Sunday, 31 July 2011

How To Improve Your Script Sense

Some have common sense, others a great sense, few have a sixth sense, many an undesirable sense. What is your script sense? 

What begun as an idea for a blog post series to offer sensible scriptwriting advice to beginners and intermediate writers didn't quite make the first post. However, it has transformed into something so much better. 

I had previously planned a blog post series entitled Script Sense and had a fair amount planned for it. But something happened the moment before hitting publish on the first post. 

"Why am I not one hundred per cent convinced on this?"

Something was out of balance with what I was trying to attempt. I had good intentions and wanted to help but felt it wasn't quite the right way to go about it. 

Then in a moment of inspiration, a desire to keep Script Sense alive and to still help others: 

Twitter met My Rejected Idea 


This was born: 

If you can't make out the picture. It's the Twitter account for Script Sense which essentially retweets the best sense spoken on screenwriting around the globe. 

With Script Sense all the best advice and sense is brought to your computer/phone screen in an instant, is always there and is a forever expanding resource. 

It also features on the newly created navigation bar on this blog in a reduced and compact form that you can interact with and gain insights without having a Twitter account.

Streamlined Sense

One of the best things about Script Sense on Twitter is that it filters out the general chic-chat, news and other plugs that occur within expert screenwriters' tweets on Twitter. So with Script Sense you just get golden nugget after golden nugget of pure screenwriting advice. An ideal outcome if that's all you are looking for.

I can imagine it working best for those without a Twitter account or someone new to scriptwriting who hasn't found those all important screenwriting Messiahs yet. Although there is always more to learn and I suspect that even experienced scriptwriters will learn a new thing or two.

Spread the Sense

I hope that over time leading screenwriting experts in the field on Twitter unknown to me will follow the account, as a way for their own advice to reach even more people. Major contributors so far that Script Sense follow include TheScriptLab and Xander Bennett

Alternatively, scriptwriting advice and links to great web resources (i.e. blog posts, articles etc) can be tweeted to @ScriptSense. If it's great sense and worthy advice will subsequently be retweeted to followers in due time. 

As Script Sense grows and word spreads more great resources and sense will be found and in turn will be available to everyone. 

Please spread the word, if you will, and enjoy only the best...

Script Sense 

Friday, 29 July 2011

A Pocket Guide, Lab and Tips... You Hack

A round up of the most recent discoveries in the screenwriting world that I have a duty to share...

120 Tips for Getting to Fade Out 

 Screenwriting Education and Screenplay Development 

(And hundreds of them!) 

Other recent discoveries include ScriptwreckedIndustrial Scripts, My PDF Scripts and TV Writer Chat.

Screenwriting blogs: Dom's World, So Fluid and Lisa Edwards.

Happy perusing!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Mentor Needed. Apply Now!

If only it was that easy. 

Almost a year ago (and the rest) I drafted a blog post, which I never published. I do this often. This particular one was entitled "The Mentor and The Apprentice." 

Again this new draft (re-imagining) is an old one but now I feel is important to mention. 

The original post began... 

"Some time ago the new and improved The Scriptwriter's Life diagram went live and it featured a specific point that got my attention. It was something that I hadn't been conscious of until it was spelt out right in front of me. 

So I realise that within my great passion for writing, a small unknown frustration and longing had started to materialise..." 

However, I realised that the then approaching dark cloud wasn't something that I should beat myself up over or view as a weakness in my ambition or resolve. But that it was perfectly natural to feel that way. 

I just had a lacking element in the equation that was my writing life. That lacking element was a mentor: someone to learn from, offer script support and key guidance. 

A Tangent Road 

Through that I identified two core needs that I believe experienced writers and new writers inherently have. That I won't go into but luckily for all they do overlap and are mutually beneficial. 

The old post (and my naivety) went on to talk about an ideal social network for scriptwriters of different experience lacking in this crossover element who are specifically looking for either a mentor or an apprentice. 

However the fantasy tangent ended with the realisation that you can't force these things. You can try and you may be lucky but often great things like that happen at unexpected times. Essentially after a lot of hard work, searching and effort. 

But unless we can learn to get on with ourselves, writing and lot, and work towards meeting our ideal mentor, creative partner or confidante, we won't find it.

Help Yourself

The truth is a mentor would enhance commitment, productivity, learning, knowledge etc. But it's also true that we can learn to do all those things just by ourselves. A little extra effort in any direction and purpose can wield interesting and surprising results. It's just a matter of trying and seeing what we can do once we set our minds to it. Then crucially keep that momentum going forward.

It's about working on ourselves, our writing and going for it - being the best that we can be, do all we can do, then the people and things we desire will gravitate towards us.

Then who knows what will happen...

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."

- Soren Kierkegaard

Friday, 22 July 2011

What's the Deal with Screenplay Structure?

If you're writing a screenplay (like any other script) it will need to have an underlining structure to it which means outlining and planning, not rushing in without an endgame in sight.

To help us along the way there are some structural guidelines and practices to take into account. The Three-act structure is widely taught in screenwriting books and courses for beginners. However, John Truby has a different view and outlines in detail and length "Why 3-Acts Will Kill Your Writing." The fundamental problem is that the structure isn't at all about character.

How are we supposed to structure character growth? 

Here is where a number of useful and insightful character development structure guidelines come into play. For instance, John Truby has his 22 Steps in The Anatomy of Story - Joseph Campbell developed The Hero's Journey - others have their own ways, steps and points but will require some research and experimentation to see which one fits your screenwriter feet.

Eight-Sequence Structure

Sound familiar?'

I hadn't heard of this one until recently after discovering The Script Lab (where have I been!) and found an interesting article there regarding 'The Sequence' way to view films and write screenplays.

The 'eight-sequence structure' approach was developed by Frank Daniel, a Czech film director, producer and screenwriter. In essence, the script is broken up into eight 10-15 minute sequences and each serve as mini-movies with their own compressed three-act structure and carry an overall three act structure.

With The Script Lab's personal touch - it's the most straightforward and helpful screenplay structure plan I have seen. If you haven't heard of it before I recommend going over to the article and having a look.

Then the next time you watch a film, keep the eight-sequence structure and these 'mini-movie' sequences in mind and it will help you to write and visualise your next screenplay.

What's the Deal?

Ultimately it comes down to what you are comfortable with using and developing into. It doesn't hurt to refer to one or alternatively just to keep in mind for now. But at some point when your writing develops and you crave a tighter structure then these guidelines are here to help steer you and your main character and screenplay in the right direction.

It’s easy for a beginner to be intimidated by structure and the different ways of approaching it because everything on screenwriting is being learnt all at once. It takes time to see the various elements that a screenplay comprises of but it's just a matter of re-writing, researching the craft and continual learning.

However, a mistake would be to try and force a story into a rigid structure and compromise creativity, exploration and enjoyment, unless you know what you are doing.

But it is there for a reason and important to remember.

After all...

"Screenplays are structure."

- William Goldman

Friday, 8 July 2011

Trailer Watch: War Horse

"DreamWorks Pictures' "War Horse," director Steven Spielberg's epic adventure, is a tale of loyalty, hope and tenacity set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War.(YouTube

Based on the 1982 novel by English author, poet, playwright and award-winning children's author Michael Morpurgo. It is one of his most celebrated novels (turned celebrated stage play) and was runner-up for the Whitbread Book Award (now the Costa Book Awards) in 1982. 
Amazingly, Michael has written more than 120 books and has released at least one new work consistently every year since 1974.
Release Dates 
The film will open in USA on December 26, 2011 and in the UK on 13 January 2012. For the rest of the world see the film's release dates.
I'm looking forward to this! It's going to be one to remember.

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