Let'TMs get on with the story. Can we?



No announcement yet.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Let'TMs get on with the story. Can we?

    Hardly. Because weâ€TMre condemned to:

    1. Get into every scene as late as possible and leave every scene as early as possible.

    2. Have a killer first page, a killer first 5 pages, and a killer first 10 pages (in other words have the weight of our story tilt this way no matter what our story is).

    3. Introduce our main character in the first page at best or in the first 5 pages at worst.

    4. Never start our story by creating atmosphere â€" just show a crime already committed, blood already spilling, relatives and friends already crying.

    5. Never say what we mean â€" just hint at it.

    6. Never reveal too much â€" let the audience figure it out.

    7. Never tell - just show.

    8. Respect science and the equilibrium of the universe (or religion and the sanctity of God or our family and its reputation in the block) more than our story.

    9. Shove all this into 3 acts, 110 pages.


  • #2
    this isn't like cooking though. following directions is more of a nebulous quotation than anything else.

    get in late out early kind of looses its focus as you string scenes together. all those axioms are like when your father or mother is teaching you how to ride a bike. center your balance. let your arms do the work. don't panic. try again. i have aloe for that cut.

    it's not like we all put our pants on the same way type thing.



    • #3
      "Shove all this" just about sums up my reaction. Each of these points has its diametric opposite that may fit at an appropriate and effective moment. Just tell the damn story.

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


      • #4
        do people actually think about this stuff while writing (i mean, in so many words)? because if i thought about all of that while putting words on paper -- rather than later, once the story was down -- it would cripple my writing process.

        i'd still be working on my first script.

        when you sit down to write, do you actually think about all of that? and if so, how does that work? i've never worked like that, so i'm curious.


        • #5
          In answer to the Captain: No, we can't think about this stuff while we're writing. It has to be second nature. It has to become ingrained, and for most of us, that means writing lots of scripts. That's why, for most of us, first scripts suck.

          By the time you reach your tenth script, you don't actively think about these things, you just do them. Story may be the most important thing in a screenplay, but it doesn't really come first. You have to get the basics under control, so you're NOT thinking about them, so you can concentrate on the story.


          • #6
            i wasn't asking what "we" can do, nick. i write how i write -- and i don't really intend to change that. i've developed my style and approach over a ten year period.

            i just want to know what other individuals do. that interests me.


            • #7
              That's the job - to tell a story in those constraints. That's why screenwriting is difficult.

              - Bill


              • #8
                I think about all that when I outline, and some of it when I write.

                Knowing we need a killer opening, my partner and I think about what it should be before we start writing. (Even though we often end up replacing it with a better killer opening in the rewrite.) We take it as a given that thinking up a unique and effective beginning is part of the job.

                When we outline well enough (which we admittedly don't always do) we already know where we have to go with each scene, so we can concentrate less on thinking about what should happen next, and more on how to tell the story artfully.

                I agree with Nick that how to tell a story well becomes second nature, so that at this point, we wouldn't think of starting a scene with the characters all coming in and introducing themselves and making small talk.

                The more you write and read, the more you know what the professional standards are, and the more you wouldn't allow yourself to deliver less.


                • #9

                  hey, um, what's your point? that screenwriting is restrictive? well, it is. try writing epic novels or just quit, or, write epic screenplays - that's an option. you won't option it but it's an option. wait - just quit. yes. this is best



                  • #10

                    Peakbeach, numbers 1, 3 , and 4 answer your question of "Letâ€TMs get on with the story. Can we?"


                    • #11
                      piece of cake

                      If you think telling a compelling story in 110 pages is difficult, you ought to try telling a unique story in less than a full page, delivered in three minutes running time and seamlessly married to a unique melody.

                      Some of us have worked within that structure for years.


                      • #12
                        Re: piece of cake

                        That's a great point, greyghost. Think of the blues--all the great ones tell a whole story, both emotionally and plot-wise.


                        • #13
                          Writing is rewriting. Most writers probably don't achieve all those objectives in the first draft - that's why you go back and revise. And keep revising until you have achieved them. It's a process. Don't let yourself be overwhelmed at the start - just start writing and rewriting.


                          • #14
                            I don't think about any of that while I write. Some of the questions posed at the beginning of this thread are second nature to me now, since I've been writing scripts for years. However, I'm constantly trying to write the best story the best way I can, regardless of all the "notions" of what a script can or cannot be.

                            I never believed in coloring within the lines, either, or that my tree had to have a brown trunk and green leaves.

                            Writing a script is like building a cabinet: you can have as many drawers as you want it to, and it can be as tall or short or wide as you think it needs to be, and it can be round, square, rectangular, etc... but it does have to look like a dresser at the end of the day, and it has to show that it was made with skill.


                            • #15
                              I agree that you can't consciously keep all those "rules" in mind at all times and expect to tell your story.


                              ...most of those things peak listed as impediments to getting on with the story are actually HOW you get on with the story. They're not hindrances at all -- in fact, they're the means by which you get to your story and keep it going.