Thursday, September 25, 2008

TGIT

Thank God It's Thursday!

Just checking in before hitting the script a little bit. Last night I pasted my rough draft into Movie Magic and I was excited to see that it was only 102 pages. I thought it would be way too long. I need to make some more whitespace though, which means dissecting the dialogue a lot. A few of the scenes need descriptions still. That's what happens when you have been working on the same script for a long time I guess. You get white line fever!

Here's an old entry from a journal I kept over the summer. Sounds like I'm cheating, but wouldn't you, the reader of this blog, rather that I spend my time writing while I'm inspired? I thought so.

A Screenwriter’s Journey

I began writing my first screenplay, Unusual Business, in the winter of 2006, with a coworker. It was really inspired by working in the corporate environment, with what we liked to call “freaks”. It gave us a much needed respite from the day-to-day dealings with our bosses, our responsibilities, and the stresses of life. I wrote at lunch time and in the middle of the night when my family slept. My partner wrote at home when he felt like it.

The main character, PSD, was a real amalgam of eccentricities, not based on anyone in particular. We purposefully used every cliché in the book to mold him, to make him seem comic bookish and contrived. He was part Hugh Hefner and part Donald Trump, with parts Monty Burns and Homer Simpson thrown in. A man of contrasts.

It took us two drafts to even get a story down. We then realized that we didn’t really have characters that people cared about. Or a soul. What is the soul of our script? What is it that reaches out and touches the reader? I think it is about the underdog triumphing under pressure. Or something like that anyway. Here comes a third draft.

I noticed that we usually met a milestone with each draft. The first draft was more catharsis than anything. To get it out there. To clean the bowels of the creative mind. The second draft, this time, was to get a real story. The third, to find the soul of the script. To make people give a squirt about the characters.

Speaking of soul, using peer review websites, people gave us very valuable feedback about many aspects of the story. What we thought people would love, people hated, or never even commented on. It was frustrating but fun and an excellent learning experience to use these sites. I can't recommend American Zoetrope's website enough!

Talk to you soon.

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