Friday, December 21, 2012

Screenwriting is Like Ironing . . .

Screenwriting is like ironing. You move forward a little bit and go back and smooth things out.
Paul Thomas Anderson



I haven't been posting much lately, except for the occasion "Coffee of the Day" post, which I find amusing and fun. But there are two hard truths to my lack of addition post for this blog with "real" information that would be fun to follow. 

1: I have allowed myself to be busy with other things. There are writers that are meant to write and there is me. I think that I am good writer, but it takes me time to sit down in front of the computer and actually pun out a screenplay. I used to criticize Tarantino for taking forever and a day sometimes before starting production on his next movie (see the gap between Jackie Brown and Kill Bill Vol 1 as an example). It can be hard to actually sit down and create the magic, instead of watching a movie or getting involved with various different family and friend events that come along. To my credit, I do have a full time job that I also have to attend for 40 hours a week. 

*Also, I in no way saying that I am on the level as Tarantino. There are many micro-indie (is that a new term I just made up) film-makers that think that they are Tarantino, the next Tarantino. They are of course wrong. I meant that my situation reminds me of Tarantino long gap between projects, not in any way that I am as him as well. 

2: See the quote above - a valid point. In the last three times that I have sat down to write the script I have made a lot of progress and even have written several pages at a time. However, my page count continues to sit at 20-23 pages. I find that I am ironing out the details as I go. Two years ago, when I wrote the first draft of the story arc I added a long of dialogue scenes, some of which that are only re-stating the dialogue of the scene prior. It was almost like a Stephanie Meyers novel. As it was just a rough of the story arc, I didn't see it at the time as being a problem, and neither did my good friend, fellow film-maker, and now Masters of English graduate Jason White. 

As I am writing the story, I find that I need to trim the fat out of the screenplay. Which is something that I am usually telling everyone else to do. It usually seems that an amateur storyteller/ screenwriter always has 20 pages of screenwriting when they could have told condensed it down to four pages instead. Again, another thing that Stephanie Meyers does in her novels. 

But now that I have half of my scenes from the story arc draft missing, I am left with figuring out the details in the middle. I also changed a few of the character backgrounds, and am trying to figure out how that all fits together. So, the first 20 pages for far have gone threw a few revisions and mainly so that I can build a strong foundation for continuing forward. 

And if I can't figure it out from there, then I'll just type up what I originally had on the page and let my film-making peers tear it to shreds with notes and suggested revision - and then go from there. 

Ryan McDonald