I've done all of this, but what should I do before I start?



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  • I've done all of this, but what should I do before I start?

    Over the last 4 weeks:

    0. I wrote a step-outline over 3 weeks for my first "dream script" idea about A.I. issues (far to complex to start with).

    1. Then wrote a second step-outline (simple subject, but smarter than the first) on 45 file cards in three days. It evolved numerous times while I educated myself with this forum.

    2. I wrote a two page synopsis with clarity

    3. I made a good attempt to understood the characters in reference to the plot, their struggle is clear.

    4. Read three full scripts and "Screenwriting" by Lew Hunter.

    5. Saved 100 different pages from my favorite scripts to understand how to do what I need for my scenes.

    6. Got my first computer, and INTERNET connection (Hi everyone), plus screenwriting software.

    7. And of course posted a few silly thread on this forum.
    (But only because I became a little "Creatively Manic" when a spider slide down a single web and ended up on my nose. This brain jolt gave me the current script idea, but it took a while for it to evolve into what it is now.)


    Is there on one book I should read before I start? Should I just get stuck in? Can you learn to write good dialogee or is this just a skill that you have, my first attempt below.

    **t **

    (Not formatted right, I know)

    Phone. RING RING RING RING - Answer

    Hi David

    Hi Sean

    I was just talking to myself for a second,
    I picked up the phone and started
    talking without pressing the button.


    So what about this spider Dave?

    What's that?

    About the spider? <laughter>

    (Being stupid)
    The 'spidy' man.

    You were going on about the spider
    in your txt message but you didn't tell me what
    actually happened.

    When I looked up from my desk,
    it was hanging on a single web right in front
    of my face, just 20cm's from my nose.

    (Dr. Evil style laughter)
    He he he he

    It gave me a brain spasm!

    There you go….That's what spider's do man,
    Isn't it man?

    It was a little bite scary and I got freaked out.
    Ahh, its been mad. That spider, I put him
    In a jar to save him. It's the biggest
    fcukin' spider that I've seen in all of the
    UK....My whole life!

    Get out?

    He was 8cm from leg to leg, like a spider
    from Cabarete.

    Oh, go on…What the one in your house?

    Yes Mannn

    Get to fcuk!, That's like 4 inches.

    Pointless I know...................

    Thanks for all of your replies. I got two months
    before it get warm and we start kitesurfing lots!


  • #2
    what's going on here?

    What exactly is your question???


    • #3
      Re: what's going on here?

      Is there one more really good book that I should read before I start writing? D.


      • #4
        Re: I've done all of this, but what should I do before I sta

        4. Read three full scripts and "Screenwriting" by Lew Hunter.
        Three scripts just isn't enough. Aim for 100. No, I'm not kidding. I repeat, I'm not kidding. Don't start writing until you pass the 25-30 mark. Keep reading more scripts while you're writing. Once you hit the target, continue reading 2-3 scripts each week.

        My Web Page - naked women, bestial sex, and whopping big lies.


        • #5
          what to do

          "How to write a screenplay in 21 days" might help you start and finish your first draft. Also, go to www.simplyscripts.com and read produced scripts.


          • #6
            Re: I've done all of this, but what should I do before I sta

            I agree with TonyRob on setting aside some time to read several scripts. Mostly because I'm in the same boat with not doing it sooner.

            It also wouldn't hurt to practice breaking the scripts down into the 3 act structure after reading them. Attempting to find key beats like the inciting incident.

            I like the exercise idea, too. A little practice never hurt any athlete before the big game. Why can't a screenwriter spend some time practicing for a month or two before taking on the real deal? Like with most sports, your writing will only improve with repetition. Why work out the kinks on real script when you can do it Miyagi style: "Wax on, wax off".

            Of course, there's no "right" way to get started, but reading a lot of scripts, identifying structural elements within them, and practice probably won't hurt anyone. I wish I had done some more of that when I started out.


            • #7
              Re: I've done all of this, but what should I do before I sta

              Ah, okay, based on your list, here are a few more scripts you should read (try to find early drafts; many are available online):

              Minority Report (long script)
              Shallow Grave
              Panic Room
              Absolute Power
              Requiem For A Dream (style, style, style)
              Fight Club
              A Nightmare on Elm Street
              The Sixth Sense
              Go (the spec draft, available online)
              Blade Runner
              Dark City (early draft)
              The Talented Mr. Ripley
              Night of the Hunter (older, but definitely worth a read)
              Psycho (same; remember, "words on the page" styles have changed)
              Lethal Weapon
              The Long Kiss Goodnight
              Silence of the Lambs
              Rear Window
              A Clockwork Orange
              Sandman (on www.wordplayer.com)
              Die Hard
              Taxi Driver

              That should get you started.

              Not all of these are great scripts, but they're all "required reading."


              • #8
                Re: I've done all of this, but what should I do before I sta

                Is that dialogue going in your script? Because it's pure exposition, all telling, no showing, and yes, a good deal of it is pointless. Don't have the characters saying anything we don't need to hear/know for one reason or another.

                There are a billion better ways to get across the information that a big spider landed on someone's nose. Like, you know, showing that scene.


                • #9
                  Re: I've done all of this, but what should I do before I sta

                  My favorite,
                  THE WRITER'S JOURNEY by Christopher Vogler
                  THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES by Joseph Campbell

                  I second what dpat said. read read read.
                  Read screenplays or die a horrible unsuccessful death as an unrecognized writer.


                  • #10
                    Re: I've done all of this, but what should I do before I sta

                    Don't start writing until you pass the 25-30 mark

                    I agree that you need to read scripts like they're goin' out of style, but to not even start writing until you've read 25-30? I feel that this is just not sound. You HAVE to start putting words on paper, or you'll end up being just being a "well, I'll start AFTER the next script."

                    Definitely read some books. The book I ever read on the subject was Hunter's book, and then I started writing, and reading scripts.

                    I just don't think you have to wait, is all.


                    • #11
                      Re: I've done all of this, but what should I do before I sta

                      I disagree, slightly, Noh, only because it shouldn't take that long to get through 30 scripts. If you read a script a day, it'll take a month (okay, maybe a month and a half if you give yourself a cushion). And when you're starting out, I think it is a good idea to read a script every day. I didn't until years later, and I wish I had right away.

                      What you could do during that 30 script period are some exercises. For example:

                      - write a scene that introduces a major character
                      - write a scene between two characters, where one character wants something and the other character isn't giving it to them (it could be information, a kiss, an object, whatever)
                      - write a scene with two characters who say everything to each other but what's on their minds
                      - write a scene between two characters where they don't say anything at all, and yet there's conflict and the reader understands what's happening



                      • #12
                        Re: I've done all of this, but what should I do before I sta

                        No, it wasn't planned for a script. Good point on it being pointless also, tnx.:\

                        I've saved 8 scripts to read:

                        The MAtrix,
                        Basic ~Instinct
                        Broadcast news
                        Jacobs Ladder
                        The butterfly effect
                        The ninth gate
                        Wild things

                        Can someone please point me to a thread regarding scripts
                        that one should read. I'll also get the book mentioned.

                        Thanks all.


                        • #13

                          If you have to ask people what movies to watch, give up now. They can't tell you.
                          If you watch movies and know what you like, then that's where to start. Watch a bunch more. Read a bunch more scripts.
                          If you aren't a movie fan and don't know what you like, you have no business writing screenplays. Find out what you should be writing. (Or if)


                          • #14
                            Re: /

                            Even though Tony has the audacity to disagree with me, even slightly, his list I am forced to say, is gold.


                            • #15
                              Re: /

                              If you can still keep count of all the scripts you've read, you haven't read enough.