The question of which screenwriting book is the best keeps coming up. I read a lot of books since 1998 when I started out in writing and I’ve come to the conclusion that most of them are bullshit. You don’t need them. They may actually be more harm to you than you think.
Sometimes I think this film script will never end. A few weeks ago I completed the first half (60 pages) and I was moving onto the second half. How WRONG I was! I went back and changed a few things and after three full days of work I have redone alot of scenes and I’m happy with it for the time being. I’ve done the first half!!
An American guy I knew once was in a long term relationship with his girlfriend. They were almost two years together until she had to travel to Spain for a summer abroad programme. Just before she left they decided to put their relationship on hold.
The plan was to go to Spain, lock myself into a hotel and write up notes and rework my script. As usual a plan is a list of things that don’t happen. Instead I went out a lot and met old friends, new friends and a whole load of weird and wonderful characters that not only made me fall in love with Granada again but also showed me why I wanted to make this film in the first place.
So here it after 6 years of scribbling, procrastinating and “researching” – it’s done. Well actually not really it’s just the start – most of what is in the first draft won’t be in the final draft. This one is a starting point i.e. if I was making a vase in pottery class this would be a lump of clay, it looks kinda like a vase and it might hold water but it has holes and looks pretty dam ugly. Printed off and it’s in a drawer locked up away. In 2 weeks I’ll take it out and re-write it completely for my second draft
Reached page 69 of the first draft and I haven’t left the house for days. Desk is a mess, I have notes coming out of my ears It’s hard to keep track of every single character – what they’re doing in the scene, before the scene, after the scene and between the scenes. When I started writing I thought I knew these characters but 69 pages in they are actually telling me who they are and are dictating much of the script. It’s not a straight write through – I’m always going back changes things, updating biographies and backstories. Researching the most random things
Step outline done while I was in Granada this Sept. It’s an outline to try and pin down a story – what you see below is set of cards, each representing a scene in the film. I started of writing physical cards because I wanted to lay them out and move them easily by hand. There’s something about touching the cards, feeling of the scenes in your hand seem to make it more real. So far we have 58 cards.
I needed to take considerable time off from writing this film to see if it was worth doing or if I was too connected and passionate about my time in Granada that I was worried that in reality the only person that is going to like this script is me. Coming back to it with a fresh perspective made me appreciate what I had. I also have a better, refined vision to what it will be like.
The story is changing slightly but the essence is still there – I’ve interviewed a few people who were with me on ERASMUS in Spain and it’s helped me mould the script even further.
I’m reviving this blog as a diary of progress. We are back on track
I havent updated this blog for a while. Theres a reason..im lazy. I have the detailed outline of the script already done and now im working on the scene to scene detail. The hardest thing isnt to write the script, but not to get carried away with where its heading. I have to think im not a producer – im just a writer at the moment. Its hard not to think ahead with how to get money, whos going to fund, where im going to get cast and crew.
Script is evoloving too and its hard to categorise what genre it is: coming of age, self discovery, comedy, rom-com, drama etc etc I need to get the right balance between drama and comedy. Im watching Scrubs at the moment and didnt realise how good it was balancing complete bizarre dream/slapstick comedy and sharp sarcasim with drama and self discovery. Obiously the script isnt at this extreme but its a good example that balance is very important. It cant be too serious and it cant be too funny…..it just has to feel real aka Swingers/Reservoir Dogs/Glue like.