Ms. Doran is an omnivore who likes movies light, dark and in between. But when she attended the Austin Film Festival last year, “something I found both terribly sad and terribly sympathetic,” she recently recalled, “is that aspiring screenwriters ask again and again, ‘What can I write that a financier wants to make?’ Not, ‘What can I write that fills me with joy?’”
After reading the book “Flourish,” by Martin E. P. Seligman, a catalyst of the positive-psychology movement, she began rewatching films through the lens of what Dr. Seligman identifies as the five essential elements of well-being: positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment. (He refers to these elements collectively as perma.)
So happy to see Carrie Rickey have a piece in the Times. She was “my” film critic growing up in the Philadelphia Inquirer where she worked full-time until last October. Great article on the application of positive psychology to screenwriting.
I’m not sure how I feel about Doran’s prescriptions yet, but it’s always nice to hear someone talk about writing a movie you love instead of one that’s easiest to market. Then again, most of the examples cited here are box office hits, so I’ll give this theory a hot minute before it just turns into another “get rich quick” formula by marketers.