Tag Archives: Screenwriting

Chuck, We Need To Talk

Can you come here a minute, Chuck? We need to talk. Yes, it’s as bad as you think it is. Sit down and let me get this off my chest before I lose my nerve.

This isn’t working. I’m sorry, Chuck. It’s you, not me. I can’t go on in this relationship anymore. It’s obvious that things are going nowhere and I really need a show that appreciates my sensibilities and that is able to grow with me. I’m all the way over here in season four and I feel like you’ve never really left season two. I come home after a long day’s work and turn on the television, only to find the same old schtick that I’ve seen before. If I wanted “same old,” I would have purchased an older season or watch Undercovers instead. But that’s not on on Mondays, so that leaves me with what? Weeds? Sure, I’ll only watch a half hour of television to relax in the evening. Maybe I’ll fill the rest of my night crying into a vodka bottle while listening to The Magnetic Fields.

But I digress.

I feel like we’re not in this together anymore. I wanted to see Casey have a larger arc involving his daughter. The promise of that excited me in ways I’ve not felt since you gained the Intersect 2.0 or when I found out that Scott Bakula was going to be your dad. Seeing a new side to an otherwise one dimensional character felt so right.

Or how about Morgan and the Buy More story arc. Here’s a character that started off nothing more than the comedic relief of this show. He was the idiot that served to lighten the mood when the spy stuff got too intense. With the most recent season, I expected to see him take more of an important role and come into his own. Hell, you promised me that this would happen last season when he became an official operative and started going on missions with you.

What? Hold on. Neighbor yelled something about spoilers. Give me a sec. I’ve got to reply. HOW ABOUT YOU WATCH THE SHOW WHEN IT AIRS, HUH?! MAYBE THEN YOU WOULDN’T BE SPOILED. WHORE. Can you believe that? It’s like they wait to watch things on DVD or something.

Where were we? Oh yeah. Us.

We had all this potential together. What happened? What went wrong?

Wait. I know what went wrong. You went back to HER. You decided that you wanted to spend all your time with Sarah, making your petty squabbles the main focus of the show. Instead of letting me get to know your friends better, you made this all about you. Do you realize how much it hurt watching the most recent episode and realizing that things would never progress between us? It was like a slap in the face, Chuck.

No. I won’t hear it. Don’t tell me that you can change. It’s too late. I just…I…I think you should go.

On Writetober

It’s October, and with it comes horror films galore. Just saw the original 13 Ghosts a few days ago and had a blast. Going to watch all of the Friday the 13th movies at some point this month as well as a bunch of really crappy horror films. Might also get a viewing of Candyman in and a bunch of films I’ve never seen before. Apart from that, I’m taking the proverbial pen to paper (lap to laptop, maybe?) and writing a horror film. It’s a film in the style of Skeleton Key and Candyman in which a main character obsesses over a mystery and it ends up being their undoing.

I was thinking I would write the outline this week, and then take the rest of the month to write out the script itself. Sounds simple, right?

Just a matter of writing it.

*sigh*

On A New City, and Stuff

I suppose I should make some kind of post about life as I know it right now. Decided that I was done with Chicago and moved my ass all the way over to the west coast to live out a life of fame and fortune. That is to say, I moved to LA to try and see if this writing business will actually pan out. Whether or not this was a bad move remains to be seen. Whether or not this degree of mine was a bad move remains to be seen. Basically, I moved from one question mark to the next. But hey, that’s what adventure is, right?

All I know is that I haven’t really done a lot of writing since I got here and that’s NOT a good thing.

Feel free to ignore this post at your leisure. This is me getting back into the habit of writing.

Serenity

Eleven Day Steampunk

Serenity

April 1st came around and two things happened: I completely forgot that it was April Fools Day and I began the screenwriting boot camp known as Script Frenzy. If you’ll recall, I wrote earlier about my plans to write two scripts to make up for the zero I wrote last year. Well, I’m here today to tell you that I’m done with my first script, LAMENT. It’s a Steampunk Western Revenge Flick about a father and a husband who will stop at nothing to kill the man responsible for ruining his life. There’s action, there’s drama and there’s enough steampunk to whet your appetite.

All in all, the script took me eleven days to write, averaging out about ten pages a day with a day or two off to keep my sanity. I discussed the beauty of outlining in my last post and the proof was in how easy it was to bang out the script. I essentially breezed through ten pages, checked my notes, and then soared through another. Naturally, my script ended at page 93.

Now you might ask, “Doesn’t Script Frenzy require 100 pages?”

Yes, it does. This was perhaps one of the more interesting aspects to my writing binge this past week or so. By around page 85, I started to burn out. When you burn out as a writer, the first thing that goes by the wayside is the prose. While you’re generally not supposed to flower your script with prose, the details help. I perused the pages near the end and realized that I had all but dropped the prose in favor of quick action text like, “Westin charges forward, shoots guy,” or “Westin kills bad guy.” On the first day, it was more along the lines of, “Westin steps off the train, letting his bag drop to the ground. He toys with the cigarette sandwiched between his lips and tosses it aside.”

You get the idea.

The other thing that also seems to fall by the wayside is the dialog. The first few days of writing (roughly 30-40 pages) saw some interesting dialog between the characters, stuff that gave you a decent idea as to what made them tick. Granted, we’re not talking Tarantino’esque yakking, but something useful for a first draft. By the last page, no one was saying a word except for the villain and he repeated himself to an annoying extent.

“Hey,” you might interrupt, “weren’t you supposed to do two scripts?”

Busy month, indeed.

Alice

Outlining Is Useful After All

Alice

They teach you in film school that outlining your films is an important step in the screenwriting process. Oftentimes, students ignore this lesson and just wing it, letting the characters do what they “were meant to do.” This was the method I applied to writing my very first feature for Screenwriting II. I wasn’t going to let planning and plot construction ruin MY masterpiece. My characters were going to take me on a journey and it would be this grand adventure through amazing-land.

Well, I was an idiot.

You have no idea how easy it is to sit down and start writing your story when you have the basic groundwork set out in front of you. Protagonist goes here, here and here in act one. Fill in the blanks. BAM! I’ve always known that outlining is a good idea, but I’ve never really put it into practice until lately. I can already see the results as the story is more organized now in my head and I’ve got a firmer grasp on the plot than I did a few short days ago.

Also, I’ve got an end to my story. None of my scripts prior to this have had endings and it’s made finishing them something of a challenge. It’s unbelievably difficult to plot out a journey you don’t know the end to. The possibilities become TOO endless and the “what-ifs” start wasting valuable time, time you could be spending on the actual script itself.

Maybe some people out there in this cruel world can sit down and write a feature without ever outlining a single thing, but I know I’m not one of those people. Having as much planned out as possible before I sit down to write is an absolute must.

Script Frenzy

A Most Ambitious Frenzy

Script Frenzy

Last year I failed Script Frenzy. I had a good idea, but I just didn’t have the commitment to the event that I needed to see the project through. From a writing perspective, I had gotten too mired in plot and “revise-as-you-go,” a screenwriter’s worst nightmare. I would open up my script during those 5 days I wrote and start from the beginning, tweaking everything until it felt as succinct and ready-to-sell as a final draft. By that fifth day I was burned out and done with the whole mess, so I stopped and went about my business.

Well, that’s not going to happen this year. I’ve decided to overcompensate for my failure by writing two scripts this year for Sript Frenzy. That’s right, two scripts! The idea is that I will get my first script done within the first ten to fifteen days, and then spend the last part of the month working on my second feature. I plan to budget at least ten pages a day to my script and then write some kind of rambly-ass post on here to update how things are going.

This will be a very very very interesting April.

Allons-y!

Outlines Suck, But Are Awesome

A problem I come across when screenwriting is the logistics of the plot. I have no problems placing two characters in a room and making them say cool things, but when it comes down to where things eventually end up, it becomes a different matter entirely. I’ve tried to help myself out a bit by doing the whole “outline” thing, but it always leaves me feeling like I haven’t made any progress whatsoever in my writing. Case in point, I’ve decided to take a step back and write out a step outline for a script I’m writing. I spent a few hours the other day writing what amounted to about 20 lines of outline.

How is THAT progress??

On the flip side of that, however, I now have a better idea of where I want my story to go.

Hrmm.

Writing and Re-Writing

One of the frustrating things about my process is the part where I go back and change a bunch of shit and essentially rewrite my script from page one. It’s not like I actually want to do this, especially considering I have to get 100 or so pages done by the end of the month. What ends up happening is that I get ideas about what I wrote before and those ideas pester me until I do something about them. Case in point, day one and two for me for Script Frenzy. I wrote roughly four or five pages that were solid and took a break from it. As I went about doing other things, the need to change EVERYTHING surfaced and it was all I could think about.

I need to get a better writing process..

Going Into a Script Frenzy

For a writer, one of the biggest challenges is actually sitting down and facing off against the blank page, or screen if you’ve ditched your typewriter for a trendier, more electronic word processing unit! When I sit down to start writing, I find myself daunted by all the white space that occupies my screen. Once that happens, the motivation kind of deteriorates and then I get distracted by the various web services that call to me on a continual basis (thanks, Friendfeed, twitter, etc). In short, I don’t get a lot of writing done.

But I was pointed to an interesting site from John August’s blog that might just cure my Writer’s Block: Script Frenzy. Think, NaNoWriMo for screenplays. Within 30 days of April, everyone who signs up for the site will be writing toward a goal of 100 script pages. Sounds pretty neat, actually. So much so that I’ve signed up and am going to be participating this year. I’ve already come up with the story I’m going to write and am pretty much going to free style this script come April 1st.

If you’re into screenwriting even in the slightest, I’d suggest giving it a try. It will be a fun challenge, and you get 100 pages of…well…something that can be molded into your finest work ever, at least. If you do sign up, look me up. Movieguyjon, as usual!

Here’s some particulars about the script I plan on writing for Script Frenzy:

Title: Year of the Con
Genre: Comedy
Logline: Frustrated with the lackluster conventions in their area, four friends decide to create their own Super Con and turn it into the biggest event of the year.

You can keep up to date with my script via this blag or through my Script Frenzy profile. I plan on making my script profile on the site more complete by the end of the month.

Can’t wait!