Sunday, March 20, 2011

Treatment Workshop, Part 2 or Keep it simple, stupid!

Ordinary world - A screenwriter prone to writing overcomplicated drafts tinkers with one of his feature creations. He knows there's a damn good story in there somewhere but procrastinates over how to tackle the next draft.

Inciting Incident - On the first day of a five day treatment workshop this writer, whose name may or may not start with *ahem* Richard Hyde, is told that he has "two big stories" and needs to simplify. Holy delete-itis, Batman!

1st Act Turning Point - Rejecting the simpler of the two "big stories", said writer decides to choose Option B(e obstinate then!) and impulsively makes his antagonist the protagonist in a completely new story... with only a few hours to submit a completely revised beat sheet. HELP!

Midpoint - After further comments on the radically revamped story, the writer agrees with the wise Mentor from far away lands that "writing is hard!" Time is short and the story mutates at a rapid rate. A shadowy government agency known only as ScreenWest might have to be called in to contain this sucker.

Low Point - Just when he thinks he's on the home stretch, the flaw returns to bite him on his left justified ass. Desperate cries of "pare down" and "cut twenty percent" ring in his ears. It seems hopeless - there are way too many "babies to kill".

Final Challenge - Armed only with a red pen, a backspace button and a demanding director, said writer wades into a ream of Courier 12 trouble. No minor character is safe from his wrath, no extraneous subplot immune to the eradication.

The Return - Having learnt his lesson, the writer composes one line platitudes for Hallmark cards... No, no, that's not it, damn it! The writer opens a blank word document and commences his latest project with a tried and true slogan in mind - Keep it simple, stupid!


No screenwriters were harmed in the duration of the workshop.

Advice and constructive commentary was, however, freely given and gladly accepted.

It's only a rumour that complaints were made to the Writers' Guild re the inhumane treatment of writers who were forced to stay up laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate to meet daily deadlines.

Everyone's project improved dramatically...

Thank you, Paul.

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