Tuesday, May 16, 2006

my little desk

First things first, I receive regular emails from buddies and fellow writers about my opinion and help on screenwriting and other writing avenues. I appreciate that but please do realize that my answers are nothing but personal take on them. I suggest to do plenty of your own research and then ask for opinions. I will always try to help as much as I can but I wanted to make sure everyone understand where I'm at now. There might some concepts I address here but it is one voice within more than just a bunch of people. I am certainly not trying to misdirect anyone. So really, take my blog and thoughts for what it is.

Your comments are always welcome and although I do not reply in here. I do try to PM or email those who do take the time to post a little something.

So here is what I look and do before I go into my zone ( when I start my first draft).
I think first about the topic I want to invest time into.

Was it done before?
I've been told any ideas/concepts I can come up with was/is already made/filmed/written about. I looked for a confirmation of this tell tale. Tell tale became fact and there...Is this something you can catch to read or watch? I try to (over)analyze the possible strengths and weaknesses in what gets in my hands or in front of my eyes.

How well was it made?
Was the novel/script/short story turned into a movie? Got to be careful here. Of course an idea cannot be copyrighted but it doesn't mean I want to go and rip off a made manuscript. Where is the satisfaction in this? Quick money? No way, it's a paying hobby if you do it right but who said I wanted to be pointed as a copycat? I try to thread carefully here.

Can the concept/idea be made better?
I believe so, hence the reason why I tend to keep on reading and watching. As a writer (yes, writer means having your own imagination- for me at the very least - ), I need to see what I can bring into the subject. I want this idea to be mine. Something I could say is personal. Writing had always been a personal matter to me and it's one of the reasons why I have only shared it with a few people and not looked to publish them.

So there, I have a basic idea and I know it has been made/written previous to my attempt. I then look for something personal to add into the concept. Will it sell? Will it be worth a read and maybe a recommend? I don't go for a half-baked ideas. I take the time to make sure I enjoy the process. Heck, I'm going to spend three to four months onto it. I better make it worthwhile, right?

And now into the logline. At least, a plausible one I can still play with until I am satisfied.
Logline tags on the storyline and its flow. Beginning, middle and end of the script should be seen online.

At my beginning, I've written scripts without having an idea of a logline. Today, I do not write a script or anything close to it without making one. It's crucial for me. So my main idea and the story basically needs to cover into a couple of sentences. Ouch! Logline reflects structure heh? I hated it! I used to write without the need to follow a structure but nowaday, I became quite anal about checking my writing. I saw the light!

Great, I got my concept/idea turned onto a logline and it is reflecting the story base.
On I go onto the outline and again the structure of the story.

What do I want my story to be? Where is it leading? What do I want to show these possible movie goers?

At this point, I have most of what I want to write in my head. If I don't have it, I come back to my logline. It's important. I have yet to sit down to scribe away. I've done the mistake of drafting without making anything outlined. It showed. My ideas were all over. No structure and it read like a pile of bile. Am I going to do that again? Nope. Give and take, I am a new screenwriter and therefore, I will need to stick to what I do now. It's the beginning of everything. Make it right and take the time, some said to me. I can't disagree.

It's a start. Respect that structure and make sure each step leads to the next. Can't be episodic. It must flow. Writing the outline will make sure I have the base. I also make sure to separate intro, development and conclusion into their own part. It doesn't have to be fancy at this point. Just very basic description of scenes with the who/where/when.

With the outline out of the way, I start to flesh it out for a treatment.

I give the treatment much more description and ideas of how each scene plays. What is at stake even and make it so that they have a beginning, middle and end. I make sure that my story follows the structure. A safe bet but since it's not all that hard to follow. Why shouldn't I? More than a couple of fellas out there would tell me structure and story must go hand in hand. Otherwise, the script will fail. Sounds rough but I've seen it. I've done the mistake before. It's possibly meant to be fun but I don't see the point of wasting my time. Much like when I am painting my figurines. I set up the desk to make sure all is there for me to work with. I don't paint a figurine and then put the first coat. See what I mean?

Splendid. I got myself a script treatment. I jump into Final Draft and start writing...Right? Heh?


I do my research about things my characters will do, about where they go and live and when they progress. Of course, I am supposed to know what my characters are. At this point, it would be silly of me to write without a good understanding of who my characters. I visualize them, I can even see who could be cast for each of them. It's real personal (although I know some do the same). I must go through it. I might get lucky and have the actors and actresses I thought of having into the play but I don't believe in Santa.

Research and making my "desk" set right, it's the tough part for me but I am not taking any chances. Got to love it though. Ultimately, habits die hard and I am not making a bed I wouldn't want to sleep on.

All of it for a start. I've not even touched Final Draft yet. It takes a lot of time but it leads somewhere. I know it does because I might not believe in Santa...But I do believe in my dreams.