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Old 02-25-2010, 09:04 PM   #1
Deadlock
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(Wryly) AKA "all things screenwriting"

Anyone who's ever written "FADE IN:"... grab a drink and pull up a chair.

So... war stories, stupid questions, shamefaced confessions, delusions of grandeur, tortured screams from development hell... lets hear it.

Pale Horse, you writing?
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:15 PM   #2
Pale Horse
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Not like I used too, but more lately then in the last two years (you know....that toddler thing...). I have been bit by a muse. To that end I am reading more....too. They fuel each other.

I found your commentary in that other thread a bit telling, and convicting.

Having read 'Wall-E' I have a new found appreciation for it. Helps to get into the mind of the writer in so many ways.
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:22 PM   #3
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I've got one feature written.

Absolutely the most daunting task I've ever undertaken. And boy is that thing ever a shameful mess. It's full of plot holes, unresolved threads and logical leaps/ assumptions like you wouldn't believe. That aside, it is a first draft and written under a severe time crunch. I've changed in the intervening two years-- I plan to pull that sonuva***** apart soon and rework it to something more in-keeping with my current mindset. Not a day goes by that I don't ponder the piece and scratch down notes on how it may be improved.


That said, my real skill is behind the camera, directing. I have great ideas, but I find organization through visual cues more easily than I do through a jumble of words. I get lost trying to articulate myself when I write it down. It's easier to take what's in my head and make it visual than it is to express it in words.
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:59 PM   #4
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In today's progressive, ulta-PC climate, you absolutely, positively cannot cast the female lead in a traditionaly subservient role -- like a secretary.
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:50 PM   #5
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I wrote a 113 page feature script when I was a senior in high school.

My god is it awful. But back then I thought it was fantastic.

I write a lot of comic scripts now, because I have the skill to make them. So I'm sticking with that so far. My shortest one is about 6 pages. My longest one is about 27 pages.

I've written some animation scripts too because, well, it's my major.

Some I like, some I don't like. I have the unfortunate need to be in control of everything and people tell me I'm a perfectionist. Something "great" I write doesn't stay "great" for more than a day or so.
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:31 AM   #6
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I've written three to date, and am currently reworking the third. Many sources have said your first eight or nine scripts will probably be crap, but you have to get through them before you get your rhythm, start writing decent dialogue, etc.

Looking back, the first was absolutely horrible, the second okay but not that great. Pretty happy with this third. Entered it twice into the Virginia Governor's Screenwriting Competition. Not a big comp, but statewide and thru the gov's office, so if it wins at some point I might actually be able to get someone to represent it. Good feedback both times I entered, and I'm nearly done with the suggestions from the second time around.

One suggestion I have for those who want to write screenplays, is to not write a big Indy-style blockbuster. Quite simply, no one's going to back an unknown writer for a $100 million epic stunt spectacular.

Write a simple, but compelling story, with good dialogue and interesting characters. A movie that could be made on the cheap.

There are also markets like Hallmark movies, movies of the week, etc. Super cheap, two or three sets max, small handful of characters, and generally simple (sometimes cheesy) stories. They make a zillion of those compared to the couple of dozen big movies that come out each year.


Hey, let's all throw in some of our favorite writing books.

My personal favorite is Vogler's The Writer's Journey. It's a readable take on Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces.

For formatting, etc., Screenwriter's Bible is a must.
(And if you don't have the software, get Final Draft or Movie Magic Screenwriter.)

Also:
Lew Hunter's Screenwriting 101
Lajos Egri's The Art of Dramatic Writing, for theater, but applicable to screenwriters as well, with a focus on three act structure
Syd Field's Screenplay

Finally, Aristotle's Poetics. Incredible how many of his theories apply to screenwriting. Big on three act structure, but there's much more. The main concept that seems to have changed between his time (2300 years ago) and ours is that he states characters are essentially unimportant and that only plot matters. Perhaps I'm overstating a bit, but if you've read it, you understand.

A few others on the shelf, but the titles slip my mind at the moment.
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Old 02-26-2010, 03:30 PM   #7
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79. INT. HOLLYWOOD BUNGALOW NIGHT

The lavish trappings of suburban trinkets line the walls and shelves of this modest 1950's military tract home. They are scattered about and random as the RAIN outside.

In the back room, down the plastered walled hallway, a SOLITARY FIGURE sits at a book and file filled desk. Pictures of HIS family litter the frames placed haphazardly thereon. This is PALE HORSE, the cuckold writer, handsome as he is tired, yet determined to make his mark in Hollywood, if he can just finish his opus screenplay.


He is silhouetted by the electronic glow emitted from his CRT monitor screen. The CURSOR blinks black against the solid white background.

PALE HORSE
(despondent)

Damn. Someone's already used 'Dark and Stormy Knight'




CUT TO
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Old 02-26-2010, 06:07 PM   #8
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I've go written a feature film called Great Heights which is a independent film made in Chicago. http://www.greatheightsmovie.com/

I am currently in pre-production with a short film that I wrote. A small production company is hopefully going to greenlight it so we can make the short for funding.

I have also written one spec tv pilot and three feature films. I am currently submitting my horror spec to screamfest and other horror film festivals.

I am currently working on an Indiana Jones-ish idea that I plan on doing alot with.

My goal in life is to become a screenwriter cause I LOVE writing.

Also you may have heard about a little company called ADP productions....lol
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Brody
In today's progressive, ulta-PC climate, you absolutely, positively cannot cast the female lead in a traditionaly subservient role -- like a secretary.

Hey, Joe, Jenna Fischer called. She said to LET IT GO!

Oh, and as soon as I hung up with Jenna, Gwyneth called from doing Iron Man publicity. I won't repeat what SHE said.

Seriously, I have written other female roles since then. Although I did revisit the secretary thing when I reworked Realm of the Dead as a sort of Hot Fuzz send-up of the adventure film. I even wrote the character with YOUR job title sensitivity...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pale Horse
79. INT. HOLLYWOOD BUNGALOW – NIGHT

The lavish trappings of suburban trinkets line the walls and shelves of this modest 1950's military tract home. They are scattered about and random as the RAIN outside.

Pale, glad to know you're back at it.

Me? Five notches on the feature belt. Well 4 7/8 anyway. I'm still rewriting my latest. Got to get it in shape for the Nicholl.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goodeknight
Hey, let's all throw in some of our favorite writing books...

Solid picks, Knight. Screenwriter's Bible is a must. I only refer to it for formatting stuff, but since that's almost half the battle... yeah, a must.

I recently read Stephen King's "On Writing" and though he's primarily addressing novelists, there are a lot of good tips for screenwriters. His ideas about storytelling "method" really resonated with me. But maybe because his ideas already meshed with my style. I'm not much of an outliner.

Another off-the-beaten-path favorite of mine is Inner Drives. She takes an approach based on the chakras. Sounds very mystical, but it makes a ton of sense. Definitely different than the same ol' three-act humdrum.
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadlock
...Me? Five notches on the feature belt. Well 4 7/8 anyway. I'm still rewriting my latest. Got to get it in shape for the Nicholl...

Care to share the treatment here? In any fashion? Are you going for the early bird deadline?
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:05 PM   #11
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Sorry, lad. I hate to be secretive... but I'm not going to post anything that detailed out here.

(Besides, I don't believe in treatments. I'd prefer to be judged by my ability to write SCRIPTS not treatments/synopses/etc.)
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Old 03-02-2010, 05:04 PM   #12
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69. INT. PALE HORSE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT - MOMENTS LATER

Pale Horse closes the bedroom door. And locks it. He nervously checks the closet and even lowers the blinds. Finally, he takes out a business card and dials a number. He hangs up, then dials again.


PALE HORSE
Bah! Humbug!!

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Old 03-03-2010, 02:05 AM   #13
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Writing for the screen is a hell of a thing, but its just unbeatable in terms of enjoyment and satisfaction. I myself have written two features with a third in development, one 60 page short, one thirty five page short that my friend thinks would be better to pitch as a T.V. pilot, and I wrote all of the shorter short films I did in school which I think are about six.

I was lucky enough to have some underlings at the Weinstein Company look at my very first feature but not to my surprise it was rejected. I absolutely expected a no-go. It seems the first feature is always crap. I revised it once a year or two ago but I have since let it collect dust. The second one is a very personal project that I'm holding onto for a while, it's the kind that I'd like to "make myself as a director" type of situation.

I've been focusing more on the actual directing of films lately. Trying to get funding for one now, but screenwriting is one of my loves... its a ***** some times but there is nothing like a finished screenplay draft with your name on it.

I'd especially like to acknowledge Final Draft for making writing a hell of a lot easier.

Nice to see this thread in existence. Even nicer to see you folks out there doing the writing.
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Old 03-03-2010, 07:48 AM   #14
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Speaking of Final Draft... Any of you kids have Final Draft 8 (and were Final Draft 7 owners)? I'm considering making the upgrade. Moving to Windows 7 may force the issue, but it'd be easier to stomach if I heard someone singing the praises of 8 beforehand.

Last edited by Deadlock : 03-03-2010 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 03-03-2010, 01:13 PM   #15
Dr. Gonzo
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I still have Final Draft 7 ...I myself am wondering if an upgrade at this juncture is worth it or not.

Does anyone out there have the latest?
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Old 03-03-2010, 01:16 PM   #16
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Regarding Final Cut, I hate most upgrades in general, especially to operating systems.

When you're looking at screenwriting software, how different could a new version? Now if it's not going to run on your new OS, that's different. Personally, I wouldn't pay to update simple software.

It tabs and does a little organizing for you. What more do you need?

That said, if you want to try it out, I'm guessing you could probably download a trial version and take it for a test drive.
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Old 03-03-2010, 01:31 PM   #17
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I hear the new version has included a built in algorithm that reads your work, and tells you to use this button before submitting it to an agency....



I'm still using version 6.0.6.0....
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Old 03-03-2010, 03:11 PM   #18
Dr. Gonzo
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I think the one I have is just great. I ran into a guy who I used to go to school with and he told me he was writing spec scripts and that he was using Final Draft 8. I asked what's the difference and he said "Oh man, it's hundreds of times better than 7" but when I asked him to elaborate he basically told me about the features that 7 has already. I'm beginning to wonder if he ever used 7.

While we're on the subject, what brave soul here screenwrites the old fashioned way? (formating it yourself with no software)

Are there any even braver souls who use a typewriter?
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Old 03-03-2010, 10:25 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Gonzo

While we're on the subject, what brave soul here screenwrites the old fashioned way? [size="1"](formating it yourself with no software)[/SIZE


I write everything out longhand, and then format it all sans software. I've tried the other way, but I like to scratch things out, draw arrows, and have the general story arc viewable in one go.
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Old 03-04-2010, 08:16 PM   #20
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I do 90% of my script work in Word. I have "styles" set up to make things look right (complete with ALT+key shortcuts for character, parentheticals, dialogue). The only thing it won't do it break up long bits of dialogue between two pages. (Since my characters tend to be more laconic, that's a bit of a shrug. ) When I'm done with a script, I save as an RTF and import into Final Draft.

I think Final Draft is inferior to Word as a word processor. It's only the script specific tools (character reports, scene reports, etc.) that are really worth it to me. Oh, I also LOVE the read-aloud function for my final polish. The robotic voices are a bit painful to listen to... but the computer will never fill in missing words or any of the other automatic mental adjustments you (or even another reader) will make on the fly.

Last edited by Deadlock : 03-04-2010 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 03-04-2010, 08:59 PM   #21
Dr. Gonzo
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Which version of Final Draft do you have Deadlock?
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:22 PM   #22
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Lucky Number 7.
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Old 03-29-2010, 06:51 PM   #23
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Old 07-03-2011, 04:37 PM   #24
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Balls Out

ba-dump-bump

I just wanted to throw this screenplay out there to those of us who write and read these things, it just got sold and has gained some infamy in some circles. What do you guys think of "Balls Out". Just read the first damn page and see if you want to continue on...

It's been getting some mixed reviews, everything from incredible to intolerable.

http://www.therobotard8000.com/Robotard_Main/Main.html

The link to the actual script is in the middle of the page after the comments from some famous screenwriters.
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Old 07-03-2011, 07:01 PM   #25
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I made it to page 8 before I decided that that I really didn't hate myself enough to continue.
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