Had some free time today to get working on rebuilding the set for THE NEW FACE OF SECURITY. It’s a pain in the ass that we even have to reshoot it but gives me the opportunity to fix some of the smaller things that I wasn’t happy with in the set design the first time around.
I’m only about 60% done, the down side to not really having any carpentry skill and working alone is that it goes slow, but the basic shape and requirements are there. I imagine that I will be done the majority of the set design work by the end of next weekend.
This is very good as the sooner that’s the done the sooner I can start putting a new shooting schedule back together. Get moving on filming again.
david shute - 11.04.10 @ 23:20 - permalink
Had a story consult today, where I was acting in the role of consultant. I enjoy talking about storytelling as I consider myself, above anything else, to be a writer first. Talking about building narratives and character and exploring options and ideas is a really good time for me. One overriding thing came out of today’s consult and I think it bears repeating here.
Know your story.
If you don’t have an ending, or at the very least the inkling of an ending, you don’t have a story. You have events that build to nothing. The escalator to nowhere. If you don’t have an ending it’s simply not possible to know what is relevant to your script and characters.
This doesn’t apply to all forms of writing. In the world of screenplays? Absolutely. Screenwriting is a terse and compact form of writing. The point is get the job done well with the least amount of extraneous fluff. Nothing is more unsatisfying than a meandering film that doesn’t have an ending.
I don’t mean closure but an ending. Not everything has to be neatly tied up and everyone lives happily ever after. Far from it. It’s good to have unanswered questions where the audience has enough to extrapolate an assumption based off clues provided. Something to think about when everything is said and done. Not everything needs closure but your script needs an ending.
It should be inevitable. It should be clever.
How do you do both? That’s a great question… that means nothing if you don’t have any ending at all.
Even a bad ending is better than no ending in that at least it clarifies the intention of the narrative. A bad ending can always be changed and the accompanying content right along side of it. But if you don’t have an ending you don’t have anything to talk about other than ideas for characters and perhaps a few scenes you’ve got stuck in your head.
david shute - 11.04.10 @ 02:42 - permalink
the realization came that Script Frenzy would be anti-climatic this year. Two years ago it was a rush. I was doing the whole thing in a third of the time. Last year it was kind of cool because I had a little bit longer to feel things out. I’d outline a couple scenes and then write them, then outline some more. This year, I just don’t feel it. I’m enjoying it and I’m having fun with what I’m writing but it’s more like a side project than the major focus of the month.
There were some people that breached 100 pages in two days. That’s really anti-climatic. I can’t imagine just taking two days and doing nothing but writing a script for that entire time. If, of course, I was prepared and had a good outline I’m sure I could do it. It’s far from beyond my reach but I don’t get the appeal. If that’s your deal then I don’t see the point of Script Frenzy.. But maybe I’m being to close minded about the whole thing.
david shute - 07.04.10 @ 20:20 - permalink
I typically head to bed around midnight. With an infant in the house and a full time job it’s just in my best interest not to turn in too late. I made an exception last night so I could dive in to Script Frenzy right at midnight. As much of a tragic nerd as I am, my wife reminded me as such, I did indeed wait until midnight before I got started. In fact, I didn’t even open Celtx until the clock on desktop read 00:00. Yeah, I have my clocks set to 24 hour time. I don’t know why.
I only spent a half an hour but I jammed ahead and got a nearly full six pages down. I like this mode of writing, when it’s free and I can sort of riff on the ideas I’ve got in my head. I love watching relationships and characters develop as I try to find space for them within the story. Of course, this will be the bane of my existence when it’s done and I try to go back and make sense of what I’ve done. Clarifying and reinforcing actions that may not be consistent through out take a little bit of work. This is typically why I spend a lot of time in the note collection and outlining process for feature length.
Bed, work, baby, guitar lesson, baby, wife, and back at it again. Again, I didn’t put in much more than a half an hour but I’m up to 13 pages. That’s a nice place to be for not even being a full 24 hours in.
The project that I’m working on is a mockumentary style haunting project idea. Tragically, the idea’s been around much longer than Paranormal Activity has been available to the public but I just haven’t gotten around to doing it. I’m doing it now because if you really look at any level beyond the very superficial it’s a very distinct story from the aforementioned disappointment. Eventually I’d like to get around to trying to put this together as a film project. I don’t intend for it to be feature length however.
Yes, Script Frenzy is for 100 pages but this type of story, the one I want to tell, doesn’t need to be that long. In fact, I think it would be best serviced by being under an hour in length. That doesn’t really put it in a good position either to sell or to show but that’s not entirely very high on my list. I just want to make movies, damn it. So the plan is to carve this down in a reasonably easy to film size some time in the future.
I’m also really glad this has finally come around again as I’ve been away from feature length writing since about this time last year. Short projects have really dominated everything that I’ve been doing for awhile now. They’re much easier to realize than a feature film or a full length play. They’re also not as much of a time sink for development.
One of the things I’ve noticed just in the last 24 hours has been how much my approach to writing has evolved. There was a time when I would struggle for ideas. Putting together enough material to cover 100 pages was torture. It was a lot of pulling in as many unrelated ideas as I could and trying to stitch them together in some format that I felt would work together at least on a superficial level. I don’t really do that anymore. Several times during writing tonight I had to stop and jot down notes, possibilities. The real difficulty then lies in exploring the possibilities that interest me the most and finding the one I think will work.
This all comes back around to watching characters and relationships evolve on the page as I write. What I got hung up on 15 years ago, what I’m sure a lot of novice writers stumble with, is a lack of experience exploring. I’d get an idea and become fixed within that framework. If I did trip over a good idea that didn’t fit I would, at best, toss it in a text file and forget it existed. It was easier than putting in the work to explore.
These days the exploring comes easy. It’s almost a distraction. I can easily go off on little ‘what if’ tangents all day long. However, it’s a much nicer problem to have than not having any options at all.
david shute - 01.04.10 @ 23:36 - permalink