Friday, February 25, 2011

Update - Next Steps

I was at a dinner party during the week with (non-film) friends who know about my writing ambitions and were aware of my good news. I took a script of mine along to show them what in fact a screenplay looks like. You forget sometimes that most people don't really know much about the way a film is written. But they're interested and asking questions so it kind of is a nice 'prop' to explain what it is I do. Throw in the "architect" analogy ie a screenplay is really just a blueprint for a construction known as a film to be 'built' and off you go.

Except that doesn't cover half of the screenwriting experience. The synopses, the beat sheets, the treatments, the [fill in your short form document of choice] nor the concept of notes and draft after draft (after draft... after... oh god!). Or the creative meetings, the brainstorming, the staring into space considering possibilities, the occasional argument, and the odd bout of this mysterious disease they call 'writer's block' (or as I like to call it, laziness... certainly on my part!). I covered this here a while back.

So what's been happening?

I have already done a minor polish of The Red Bride at the producers' behest. There is a meeting of Team TRB on Monday to discuss possible script editors and/or readers; possible executive producer targets, other feedback on the script and probably my timelines and milestones for delivery of rewrites. Oh, and a new synopsis and log line and whatever other short form documents are required to help the producers do their job which is to get the money for production!

While that is going on I'm gearing up for a 5 day intensive workshop with Paul Chitlik who is flying out from the US for a couple of weeks in March. I have submitted an older feature script with a different director so we're in the process of pulling it apart - structure points, beat sheets, and eventually a new 25-30 page treatment will be written. Notice, not one single line of actual script throughout any of this! In fact, a tonne of work will be done before I even contemplate tackling the next draft. That is perhaps the critical part most people don't see - the planning, the thinking, the execution of the idea in various forms to get the structure and story in some sort of decent shape before opening up Final Draft (or software of your choice).

Then you come to write the script and you make new discoveries - often what won't work as a scripted scene and what may play much better. Some writers say their characters 'talk to them', I prefer to think of it as a continual process of honing and improving your idea.

Finally, the meeting with a local producer went well so now we go looking for a director for the short film script I wrote; and I attended the premiere of the new West Aussie feature film Wasted on the Young last night. It is always inspirational to see your peers up on stage before a packed screening and wonder what that might feel like one day... hopefully soon...ish... :-)

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