Bring yourself to your scripts

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  • #16
    Re: Bring yourself to your scripts

    Once when the late, great MoviePoet still existed, I wrote a short script with Texas accents. I really worked on the dialogue and even though it was comedy and dialogue was pretty colorful, I thought I had it down.

    Some ("damn Yankee") told me I writing stereotypes and ought to be ashamed of myself. It made me feel kind of bad.

    Then a lifelong Texan and professional writer said I nailed the accents. He said I walked a tightrope and didn't go too far. And said that was hard to do. Which made me feel better.

    I've been writing dialogue since I was five or six (my Dad's a writer) so I guess I'm kind of sensitive about that.
    "I just couldn't live in a world without me."

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    • #17
      Re: Bring yourself to your scripts

      Originally posted by StoryWriter View Post
      Once when the late, great MoviePoet still existed, I wrote a short script with Texas accents. I really worked on the dialogue and even though it was comedy and dialogue was pretty colorful, I thought I had it down.

      Some ("damn Yankee") told me I writing stereotypes and ought to be ashamed of myself. It made me feel kind of bad.

      Then a lifelong Texan and professional writer said I nailed the accents. He said I walked a tightrope and didn't go too far. And said that was hard to do. Which made me feel better.

      I've been writing dialogue since I was five or six (my Dad's a writer) so I guess I'm kind of sensitive about that.
      Love it. Great that your Dad is a writer.
      Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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      • #18
        Re: Bring yourself to your scripts

        Originally posted by sc111 View Post
        Love the wrong numbers technique. Great idea. I eavesdrop a lot get down accents and regional cadence, word choices.

        I recall a woman from the south at work using the phrase: Is John not there? Or, Is John not available? When calling people. Being from the northeast that threw me because I'd say: Is John available? So I used her approach in a character from South.
        I think one guy I was working went a little too far when he said told me he wasn't going to be at work for the next couple of days because he was:
        "Fixin' to get fixed."
        "I just couldn't live in a world without me."

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        • #19
          Re: Bring yourself to your scripts

          Originally posted by StoryWriter View Post
          I think one guy I was working went a little too far when he said told me he wasn't going to be at work for the next couple of days because he was:
          LOL. "Fixin' to get fixed."
          Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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          • #20
            Re: Bring yourself to your scripts

            I think of writers as photographers with words. Yes there are some things that are our unique experiences, but the rest of it is about being present in the world and observing it and choosing which parts of it are worthy of our attention.

            I remember years ago a friend who read a comedy script I had written was disappointed to find out that some of the lines he thought were the funniest had actually been taken from real life.

            The thing is, the simple fact that we NOTICE those lines, and that we SELECT them, is part of what it means to be a writer.

            Other people don't even hear those lines. Or maybe they do and forget them 2 seconds later, and what they certainly don't do is write them down in their notebook, go home, store them somewhere, only to dig them out days, months or even years later to integrate them into a script or other piece of writing. Just like a photographer sees the world around her, a world made of billions and billions of images, and carefully chooses the ones she finds worthy, what we as writers identify as noteworthy is part of the writing process and part of what makes our work unique.

            Writers should never be the person at the bar yammering on about this or that, but rather the person at the bar observing the person yammering on about this or that.

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            • #21
              Re: Bring yourself to your scripts

              Originally posted by Bono View Post
              For some reason everyone was trashing Sorkin yesterday on social media... I don't even want to know... but I was watching Newsroom clips and something Sorkin loves to is talk about sports. Well his characters love to talk about sports. Because obviously Sorkin does.

              So I was just thinking today -- this is the stuff you should bring to your work. We all do it w/o realizing it -- but think of what makes you - you. What you love. You're hobbies. Your favorite band.

              Throw that stuff in, when you can. Bring yourself to the script.

              There was some Actor's studio moment, that isn't online but here is the transcript -- this makes me think of this same point. Actors do it. Writers should too.

              Jack Lemmon
              The legend appeared on Lipton’s show in 1998. While discussing the film Days of Wine and Roses, Lipton mentioned a scene where his character admits he’s an alcoholic.

              What happens next isn’t on YouTube, but even as just a transcript, it’s still one of the most powerful moments in the show’s history.

              Lemmon: “Which I am, incidentally.”
              Lipton: “Who?”
              Lemmon: “Me.”
              Lipton: “Are you talking as Clay [Lemmon’s character] now or as Jack Lemmon?”
              Lemmon: “No, as Jack Lemmon. I’m an alcoholic.”

              Lipton sat there in stunned silence. Lemmon’s wife Felicia later told the host that he had never told this secret to anyone but her.


              He was pretty much praising his performance and all he did was be himself. Same goes with writing. How did you think of that? Well, I lived it. That is me.
              The Jack Lemmon thing is so ridiculous. AA was invented by a priest to increase followers and in doing so increase revenue stream to the church.

              Edited to enlighten: The church is about money. They've been shaming their way to riches for millenia.


              Hey! You might do it in your house, but in this house we don't lick our butts. -- Mother Teresa

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              • #22
                Re: Bring yourself to your scripts

                A screenwriter I respect once told me something very similar a while back.

                What I started to realize is, the reason why it takes me so long to write, or one of the reasons I should say, is that I never create any characters similar to myself.

                I suppose after knowing myself for my entire existence, I do not find my personality as interesting as one I can create.

                But if I were to use part of it, in a main character at some point, I think it'd be incredibly easy to write that person.

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                • #23
                  Re: Bring yourself to your scripts

                  Yes! I'm simply pointing out something many writers do.

                  I do what a lot of first time writers did when I first starting writing -- I took my real life and made it fiction, but I wasn't a good enough writer so I didn't leave out the boring stuff. It was 90 pages of my life -- and boy wasn't it so exciting! Now I'm a little better so when I do steal things, they will appeal than more than just my circle of friends. And it's not 90 pages, but maybe 9 lines of dialogue. You know?

                  Of course plenty of movies where none of your characters have anything to do with you. But maybe... just maybe... you make an important choice or a funny line of dialogue that is 100% you.

                  All I'm saying is don't forget to be human when you're writing about fictional humans.

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                  • #24
                    Re: Bring yourself to your scripts

                    Originally posted by Vango View Post
                    A screenwriter I respect once told me something very similar a while back.

                    What I started to realize is, the reason why it takes me so long to write, or one of the reasons I should say, is that I never create any characters similar to myself.

                    I suppose after knowing myself for my entire existence, I do not find my personality as interesting as one I can create.

                    But if I were to use part of it, in a main character at some point, I think it'd be incredibly easy to write that person.
                    Hey Vango,

                    This makes sense...

                    ...but it's been the opposite for me. I've been banging around with a pilot about my days in the garment industry - it's been the hardest and taken the longest. Almost twice the time it normally takes.

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                    • #25
                      Re: Bring yourself to your scripts

                      I don't find it's any easier or goes quicker myself. Same amount of hard.

                      I just known writers who always bring themselves to their work. Ones who never do. So I brought this up.

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                      • #26
                        Re: Bring yourself to your scripts

                        Bono, for sure. 100.

                        Freddie, not sure, maybe you're so close to the material/character that it is causing you to crank your inner-critic to new heights.

                        Is anyone part of a writer's group with an extra seat available? I would be interested in applying.

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                        • #27
                          Re: Bring yourself to your scripts

                          Originally posted by Bono View Post
                          If Gucci was here, this thread would already be 10 pages long. I miss you, BRUH!!!! Is that how he spelled it? I'm already starting to forget his avatar face...
                          I'm back!!! -ish........ lol
                          Bruh, fukkin *smooches*! Feel me? Ha!

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                          • #28
                            Re: Bring yourself to your scripts

                            Originally posted by megablahblah View Post
                            A handful of actors are chameleons, like Gary Oldman, but most are playing themselves in every role, just with superficial changes.
                            This is what I was getting at with respect to acting. I would consider Gary Oldman a great actor, able to play many roles. Those who play themselves in every role are not digging deep. They aren't really acting.

                            Originally posted by megablahblah View Post
                            They [writers] can also write characters that are different than themselves, but the thrust of what they write is generally a reflection of their own beliefs, perspective, and personality of themselves or people they know.
                            I think the easy way out is to always write a reflection of our own beliefs, perspectives, and personalities. I think we should strive to write beyond ourselves. Broaden our horizons. Even if it is difficult.

                            I have never written a serial killer story. If I did, I would definitely write the serial killer protag beyond myself. How could I do otherwise? I'm not a serial killer.

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                            • #29
                              Re: Bring yourself to your scripts

                              First if you saw Gary Oldman in Tiptoes well you've seen great acting!

                              Second, that's my whole point. You're not a serial killer. But your character is. But you like Bruce Springsteen. So maybe your serial killer likes to hum Bruce songs as he slices and dices.... That's what I'm saying....

                              Take parts of yourself and bring them to your work. Or not. Up to you. Just saying, don't forget to look in the mirror.

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                              • #30
                                Re: Bring yourself to your scripts

                                Originally posted by Bono View Post

                                Second, that's my whole point. You're not a serial killer. But your character is. But you like Bruce Springsteen. So maybe your serial killer likes to hum Bruce songs as he slices and dices.... That's what I'm saying....

                                Take parts of yourself and bring them to your work. Or not. Up to you. Just saying, don't forget to look in the mirror.
                                Agree. But why not do both. Invent a character or world, part what you know and part what you imagine.

                                You don't like Rap or classical music but your character listens to them on his smart phone while doing his thing. The part you know, or have learned through research, is how he dices and slices.

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