Author Topic: screenplay  (Read 1919 times)

Shutterfly

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screenplay
« on: November 11, 2009, 02:35:39 AM »
I want to write a screenplay, using a book I strated in high school called, SHADOW OF DUSK. It's about two foster children, Chris and Sean who set out to find their foster mother, Mrs. Williams after she has a stroke and is re-locted to an assistant living home in Maine. Chris and Sean are put into differant foster homes and run away, leaving new york on foot to find Mrs. Williams. They get stranded in new hampshire due to a snow storm and there they meet the Barlett brothers who help them out

Offline Aiswari Cara

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Re: screenplay
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2009, 12:24:28 PM »
I think that is a very interesting idea. If you're going to write a screenplay about it, though I'm not the expert to ask, you might wanna pick out the key events of the story, starting with those may help you decide how many scenes you want, and how many acts per scene to have. Also I like the idea of "losing" their foster mother, it adds a sense of drama and conflict to the story. Best wishes to you.

ACCD
"No matter where you are, even in your mind, there are always details waiting to be discovered."
Clint Daniel

http://thewritersmoney.blogspot.com | A place for writing and learning.

Offline TaraLC

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Re: screenplay
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2009, 10:33:59 AM »
HI Shutterfly,

I've written a few scripts and have one optioned for production so I hope I can help you a bit here.

Film scripts have very tight and almost considered "standard" structure guidelines. They are built in acts, most usually following the "Three Act" model.
Certain things need to happen at certain time. This becomes crucial.

Even more important is the actual written format of the script itself. These are VERY strict and do not waver. There is absolutely no wiggle room for a novice screenwriter to take liberties with the script itself.

This subject is massive and more than I can fill in this post, however being I'm a self taught screen writer I can tell you, I studied scripts for months. I read numerous screenplays and stuck with best. You can find hundreds to read for free at www.imsdb.com - The Internet Movie Screenplay DataBase.

Some basics:
1. One page of script equals one minute of screentime - period no exception.

2. Back to the old addage "show not tell" its the same in film, especially for scripts. If it can't be filmed, seen by the eye don't write it. Things like "a few minutes later" - big no-no's. Scripts don't and can't read like novels. Leave out things like "she wondered where he was." You can put this on film.

3. DON'T tell the actors how to act, don't tell the director how to block out his scenes or direct, don't tell the DP (director of photography) how to light a scene, don't tell the casting directors exactly what your character looks like or who should be cast in a role, don't tell the location managers where they should be filming in detail unless a particular location is important (ie., DO - AIRPORT TERMINAL   DON'T - CONCOURSE B UNITED AIRWAYS GATE 36 AT LAX) and don't tell the set directors how to dress their sets.  For example -
   DON'T - Farmhouse kitchen strewn with dirty dishes on the table and sink. A can of half eaten SPAM lay open on the counter. Ragged green curtains hang in the window, the walls are painted mustard yellow and the floor is tiled in thirty year old stained yellow tile
   DO - INT. FARMHOUSE KITCHEN - DAY
          Dirty and unkept with thirty odd years of neglect.

The SD will determine how to set the scene based on this description.

4. DO use a proper scriptwriter program. I used Celtx which is free, easy and gives you everything you need to build a story and take it to production. www.celtx.com 

5. DO check and double check for grammar, spelling and punctuation.

These five steps only scratch the surface but every year in Hollywood, hundreds of thousands of scripts end up in the trash with nothing more than a quick skim through the title page and first five pages. Script readers get paid big bucks to weed through scripts as to not waste their employers (the director or producers) time. You could write an Oscar winner and if they find the title page is not formatted correctly or even if they don't see enough white space on a page (you've over written), it'll go directly into the trash.

There are several great books I read to help me. Her's what I recommend.

How NOT to Write a Screenplay - by Denny Martin Flynn
Save the Cat - by Blake Snyder
The Screenwriter's Bible - by David Trotter

STORY by Robert McKee - The audiobook is excellent.
Here is his website.
http://www.mckeestory.com/resources.html

As for your story itself, it sounds very intriguing and like it has the makings of a very interesting film.

Go for it and have fun!!
Tara -
-------------------
Although taking risk does not guarantee success,
avoiding risk does guarantee failure.

Offline Jakey

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Re: screenplay
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2009, 12:52:54 PM »
Tara

Absolutely bloody interesting! I've been thinking about doing this with a book, but didn't know how to approach it. You're right that this scratches the surface, but you had answered a question that I didn't know how to script (leave the producers to decide the detail and write only what can be seen).

A project for the new year...

Jakey
one two three...testing testing...one two three...

twisted wheel

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Re: screenplay
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2009, 01:47:53 PM »
Tara

Absolutely bloody interesting! I've been thinking about doing this with a book, but didn't know how to approach it. You're right that this scratches the surface, but you had answered a question that I didn't know how to script (leave the producers to decide the detail and write only what can be seen).

A project for the new year...

Jakey
not quitw. when writing a screenplay you have to write what can be seen and heard.

Offline Aiswari Cara

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Re: screenplay
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2009, 01:53:32 PM »
Thank you, Shutterfly, for asking about your script. I had no idea about a lot of the things posted, and I'm trying to develope my own theatre play and/or screenplay. A lot of these comments have helped me know what to do in the future of my script writing. It all makes sense; I've been doing research on William Shakespeare, and I have a few questions about the script lingo, what does INT mean, and does Exuent mean exit?
"No matter where you are, even in your mind, there are always details waiting to be discovered."
Clint Daniel

http://thewritersmoney.blogspot.com | A place for writing and learning.

Offline TaraLC

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Re: screenplay
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2009, 03:18:32 PM »
not quitw. when writing a screenplay you have to write what can be seen and heard.

Daryl is right, what's heard, especially things off screen should be written when instrumental to a scene.

What should be left out, unless absolutely necessary for an action or to convey a particularly important part of the scene, should be all the camera angles and movements, noises that are only incidental, where the actors are in relation to each other or objects etc. Don't block out the scene for the director.

Keep movements to a minimum. For example:

DO:
INT. FARMHOUSE KITCHEN - DAY

Filthy and unkempt. Thirty years of neglect mingle with recent evidence of use. JACK surveys the room and walks cautiously to the table.
He picks up a piece of paper sticking out from under a week old newspaper.

CLOSE ON LETTER:

INSERT LETTER:
Claire,
I am coming back for you. I know you have missed me. Have dinner waiting.
Brian

                               SAM (o.s)
                          What a mess.

                               JACK
                I'd say from the look of things
             he didn't like what was for dinner.
                       
JACK hands SAM the letter.

Sounds of a vehicle approaching outside.

                               SAM
                        Coroner's here

                              JACK
                            (sighs)
                   Go and tell them dessert is
                   upstairs.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DON'T

INT. FARMHOUSE KITCHEN - DAY

SAM enters and stands in the doorway.
SAM's POV - Camera slowly pans around the kitchen.
Kitchen is strewn with dirty dishes on the table and sink. A can of half eaten SPAM lay open on the counter. Ragged green curtains hang in the window, the walls are painted mustard yellow and the floor is tiled in thirty year old stained yellow tile.

Outside a dog barks and wind chimes are tinkling.

CLOSE ON SAM's face:
SAM shakes his head in weary disbelief.

He walks to the table and picks up a piece of paper sticking out from under a week old newspaper.

CLOSE ON LETTER:

INSERT LETTER:
Claire,
I am coming back for you. I know you have missed me. Have dinner waiting.
Brian

                               SAM (o.s)
                            What a mess.

CUT TO:
SAM is dressed in a long brown coat and black slacks. Due to the heat of the day, he's pulled his tie loose and it hangs askew around his neck.
                               JACK
                        (looking disgusted)
                I'd say from the look of things
             he didn't like what was for dinner.
                       
JACK hands SAM the letter.

CUT TO:
SAM's face as he reads. He frowns at the letter.

Sounds of a the blue coroner van are heard off screen approaching from outside.

Sam lifts his head from the letter to peer through the window.

                               SAM
                        Coroner's here

                              JACK
                            (sighs)
                   Go and tell them dessert is
                   upstairs.
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So it's not a perfect scene (I'm a bit rusty, been two years) but what's wrong with the second scene?
Tara -
-------------------
Although taking risk does not guarantee success,
avoiding risk does guarantee failure.