirt road next to a green grassy field at sunset”? What has that done to your movie now?

Audience: More specific.

Dr. Conway: My words should be dictating what you visualize. If I want to clearly communicate with you, I’m using more accurate nouns, adjectives, adverbs; I’m putting in more detail to help build the movie for you. How does that relate to my writing? When I write it, I should be writing with more detail as well. If you have a very clear movie in your head, it’s much easier to take that movie and convert it into writing. So part of a program like this is designed to do that. You first have to do it at what level – written language or spoken language? This is the same scenario. When we’re talking about comprehension, you have to deal with oral language first, to be able to talk about it in a systematic, clear, concise, very detailed fashion before I can actually go to writing it. Because what does writing have that spoken language doesn’t? What demands does it put on your brain that spoken language has none of those demands at all?

Audience: Grammar, Structure, Sequencing, Spelling.

Dr. Conway:How about punctuation? Capitalization? Comma usage? There’s all these extra rules of written language that have no bearing whatsoever on spoken language. I hate to tell you –but you speak in agrammatic sentences. You speak in incomplete sentences – that’s horrible, isn’t it? But that is our acceptable spoken language. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence, it doesn’t always have to have a subject and a verb.

Audience: When you read something, aren’t you essentially converting back into spoken word?

Dr. Conway: Essentially you are, but it should be converting back to spoken and into a movie. Unless it’s something you already know about. Like say, for example, say you’re an architect. And I want to describe to you Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. But you’ve already studied Frank Lloyd Wright buildings for too many days. So if I talk about it, you don’t really need to visualize it, because you know that information so well, it’s part of your linguistic knowledge base. So there’s a big theory that’s been worked on for about six decades now.

Dr. Conway:This one researcher has worked on this theory called the Dual Coding Theory. What is says is when you’re comprehending, you’re using one of two systems. It’s the imaging system, which is that imagery, or it’s that locution system, which is language. Physically we call it the right side versus the left side because, predominantly in studies when you’re making movies, the right side is doing more of the activity. Predominantly when you’re doing language – what’s happening then? It’s the left side of the brain doing most of the work. So, you’re supposed to be using those two systems interchangeably if they both are strong and work well. If they’re not strong and they don’t work well, you’re relegated to just using one or the other, because you don’t know how to use both.