Darabont on Screenwriting

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  • peakbeach
    replied
    Re: Darabont on Screenwriting

    What goes on in De Niro's mind is what goes on in TAXI DRIVER.

    Years ago I was standing in a line that went around the block in Westwood for the opening of a hit movie. The line was not moving yet, and it wouldn't for the next hour or so.

    Sitting on the street pavement facing the line (an area blocked from moving cars by city ordinance) was a visibly distressed hobo, 30's, black, stealing our attention. Mainly because he kept saying in a painful, loud but unassuming voice, "I'll beat you in the middle of the street!"

    He must have said it a thousand times by the time the line began to move and none of us felt the need to tell him to shut up. Somehow, I believe, we understood his suffering... his story.
    Last edited by peakbeach; 06-27-2005, 11:06 AM.

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  • captain bligh
    replied
    Re: Darabont on Screenwriting

    all the lines in all the movies in all the world, and peakbeach picks what as an example of a single line so full of meaning that it works as an "outline" for a movie? a robert deniro ad-lib. just brilliant.

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  • peakbeach
    replied
    Re: Darabont on Screenwriting

    writerly




    Would I enter the Amazon jungle without a jungle map? Would I cross a river down there without first testing for red-bellied piranhas? Would I start a script without an outline?

    No - three times!

    To me an outline is more than a road map. It's the first bit of research I come up with, my first view at the big picture, my first involvement with the main characters and the plot, and my first shot at deciding whether the story is worth pursuing.

    Outlines can be visual and as short as hell - like "Are you talking to me?" There's so much meaning behind this dialogue line, I personally consider it an outline. I wonder if De Niro's Travis (in TAXI DRIVER) does too?

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  • shellyv456
    replied
    Re: Darabont on Screenwriting

    It's definitely true that whatever works for you do it. But in my case, I used to do things like that, but always ended up with a lot of stuff that you may not necessarily need or go off your points entirely.
    I now do map out main points of my stories. The fun part of it-is show everyone who you got from point A to B.

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  • Inkdaub
    replied
    Re: Darabont on Screenwriting

    Originally posted by RBoss
    So it's not just me. Phew!
    Not by a long shot. I marvel at people who say they just 'start writing' and 'see where it takes them'. I can't do that. Once I see a story take form I have to stop and figure it out.

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  • velysai
    replied
    Re: Darabont on Screenwriting

    To outline or to not outline. As has been repeatedly repeated above, do what works. It also depends on your personal definition of "outline".

    With my first script, I had a one pager that had scribbling all over it that I used to keep straight two storylines that alternated non-linearly. And I came up with that halfway through the first draft because it was too complicated to keep in my head. It got the job done.

    With my second script, I wrote the first act without an outline, but then I hit act 2, and I had to pull out those dang index cards. I had a stack like 2 inches high, kept in the order I wanted. It would have svcked if I had dropped those.

    One thing is always the same for me it seems. I always know the beginning and the end before I start writing. I have a generally vague understanding of what happens in the middle. The outline helps me figure that part out. Otherwise I would be forever stuck in that netherworld between act 1 and 2.

    But that's just me. Do one thing. If that doesn't work, try something else. And one person's idea of an outline may not come close to resembling someone else's. The outline is just a writer's tool he or she keeps in the tool box to pull out if the job requires it. The point is: just get it done.

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  • RBoss
    replied
    Re: Darabont on Screenwriting

    Originally posted by Inkdaub
    I have written purely organically as well and it ****s me up if I go too far with it. I am far too tagentially minded to do that. I have to impose some structure on myself or I will write nothing but nonsense.
    So it's not just me. Phew!

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  • greyghost
    replied
    Re: Darabont on Screenwriting

    I wrote a psycho serial killer thriller and I kept painting my characters into seemingly impossible corners and I got the biggest thrill out of finding surprising but logical ways for them to evade, escape and overcome.

    I wrote all of it in real time as I went, living the moment with the characters. I loved figuring out practical ways for them to escape things like tied ropes, sealed rooms and padlocked burning cabins.

    I remember walking around Wal-Mart looking at things in the Sporting Goods department that might be used to help someone escape a hunting cabin.

    My thrill is sharing the fear, elevated blood pressure, anger and/or laughter of my characters as they flee for their lives or stalk and kill the dirty rotten POS who has been killing so many innocents. I also love bringing the killer to new diabolical heights of evil where the stakes keep getting higher and higher and the situation becomes increasingly more hopeless for the good guys.

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  • Inkdaub
    replied
    Re: Darabont on Screenwriting

    I do the organic style approach until I find the story...then I usually outline a bit. I'll write scene after scene...sometimes they follow and sometimes they don't...until I find a story. Usually this means I see an ending or a reason for a particular scene. Then I look at all the scenes I have written and pull the ones that go along with the blossoming story. Then I will either write out scene lists or a small treatment sort of thing. Then I write the draft. Then I sell it. Then I win the Academy Award.

    I have two scripts that I'm 'working on' right now. They were written pretty much as I described above. Two early drafts that need much rewriting...but the story is there if I can just wrestle it into shape. It's funny to have a story in your head but find it so hard to get it on paper. Such is the life of the mind.

    I have written purely organically as well and it ****s me up if I go too far with it. I am far too tagentially minded to do that. I have to impose some structure on myself or I will write nothing but nonsense.

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  • English Dave
    replied
    Re: Darabont on Screenwriting

    Originally posted by Fixer-Upper Brother
    Who cares about the writing process? A prospective producer won't care. As long as you got the goods: a script he or she likes.

    Who cares about the writing process? UUm- writers?

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  • miles
    replied
    Re: Darabont on Screenwriting

    Oh ****. You know, it just struck me that I seem to approach a script like a football game. The defense and offense lined up against each other. I know the play I'm going to run. But ****, suddenly the defense shifts. An audible is called to adjust to the defense. Suddenly, I realize I need to pass the ball instead of handing it off. Some ******* misses a block, ****, the quarterback has to run for his life. He's about to get demolished by a linebacker, but he suddenly sees an open teammate. But it's too late, the quarterback is crushed by the linebacker, fumbles the ball. There, the ball flops around, the Super Bowl hinging on getting that ball back. But the quarterback is smothered by the linebacker, the ball just beyond his fingertips. Suddenly, the same ******* who missed the block, pounces on the ball. And the quarterback is allowed one more set of downs.

    Does that make any sense to you guys?

    Anyway, I was surprised to read in an interview with darabont in which he said that he wrote a draft for spielberg and lucas for indy 4. And he says he's sitting there having no idea what's going on with his draft. Even him! And he's best of friends with spielberg! Lucas ended up not liking the draft. So, sadly, they said thanks but no thanks to darabont. I'm sure you all know that spielberg and lucas have an agreement that they both have to like it in order to go with a certain draft.

    Thanks for humoring me, guys and gals.

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  • Fixer-Upper Brother
    replied
    Re: Darabont on Screenwriting

    Who cares about the writing process? A prospective producer won't care. As long as you got the goods: a script he or she likes.

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  • taurbabe
    replied
    Re: Darabont on Screenwriting

    I agree Biohazard... I am the same way. I've tried using outlines and index cards to put my ideas down, but I found that they hindered my progress. I've always sat down and just started writing. The ideas would keep coming, and if there were too many for me to remember, then I would write them down, in case I wanted to go with another idea or character arc later.

    Everyone has their own way of writing, and what feels comfortable for them.

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  • Biohazard
    replied
    Re: Darabont on Screenwriting

    I don't outline. I tried it a few times before but my stories always ended up going in a direction that was not only slightly different from what I originally imagined, but also slightly better. I can put days worth of thinking into a movie, but when I finally sit down to write it, things can change. I get more/better ideas when I'm actually playing the scene out while typing it up. Ideas that I probably would not have thought of if I was not directly dealing with a certain situation at that moment.

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  • MacG
    replied
    Re: Darabont on Screenwriting

    Originally posted by dgrunert
    On Friday's episode of Dinner For Five, Frank Darabont gave some interesting insight into his writing process. He said that he's done everything from starting with a treatment/outline to using the notecard approach. But he prefers not doing any prep before starting a script. As he put it, he usually doesn't know what's going to happen in Act 2 until he gets there. He says it can be very scary to write a screenplay this way, but he likes the organic approach.

    I threw my hands up in the air and said hallelujah! I hate working on an outline or a treatment before I sit down to hammer out a script. But whenever I start something without a hard outline, I feel like I'm not being professional. To hear Darabont say this made me feel so much better about my writing habits.
    Amen!

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