Act II Procrastination



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    Guest replied
    Outlining is writing

    I outline extensively. For me, it's the most fun part of the process. You have to figure the story out at some point. The question is do you do it upstream or downstream, before you put a paddle in the water, or after you realize that you paddled onto the wrong fork of the river.

    I think many writers avoid outlining because they don't view it as actually writing. The same problem exists in the computer industry. A project will get under way, and a decision will be made to start coding before the specs are finalized. Then functionality and business rules get added late in the process because no one sat down and thought the project out COMPLETELY from start to finish. Ship dates slip because the project has to be reengineered to meet the new spec. Then bugs creep in because the old code wasn't written to work with the new code. About half the time the project dies.

    In my experience, new screenwriters and new software engineers share the same misconception: If fingers aren't tapping on the keyboard, then they're not doing their job. It's not about the code/script; it's about what the code/script does for people.

    What we're doing is telling stories in a highly formatted and abbreviated manner. On average we have only about 4000 printed lines in a screenplay to tell our story. That doesn't leave any room for wrong turns, and extraneous elements. We have to make those story decisions at some point. I find it's easier to make them before I write a scene that I absolutely love, but isn't relevant to the story, or I create a character that is funny and engaging, but doesn't provide a good counterpoint to my hero.

    Someone once used a mountain climbing analogy that I thought was apt: When you're climbing a mountain, you can only see what is directly in front of you and directly behind you. Therefore, when you're climbing is not the time to be making decisions about your route. That's why you plan your ascent when you can see the whole thing from the foot hills or the valley.

    My 2 cents,

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    Guest replied
    I do a short rough drafted 'penciled' outline, then head for the computer to either start on a script or a treatment. I've never submitted an outline.

    Sidenote: What's odd is that I'm more creative when I 'pencil' write, as opposed to 'thinking on a computer'.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Yes, welcome to A2P. Hey, sounds like a new movie, huh? ID4. MIB. T2.

    And now...

    Coming to a theatre near you...

    A2P -- Act II Procrastination.

    I recently read this book, 500 way to beat the Hollywood script reader. In it,
    they said something about the 2nd Act having between 4 and 8 sequences in it but
    I don't know if that is true. It actually sounds too low to me.


    Who here outlines? Or not?

    To outline or not to outline. That is the question.

    Rebel Maverick

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Welcome, and I agree with everything that Wannabe said, especially that 'red wine' part. So, when you want to become creative--it's a sip of red wine, and another sip, and another sip, and then, after a while, you've consumed the whole damn bottle! Just ask Wannabe...

    Anyway, ask questions, observe, and for cryin' out loud--stay out of the heated arguments here!!

    P.S. And, yes, your presentation does wonders for the heart--should make some people look around and count their blessings--did me. I'm glad you jumped on-board, Rebel, and again, welcome.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Act II Procrastination

    Hey Rebel

    Welcome aboard. Nice intro, warms one's heart.

    I'm at the same stage as you - end of act 1, facing the wide open spaces of act 2, and looking for reasons to avoid it. I guess everyone has different ways of dealing with it. I like to break Act 2 into two halves, with a (more-or-less) midpoint, making it easier to manage. I make points of what's meant to happen and where, then I step on the journey and see where it takes me. People who outline and do the card system claim they don't have problems with act 2 because they've got everything plotted by the time they sit down and start writing. Me? I hate outlines, so I have an endpoint which must be reached and I aim at it...often I miss, but sometimes I'm taken to a different endpoint I never even considered. Oh and good red wine always makes the journey more pleasant.

    Don't be scared to send things out. The worst that can happen is that someone will say no (and believe you me, unless you're a phenom, you're gonna get a lot of 'no's'). It's wise to wait until you think your work is ready, but there comes a time where you can wait no more, and then it's send it out there and be damned...or blessed.

    This is a cool site, but a word of warning. Some of the people here are potty, and I mean potty as in a few feathers short of a duck. But they're always entertaining, so enjoy. Just one more thing, be careful of this place becaue you might find yourself visiting it at every spare moment just to avoid Act 2.

    Welcome again.


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    Guest started a topic Act II Procrastination

    Act II Procrastination

    Hello from Heaven!

    How is the water down there?

    I have been lurking around for quite some time now and thought it was time for a proper introduction. My name is John Bradford Goodman, 29, currently suffering from ACT II PROCRASTINATION.

    And momma, I got it bad!

    Okay, a little history. I was born with a rare type of muscular dystrophy. Never been
    able to walk. Have had to sleep in an iron lung since I was twelve. Don't have many
    friends. NEVER had a girlfriend. Am not gay. Don't do drugs. Don't drink. But who's

    I've ALWAYS wanted to make movies. I think Lucas and Spielberg are responsible
    for that. I started writing my first screenplay almost ten years ago. It was awful.
    Since then I have written thirteen drafts of four different screenplays. The last two
    of which aren't too bad. One of those was actually a semi-finalist in the last Open Door
    contest. Then again. Big whoopie. Fourty-nine were also semi-finalists. Oh yeah,
    I just graduated from film school at San Diego State University. Wrote and directed
    5 shorts and a documentary while I was there. Broke and in debt because of it but
    who's complaining?

    About five years ago, after I finished the 1st draft of my 2nd script, I sent out 5
    queries. Richard Herman called me back requesting the script. I was so terrified that
    it was garbage that I never sent it. That was the only time I ever queried. But now,
    I think my work doesn't suck too bad. And the time is coming for a massive query
    attack. I'm just not sure whether or not to wait until I move to LA in February.

    Anyway, that's my story. I am now in the process of writing my fifth script, and my
    first comedy (Oh dear!). This little introduction was a terrific way to get me away from
    page 36. (Where do we go after the first plot point?) DD is a great site and you guys
    seemed to be having such a good time that I thought I would join the festivities!


    Or as Billy Crudup said... "I'M ON DRUGS!!!"

    Thanks for the party favors, guys and gals.