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Taking a stab at a screenplay

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I got the writing bug recently after I finished the first issue of a comic book script.  That material is materalizing slowly.  I actually got a professional artist interested.  But, he has obligations with Dreamworks for a bit of time.  So, I have plenty of time to do rewrites on that.  

 

Since, about October, I've been simply reading and writing as much as I can(time can permit with a day job); experiementing with various mediums and genres.  I've wriiten an entire first issue of a comic book(with future outlines), a rythmic childrens verse novel(its EXTREMELY raw, I don't know what I'm doing), a comic short that could transition into a series, and a short story in prose.  I also have a ton of ideas that I have written down.  But, I'm narrowing it down to a couple of projects to execute on.  

 

I finished conceptualizing a novel(I plan to do that next), but I stumbled upon a piece of music that gave me a fun idea for a film.  So, I'm taking a shot at a screenplay.  Its a comedy about an asian hitman who works for the Triads(its bad taste satire-not politically correct at all).

 

I learned the basic format for script writing.  But, I'm not really being a stickler for ridgid format.  I'm just writing what comes to mind.  Then, after the first draft is done:  I'll rework it for an audience.  Its comedy which(for my writing sensibilites) tends to be spontaneous.  I have the ending in my head and I'm writing towards it.  

 

Any tips?  I'm basically writing for myself but I'm having a lot of fun with it.  I plan on bringing in a co-writer at some point to kinda work with structure.  Interestingly enough, I find screen play writing to be the easiest medium to write in so far. 

 

Thanks...

post #2 of 24
Screenwriting is my hobby. I've never done anything seriously with it, but I'm always working on a project or two so that I have something to occupy my daydreams.

To understand screenplays, read 'em. Read lots of them, for a wide variety of genres from a variety of writers. There is a lot of diversity there.

In general, I have always felt that the three-act structure taught in screenwriting books and classes is utter garbage. But like all those five-paragraph essays you write in college, it's helpful in a "training wheels" sort of way. Just make sure you grow out of it at some point.

Final Draft is worth the investment. Makes all that formatting nonsense very easy to manage.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agentsands77 View Post

Screenwriting is my hobby. I've never done anything seriously with it, but I'm always working on a project or two so that I have something to occupy my daydreams.

To understand screenplays, read 'em. Read lots of them, for a wide variety of genres from a variety of writers. There is a lot of diversity there.

In general, I have always felt that the three-act structure taught in screenwriting books and classes is utter garbage. But like all those five-paragraph essays you write in college, it's helpful in a "training wheels" sort of way. Just make sure you grow out of it at some point.

Final Draft is worth the investment. Makes all that formatting nonsense very easy to manage.


Yeah, I'm not doing act structure.  In fact, I'm not even using an outline.  I'm going off of images, writing to music.  Basically, working with style(Taratino approach).  I have an arc for my character.  I know the ending.  But I'm writing towards there.  

 

The best way I can describe it:  its a monty python film.  So, it's basically skits:  I only care about the humor right now.  The Co-writer will help with format and structure later.  

 

I may get final draft at some point.  I don't view myself becoming a screen writer.  I really want to write novels(thats the goal).  But, this is basically practice.  Course, if something materializes out of this: wonderful, but its not(creatively)what I'm working towards.  This perticular story works best as a film I think.  

 

I do have some screen writing scripts that I'm referencing.  Its suprising how little is actually written compared to other mediums.  You just gotta give enough info for a director.  But, you can't overwrite things or you'll alienate him/her from the process.  

post #4 of 24
When it comes to screenwriting, I'm prone to John Milius' way of looking at things: don't pick up a book and just write.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carnotaur3 View Post

When it comes to screenwriting, I'm prone to John Milius' way of looking at things: don't pick up a book and just write.


Yep, that seems to be my approach.  I think its about having fun and having something to say.  I think that comes in through the writing...

post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruckuss Zuckuss View Post


Yep, that seems to be my approach.  I think its about having fun and having something to say.  I think that comes in through the writing...

I think that's true. But also, I think story structure only comes into clarity in an individual way. You find the structure through the writing as opposed to finding it by filling in the blanks off a cue card.

Cue card... reminds me of something... something recent... like... Hollywood!
post #7 of 24
Don't get me wrong, I think structure is everything. Just not that rudimentary three-act structure.
post #8 of 24

Structure ideas are helpful and worth checking out, but your story is your story. I've written a couple of scripts in the past, and I usually just vomit all of my ideas out then tweak it later. I will say this: Don't be afraid to rewrite. I've seen a lot of projects which could have benefited from second drafts.

I've used Final Draft in the past, and it's great, but CeltX is cheaper and amazing. 

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agentsands77 View Post

Don't get me wrong, I think structure is everything. Just not that rudimentary three-act structure.


oh for sure, its gotta be digestable.  But, I think you can do that as you write.  You will understand beats.  When its time to slow down and when its time to move on.  

post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangy View Post
 

Structure ideas are helpful and worth checking out, but your story is your story. I've written a couple of scripts in the past, and I usually just vomit all of my ideas out then tweak it later. I will say this: Don't be afraid to rewrite. I've seen a lot of projects which could have benefited from second drafts.

I've used Final Draft in the past, and it's great, but CeltX is cheaper and amazing. 

 

This is it. Rewriting is everything.

post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangy View Post
 

Structure ideas are helpful and worth checking out, but your story is your story. I've written a couple of scripts in the past, and I usually just vomit all of my ideas out then tweak it later. I will say this: Don't be afraid to rewrite. I've seen a lot of projects which could have benefited from second drafts.

I've used Final Draft in the past, and it's great, but CeltX is cheaper and amazing. 


Yeah, this will get rewritten.  The story usually comes alive, for me, when doing rewrites.  

post #12 of 24

Final Draft is absolutely worth the investment.  The formatting is taken care of for you.

post #13 of 24

Anybody up for workshopping a script of mine? We'll keep all thoughts via PM. 

 

To entice, here's a logline:

 

Quote:
 HUSHED 
 
A family decides to confront a malevolent force that has positioned itself as head of the household. 
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruckuss Zuckuss View Post


oh for sure, its gotta be digestable.  But, I think you can do that as you write.  You will understand beats.  When its time to slow down and when its time to move on.  
If you're writing certain simple stories, sure. But all writers get a little indulgent. (Let's face it: you couldn't write DIE HARD without an outline. Too many spinning plates, too many pieces that need to be forshadowed, etc. But you might be able to write a conventional Bond film, since it's mostly A-to-B plotting.) I find that free-flow non-conventional structures can easily lose their way in repetitiveness or just incoherence.

You gotta find what works for you, but I kinda work from the Kubrick method. Cinematic narrative as five or six clearly-demarcated "submersible units" that work as individual sections but nevertheless converse with one another. And then once you have those, start restructuring and removing and restructuring until things become tight and fluid.

You want to get to the purest, cleanest version of your story. You gotta kill your babies.
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Judas Booth View Post

Final Draft is absolutely worth the investment.  The formatting is taken care of for you.
Yeah. So much easier to use than CeltX.
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agentsands77 View Post


If you're writing certain simple stories, sure. But all writers get a little indulgent. (Let's face it: you couldn't write DIE HARD without an outline. Too many spinning plates, too many pieces that need to be forshadowed, etc. But you might be able to write a conventional Bond film, since it's mostly A-to-B plotting.) I find that free-flow non-conventional structures can easily lose their way in repetitiveness or just incoherence.

You gotta find what works for you, but I kinda work from the Kubrick method. Cinematic narrative as five or six clearly-demarcated "submersible units" that work as individual sections but nevertheless converse with one another. And then once you have those, start restructuring and removing and restructuring until things become tight and fluid.

You want to get to the purest, cleanest version of your story. You gotta kill your babies.


Yeah, thats going to come when tightening it up later on.  But, I gotta get the humor situations down first.  Then I can rip the thing apart, take what I want and dump the weak stuff.  


Edited by Ruckuss Zuckuss - 1/8/17 at 9:41am
post #17 of 24

WriterDuet is pretty good, I prefer it to CeltX. WD is also free, but it has a better UI and it's compatible with Final Draft files.

 

I've probably learned the most when I've had my texts filmed or performed. Even just shooting few scenes with friends (and soon-to-be-former friends) teaches you shit ton of stuff you can't, in my experience, get from any screenwriting theory -book. Usually the lesson can be summed up with the words "mother-fuck, why didn't I think of that?!?" Some people like to do read-throughs with aspiring actors but I think it's better to just watch it on screen, alone. Because then you don't have all those awesome actor personalities patting your back and telling you how great your stuff is.

post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carnotaur3 View Post
 

Anybody up for workshopping a script of mine? We'll keep all thoughts via PM. 

 

I'm swamped with work, but sign me up.

post #19 of 24
Ruckuss, your story is eerily similar to my own. I've been working through an idea for a script for a little over a year, taking notes and changing the story ideas, but I have a specific idea for the climax and end of the screenplay. I've just written a short screenplay (26 pages) as practice, not intending to write anything revelatory, yet just the act of writing it and jumping unto the the mindsets of the characters is very informative, scary, and thrilling. The dialogue goes where it wants and if I wasn't careful the ship would start to veer in radically different ways that I had originally envisioned. Some for good, most not so much.

Does every film fan go through a stage where they feel compelled to try their hands at a screenplay? As a lover of film, the craft of it all is just as compelling as the finished product. Everyone has ideas but translating those ideas into something comprehensive is demanding on its own, let alone writing anything entertaining that anyone would want to read.

Basically just wishing you luck and very curious and hopeful you can push through and accomplish what you are setting out to do. As a lifelong procrastinator, you have my sword.

And Final Draft is where it's at.
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RodofWar View Post

Ruckuss, your story is eerily similar to my own. I've been working through an idea for a script for a little over a year, taking notes and changing the story ideas, but I have a specific idea for the climax and end of the screenplay. I've just written a short screenplay (26 pages) as practice, not intending to write anything revelatory, yet just the act of writing it and jumping unto the the mindsets of the characters is very informative, scary, and thrilling. The dialogue goes where it wants and if I wasn't careful the ship would start to veer in radically different ways that I had originally envisioned. Some for good, most not so much.

Does every film fan go through a stage where they feel compelled to try their hands at a screenplay? As a lover of film, the craft of it all is just as compelling as the finished product. Everyone has ideas but translating those ideas into something comprehensive is demanding on its own, let alone writing anything entertaining that anyone would want to read.

Basically just wishing you luck and very curious and hopeful you can push through and accomplish what you are setting out to do. As a lifelong procrastinator, you have my sword.

And Final Draft is where it's at.


Thank you for the encouragement.  I'm going to finish it.  I'm having too much fun writing it.  This has been the easiest thing I've written so far.  The children's book, believe it or not, has been a nightmare.  I got to 3,000 words and was like, "I need to get professional feedback.  So, I know how to approach this."  That was going too much at a "snail-pace."  I just wanna get an idea and execute.  I'll go back to that down the road.  

 

I have enough knowledge on the language of film, that I don't really feel the need to study it.  So, my free time is either reading:  I'm reading Alan Moore's, "Jerusalem."-holy shit is it a tough read(but abstract writing is great for brain teasing).   I'm staying away from watching television or movies really.  I may play some video games once and a while for a release.  

 

If I can tell you an amazing trick for writing, make a soundtrack to what you're writing.  It helps, immensely, with breaking through blocks.  It will give you images or visuals to play with.  Get a notebook and just jot down the ideas quickly.  Also, be fearless; write for yourself.  

post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtanen View Post

I'm swamped with work, but sign me up.

PM me your email, good sir!
post #22 of 24
Last November, I started turning a script of mine into a novel. I'm just a few pages away from the midpoint now, so I should be done with the first draft by Spring.

I'm incredibly slow, churning out just a couple pages a day. Every other day, I generally hate everything I wrote that day. But that's pretty standard.

You just have to force yourself to put words down. Don't worry about it being perfect on the first pass. Don't worry about your mom reading it. You're drawing a sketch. You'll hone it later. But you need something to hone. So write.
post #23 of 24

Hey Brad, how's this turning out?

post #24 of 24
I finished the first draft about a month ago. It's about 330 pages. I'm pretty happy with how it.

I'll do my first rewrite after I finish the script I'm working on. Right now, I'm writing an ultra-low-budget horror script that I'd like to self-produce next year. Then everyone in the horror thread can shit all over it.
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