Month: February 2014

Scriptwriting: Victoryyyyy!

You can’t see me…and lucky you, truly…but I am kind of glee flailing.  Today I finished part Le Deux of my script.  Yes, it ended up shorter than part Le Premiere, but I am 11 pages over my goal, for being this far into the script.

Yes, I have the entire last part to write, but that will be relatively easy, as I’ve already laid the groundwork for the downward spiral of doominess.  I left plenty of room for chaos, despair, and mayhem.

Of course, the revisions will come, but it is much easier to revise than to work from the ground up.

So.  Yes.  I AM preening and strutting like a peacock.  I’ve totally earned the right to do so.

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Screenwriting: Part Two, Nearly DONE? WAT?

Yes, you read that header right.  BUHLIEVE me, I am nearly as surprised.  Especially since I was damn near flailing a few days ago.

See, with my first part being at roughly 41.25 pages, I was freaking out, thinking that the other two parts had to be of equal length.

“Not So,” said I to my Anal Retentive Nature, “the beginning was the back story, and the groundwork for what I’m doing now. It NEEDED to be long, so the audience could give a damn about these characters when they started to go off their rocker.  If I wimped out and held back, there would be no reason for you to care about what happens to them later.”

“Ah,” said my Anal Retentive Nature, “I think I get it, now.”

All this silliness (that actually happened, but in my head) aside, I have decided that, as long as part two ends at the moment where the tension is at its highest, all is well.  The film isn’t going to be viewing in parts, but as a whole, so who cares if they are equal in length.  Also, whether you’re watching a trilogy or reading a book, part two is essentially the climax: shit is/or has gone down, and things are looking pretty terrible, or like they’re about to arrive at Terrible’s front door.

So, yeah.  I might go in and add a page or two to make things look really, really bad for the protagonists, but mostly I’m going to put a chunk of the story in part three: personal downward-spiral of my characters, things getting worse, terrible revelations, uncertain fates, death, destruction, rebirth. ALL THAT.

So, maybe I’ve been flying a little high, lost as I’ve been in my characters’ heads.  Maybe I’m ecstatic from so much progress in just two days.  Either way, I’m doing this shit.

Come rain, shine, or personal melt-downs, I am going to Keep Buggering On.

Screenwriting: DING DONG, THE WICKED WRITER’S BLOCK IS DEAD

So, it’s been a few days since I could really sit down and write.  I have had moments where I’ve done research, or looked up pictures, or bookmarked articles about morticians’ practices, but no real time to write.  This, understandably, was making me Coo-Coo for Cocoa Puffs.  I was having mini anxiety attacks about my deadline, my story, my life, and so on.

With several ideas in mind, and armed with many notes and a heavily notated physical copy of part one, I sat down to go to work on my script.  I tweaked, and edited, and added scenes where there needed to be scenes, and changed bits that needed to be changed.  As I was very much In The Moment, I also started tweaking part two to fit in with my changes.  So far, I am at page 13 of the estimated 25 pages of part two, which isn’t so bad, considering I have two more weeks to get to that point.

All in all, I am happy with what I got done, but realize that I needed that time to really sit on my project and think about a few of the characters that I loved, but were not working as they were.  Also, it gave me a chance to realize what I was building up towards wasn’t working as is.  So, I gave that plot line a metaphorical death, while giving the new character responsible for that plot line a literal death.

Maybe it was a bit of a cop out to go the “possible new friend…? NO, I KEEEEL HIM” route, but I can always go back and tweak things, if needed.  Honestly, I just needed that moment to underline the difference between two characters, and that scene very much served its purpose.  Whether or not it works, over all, remains to be seen.

Anyway, I am just glad that I found a way to solidify my part one in a way that it makes the events in part two much less of a stretch.  Hopefully, my Guru of Screenwriting will feel the same way.  If not, at least I know he will give me a plethora of lovely, helpful notes.

Scriptwriting: I Have An Idearrrrrr

Soooo, as far as initial script feedback sessions go, it wasn’t bad.  The overall reaction to Part the First was positive, w/ a few minor tweaks and a few Good Questions asked about things that need a-bit-more-than-minor tweaks.

Still, I’d rather people point out the “Eh…huh?” moments than blow smoke up my ass.  Constructive Crit (as long as it is C-O-N-S-T-R-U-C-T-I-V-E and not “dun like it, boo”) can actually lead to minor characters becoming a bit more than a plot vehicles and (gaspsurprise) the writer/author/screenwriter discovering a more organic way to bring about a future (very important) plot point.

If you couldn’t guess, all this and more went down after my script discussion.  I found a way to make a bit of breathing backdrop a bit more relevant, and also tie her in with a later plot point.  So, yeah…with the post-meeting brainstorming and a bit of old-school editing (pencil, meet paper…now KISSSS), I’m just a tad bit pleased with how much Work I actually got done today.

Screenwriting: Mad Hatter, March Hare…

This is kind of what I’ve been feeling like the last few days, which is why I have not been writing nearly as much as I should be.  Still, I managed to do a bit of research on embalming practices…For Reasons…and now feel like I can continue on doing what I have to do.  This is, I think, my weekend to be a complete shut in and get down and dirty with this script.  I want to have time to really get this as good as it’s going to get, and not feel rushed to get shit done.

Still, with all the other Real Life Things hanging over my head, I’m feeling like the unhappy child of the March Hare and the Mad Hatter: “I’m VERY, VERY late for an important date, and-twiddle dee dee, it’s driving me mad, mad, MAD.”

While I don’t necessarily have time to write right now, I am going to make a point to write as much as possible starting this evening, and continuing on till Friday.  Sat is, sadly, reserved for my Other work, but still.  Two days, plus change, devoted to writing should go a long, looooong way towards getting rid of this sense of growing anxiety.

I hope.

Scriptwriting: WRITER-HULK, SMASH

So, I ended up going back and doing more than simply writing up a script break down.  Mostly this way because I was in the right frame of mind to go over the troublesome bits from yesterday, but also because I know that if I let myself kick back and put it off, I will do so till the final deadline.

Procrastination is my Fatal Flaw.  If I were a demigoddess, I would have died young, because I would have kept putting off fighting the monsters till they stormed my house and ate me.  Just saying.

Anyway, I put my foot down and did some writing.  I was pleased to find that breaking down my script by pages helped, as I ended up subconsciously sticking to it.  I said I was going to get to THIS plot point by page 45, and by gum, I did.  So, I was happy enough to stop for today.

To be honest, I feel like I HULK SMASHED the hell out of my script, in the best way.  I am that much closer getting to the really nitty gritty bits, and the surprisingly brutal climax.  I just have to keep chipping away at it and try and get in at least 5 pages per session, and I’ll be golden.

 

Screenwriting: The Evolution of A Story

It’s interesting to me how much a story can evolve over time.  Not even so much from concept to screen, but from concept to page.  Honestly, I find the story taking me down unexpected roads even as I’m writing down a break down for the rest of Part 2, and the whole of Part 3.

These new roads and alleys that I’m traversing are not unwelcome side trips, per se, but definitely unexpected.  Still, if there is one thing I learned from the J.K. Rowling “controversy” (and I use this term extremely lightly) regarding the romantic fate of Hermione Granger, it’s that you should let the story take you where it needs to go, instead of falling so in love w/ the original concept, that you end up pigeonholing yourself, your character, your plot, etc.

I had such a defined, clear cut idea when I planned this story out last semester.  I knew what it was going to be about, all the twists and turns it would take, what I wanted, etc.  Still, the more time I had to sit on it–and only sit on it, as I had nothing on hand with which to jot things down over winter holiday–the more time I had to think on all the plot holes, and let the story take me into the land of What Ifs.

This, in the end, was the best thing I could have done for myself, and my story.  These What Ifs led to Hows, Whys, and eventually, Why Nots.  I still have my What If moments, but they are considerably more focused now, and are easier to track into their inevitable Hows and Whys.  Perhaps this is a result of knowing my characters, or where my story is going.  Perhaps it is because my brain is rewarding me for going with the flow of things.  Either way, it’s working, so I’m not about to question the Madness of the Method.

Though I, admittedly, had a bit of a Kermit Flail yesterday, it was more born of general anxiety inherent in creative endeavors than it was true doubt about my commitment, or my inability to get this done.

That being said, I hope my brain knows that that sort of thing isn’t at all helpful, so let’s just have some tea and get on with things, shall we?

Lessons for today:

Let your story as you’re WRITING it, not as you’ve PLANNED it, be your guide.

Tea and plenty of protein make for a happier brain, and a less stressed me.

Don’t be afraid of imperfect. Imperfect can be tweaked to work well.  Imperfect can be interesting.  Perfection is a fallacy with the sole purpose of giving people seeking it anxiety attacks.