Do we have any screenplay writers in our midst?

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rose
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Do we have any screenplay writers in our midst?

Post by rose » August 3rd, 2010, 12:26 am

My next project is a feature film screenplay. I have been surprised to find that I like the extreme discipline of writing for the screen. It's like writing to spec: Scripts have to be formatted just so, and the story has to be propelled by specific beats, each expected to fall within a narrow page count, in a three act form, in exactly 115 pages. As restraining as that sound, it actually opens up a completely different creative sense than book writing.

Do we have any other scriptwriters here?
rose
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daringnovelist
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Re: Do we have any screenplay writers in our midst?

Post by daringnovelist » August 3rd, 2010, 5:39 pm

I wrote screenplays for a while. I placed well in some competitions (won some little ones, got the famed "just missed the quarters" in the Nicholl), and I had one produced as a play at the Discovering New Mysteries drama festival. I also did some script analysis work.

I find the structure of a screenplay as a good "lens" to look at any story structure though. It's kind of like putting a grid over a photograph to help you see how each part plays a part in the whole.

Also, writing coverage really helps your ability to synopsize anything.

Camille

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Livi Wells
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Re: Do we have any screenplay writers in our midst?

Post by Livi Wells » August 3rd, 2010, 6:24 pm

My first major projects are both screenplays. One is probably really bad-I wrote it in my early twenties, but one other is my muse, I guess you can say my soul. It took me over five years to research and finish. A Historical Tragic Hero - screenplay -132 pages. Got really good feedback by a major player who was interested in signing in to make us partners. My other choice was to write another one that wouldn't cost over a 100 million to produce so he could pass it up the ladder without getting laughed at ;)

Now that I have completed my first major novel, I realize how much easier it is to write rather than a screenplay.
Yes it is extremely challenging to fit everything inside such a tight format. Challenging-yes. I would do it again but not for a while.

May I ask what you are working on?

rose
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Re: Do we have any screenplay writers in our midst?

Post by rose » August 4th, 2010, 1:45 pm

Camille, I'm impressed. It sounds like you have a natural gift for that form of story telling.

Liv, my current project is a memoir co-authored with the daughter of a cold war scientist/spy who (some believe) discovered the secrets of "anti-gravity.

The sceenplay is based on a different person from the same era. Amazing the stories that come to light while doing in depth historical research, isn't it? Your character is probably someone famous, but the name of mine would mean nothing to anyone outside of his family. The screenplay itself is a romantic- DWAP, in the Blake Synder SAVE THE CAT typology. I thought Story A and Story B were going to be reversed, but as I write, they seem to be rearranging themselves.

I have heard people say (for years, now) that the study of script writing is guaranteed to enhance literary skills, but I never took the time to investigate it before. Now, that I have, I can see what they mean. If I were the chair of a Creative Writing program,I would make students take Scriptwriting as an introductory course and make that book required reading.

For one thing, scriptwriting does not allow head hopping, so a bad habit never has a chance to take root. And then of course, you can't beat the idea of beat sheets as guides to writing genre fiction.

Perhaps, after i FIINSH this new endeavor, I will be as skitzy about it as you are, Livi,but for now, I am loving it. Thanks for chiming in, ladies. I may be knocking on your door for some advice as I get deeper into the project.

rose
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lac582
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Re: Do we have any screenplay writers in our midst?

Post by lac582 » August 4th, 2010, 11:04 pm

My current WIP is my first novel. I studied screenwriting in school, and at first found it really hard to un-train myself of the constraints of screenwriting. My biggest challenge was learning that it's ok to go into the character's head, since in screenplays it's a no-no to describe anything that cannot be filmed, such as internal monologue (unless you're putting it in voiceover) or descriptions of what the character is feeling.

So yes, I say studying screenwriting is great for absorbing the principles of structure, but don't lose sense of the freedoms only afforded to you in novels either! :)

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Re: Do we have any screenplay writers in our midst?

Post by rose » August 8th, 2010, 12:14 pm

heh...you are loving the luxury of being able to get into people's heads, Lac, and I am enjoying the challenge of thinking in subtext! This is why I say writing is just about the most fun a person can have alone. Where else can we be both teacher and student to ourselves, forever it seems?

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Livi Wells
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Re: Do we have any screenplay writers in our midst?

Post by Livi Wells » August 11th, 2010, 2:30 pm

I agree about writing being the most fun one can have alone, almost.

But sometimes I worry about being too inside my head. My family worries and thinks I am anti-social which I don't think is true, but lately I do prefer my characters to real people-scary.

One thing I learned from screenwriting is that in the screenplay,every word, unlike in a novel, must mean at least three different things that all fit within the story itself. Time consuming to say the very least.

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