Storytelling – Learn from the pros: Part 2

Cinema shows us how it goes: paint the picture of an entire world in 90 minutes. A lot of work lies beneath what seems effortless. Essential is the triad comprised of screenwriter, actor and director. We journeyed in search of the secret of what makes good stories and we show you why this is something that companies ought to know as well. Part 2 with the Swiss author Laura de Weck.

Meet the playwright

Laura de Weck, Swiss author

Laura de Weck is an award-winning playwright, actress and – since recently – also a critic on the “Literaturclub” program on the Swiss channel SRF. She works as a freelance author and writes a column for the “Tages-Anzeiger” newspaper. Ms. de Weck was a master student at the Munich Screenplay Workshop in 2017/18.

Are you an author or actress?

Everything I do has to do with dialogs. It does not matter whether I speak the dialog, act it or write it. However, I am first and foremost an author, a dialog author.

What brought you to the world of dialog?

Schiller’s story “Cabal and Love”, which we read in school. The dialogs in that piece! I felt compelled to read them aloud.

Stories are powerful because …

they tell of relationships and emotions. They are inescapable.

What ingredients go into a good story?

They say it takes pivotal moments, conflicts and emotions. But then I am not a good storyteller, though I am interested in the topic.

The strengths of film as a medium?

Films depict an imag-inary reality. Abstraction has little to do with it. This en-ables the viewer to jump into the story and to be totally taken up with it.

Then why should anyone go to the theater?

Because theater is the pinnacle. Theater brings all forms of art together: literature, art, music, performance, choreography, imagery. When all forms of art intertwine and you experience it live, it can be like a sensual explosion.

Where do you find inspiration for your stories?

I find them by listening closely. I have a dialog journal in which I enter every sentence and dialog that I pick up and find interesting.

“Without a screenplay, there is no film.
Without a heart, no human.”

Laura de WeckSwiss author

The author as societal observer. What qualities does one need to have?

Empathy. You need to be able to think your way inside many different figures. And you must be able to love these figures, even if they are assholes. You also have to love people to begin with.

You work closely with directors and actors. What is this triangular relationship like?

I hardly add any stage direc-tions in the pieces I write. This means that I throw the ball to the actors and directors. They, in turn, can play with the ball and fill in the gaps. I usually am not there much during rehearsals and show up at the premiere. Of course, there are sometimes unpleasant surprises, but the happy ones far outweigh them.