Films, dreams, fiction and writing

I’ve come to think that films are intrinsically linked to my writing practice, but I’m worried my film-watching habit is more of a distraction than an inspiration. Films are like dreams, and the good ones are endlessly interpretable vessels for the unconscious mind. How could that not be useful to a writer? Or am I kidding myself?

What I really want is to discover films and fiction that directly feed into writing my work-in-progress. When I pick a film, sometimes it’s based on an unconscious desire or feeling that needs surfacing, and often it’s linked to the last thing I watched or read, perhaps an actor, or a theme. Even bad films have something for me, a single image or a line of dialogue. If I paid more attention, maybe I could use films more actively in my writing. The scenes I write look like a film in my imagination. Well, rehearsals on a film set, let’s say, with a sparse, mostly improvised script, a confused director, and infinite film for lots and lots of takes. Sometimes details from films I’ve seen will slip in, and an unseen costume designer will amend an item of clothing, or a casting director will change an actor’s face. Dreams definitely get added too. Dreams are like surreal short films loaded with my deepest desires and fears.

What I’m saying is, I want to better understand how films, dreams, fiction and writing are connected. I hope I can make watching films a more conscious part of my writing practice, but perhaps my film habit will turn out to be more of a drag than inspiration. I don’t know. I want to experiment.