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Marianne Chouchan

Psycho-screenplayer for screenplay.

Must we follow the fashion and put psychoanalysis everywhere, like French cooking goes into all meals ?

Had the doctor Freud, his disciple Jacques Lacan, and their numerous followers so contaminated our world that we could not live without introspection ? Of course not ! but unconscious does exist and we all have experienced it, sometimes without knowing it, in the path of our affective or professionnal life, in our familial relationsノWe often repeat the same stories, the same meetings, even the same failures, again and again, without knowing why.

Psychoanalysis and fiction.

Fiction characters are not out of this statement. They have a story, written by an author but they also have their own life, suggested by the writing and not bound to have been thought in the beginning. How can it happen ? Well, because a screenplayer doesnユt control his unconscious. He invents his characters from life, from different people he goes with or of whom he has heard, for example. He doesnユt search to explain the meaning of the behaviours that he can imagine – he hasnユt to do that – for he neednユt this to make his stories work.

It happens sometimes, even quite often that he chooses an end which is not coherent with what the character psychology is, because he want to prove one thing or make the plot go on : master of his puppets, he hasnユt felt them enough. For he knows how to tell a story but cannot understand all the keys of psychology.


The psycho-screenplayer intervention.

It is precisely then that a psychoanalysis specialist can intervene : her point is not to place the character psychosis or neurosis at the center of the story, but, with the help of her theoritical and clinical knowledge, the psycho-screenplayer will see what is plausible and what is not. Her ヌ diagnosis ネ will go, thanks to her experience of writing and shooting, with propositions which can be rephrased by the screenplayer.

The first task consists in detecting what is told in the screenplay beyond the words. Then, it imports to elaborate a past for each characters, their ヌ protostory ネ, their childhood, their adolescence or the events which have led them to the situation in which we see them at the beginning of the movie : the public wonユt know directly this past, but the screenplayer, the director and even the actor will use it to improve their character. Even the wardrobe master and the set designer may need it to make their work more coherent.

Intervene before the writing.

The psycho-screenplayer can also intervene before the writing, when the screenplayer team prepares its project, its characters and its plot.



Marianne Chouchan / October 2004


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