If creativity is bound by rules, it’s not art anymore: ‘Birdman’ co-writer


Mumbai, An art form is a creative expression and cannot be bound by rules, believes Oscar-winning screenwriter Alexander Dinelaris Jr., who says if rules dictate it, it becomes a job of an employee rather than art by an artist.

Alexander, one of the co-writers of acclaimed American black comedy “Birdman”, was in India last month to conduct a screenwriting workshop with some budding talent, and for the inauguration of Bollywood actor Boman Irani’s production house Irani Movietone.

Alexander told “One can write a script for a commercial film that is produced by studios and production houses where you have to go by the rules to earn money. Making money is not bad at all and it is honourable. But do not mistake that as an art, because the moment your creativity is bound by the rules and you are told how to make your art, that’s not an art anymore… that’s a job.

“You lost your freedom there.”

He also added: “Some people make commercial films to become financially comfortable enough to do more artistic ventures. These two are different things, and one can do both.”

Clarity, he said, lies at the heart of art.

“One of the young ladies at the workshop told me, ‘I see what you are saying, but I doubt if I can apply the same for a commercial Bollywood film script because we have to follow a different structure there, and that includes interval, song and dance’. I think those are the elements need to be followed in a commercial film.”

According to him, the Aristotle theory of storytelling is much more usable in a commercial film rather than an artistic film. “If the producer asks to break the flow of the story for an interval and that is why the scene before the interval has to have a hook, you can ramp up the scene a little more so that people come back to that. Therefore I say, learn the craft of scriptwriting to channelise your creativity.”

Apart from writing screenplays, Alexander is also a Broadway playwright and has penned books.

“I am lucky enough to come from a background of artistic directors who had freedom and they gave me freedom. But if I were to go to a studio with my script to make a film, I will tell myself that, ‘You are going for a job’,” said the 50-year-old writer, who is keen to know the world of Indian films better.