This week I have been working on going over the highlighted sections of screenplay writing books that I read, and also searching the “interwebs” for other sources of sound advice. In Screenplay by Syd Field, he emphasizes knowing the characters, and making sure the lead is active, as in causes things to happen rather than just lets things happen to them. Last night I read an article on a website called http://www.scriptmag.com which had some quality advice of its own for unknown writers; like me:
*comedies should be about 98 pages long….got it
*short narrative, dialogue, and description 4 lines or less….okay
*paint story with words….I have a pallet full of words!
*no “we see”, “we hear”, or “beat”…’kay, but I’ve seen that in screenplays that I’ve read….oh that’s just for “established” writers
*if the scene or piece of dialogue doesn’t move the story forward-get rid of it…right
*get The Screenwriters Bible…oh-kay
*be a secure writer…uh oh, I mean, of course secure writer, I can or might be able to do that….it’s not like I’m an insecure human or anything
*create a script that is fun for you to write, and easy for the reader (aka the “gate keeper”) to read and recommend…..I can do that
I also read an article in which the guy suggested that one should watch their 5 favorite movies while reading through the screenplay. Now this is tricky because finding the final, what the actor had in their hand, draft of a screenplay is quite difficult. It’s either an early draft or some guy/gal who watched the movie a bunch of times and just wrote down the dialogue; not in screenplay format, and not helpful. Plus my 5 favorite movies are…varied, in style, genre, and mood; and they are as follows:
*The Young Victoria
*Captain America: The Winter Solider
*Pride and Prejudice (2005)
*My Fellow Americans
*It Happened One Night (the granddaddy of romantic comedies, winner of 5 academy awards, it is movie perfection)
As my husband said, “Those are…different.” Yeah. Although last night I did watch Leap Year (I know its not awesome, but its not bad either) while reading through a revised draft of the screenplay, which was little different from what appeared on screen, but it did give me an idea of how a scene looks on paper. At this point it helps enormously that I have characters, a story line, and an ending for both “Cambridge” and “Brooklyn”, I just need to put them in the right format. So today I thought I would practice proper screenplay format using one of the scenes from “Cambridge”. Back in May, I think it was, I introduced Mae Forester, history major, from Kansas, and is attending Cambridge University over the summer. She meets Evan O’Brady, English guy, who leads tour groups around Cambridge over the summer. They first meet right after she gets off the bus, this scene is a couple of day later.
EXT. CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY-MORNING
Mae going for a jog, she stops to stretch a lot, dancing a little bit to the music that is coming through her head phones. Evan is with his friend Jeff, further up the street.
(sees Mae jogging)
Jeff, there she is.
There who is?
You know the girl from 2 days ago. Remember I told she was dragging her suitcase.
Mae starts running their way, in the zone.
Come on mate, she was cute. She was just tir-
Mae runs into him.
Oh…I’m so sorry.
No no really Miss it was my fault.
Jeff rolls his eyes.
I guess I was in the “zone”. Music helps me when I run because, I don’t really like running. Just trying to get over some jet-lag. (smiles at Evan) I feel like I’ve seen you before… (realizes) You’re the guy…the one who helped me with my suitcase.
Yes, yes that was me.
I’m sorry if I seemed rude or anything. I just don’t travel very well. Those couple days were just a blur.
No its okay. You seem to be doing better.
Getting adjusted. I’m Mae by the way, Mae Forester.
Mae puts out her hand for a handshake.
They share a really long handshake, Jeff’s eyes widen.
Right. So what brings you to Cambridge?
Jeff rolls his eyes again.
I got accepted into a 3 month program here at the university.
That’s nice. Lovely to meet you Mae, but we must be going.
(looks at watch)
I have to get ready for class. I guess I’ll see y’all around.
We’ll be around.
Evan smiles as he watches Mae jog away, until Jeff comes into his line of vision.
She just said she’s leaving in 3 months, get that look off your face.
Okay the margins are trickier than I was expecting, I might need a screenplay formatting program…type thing. But still not too bad for my first time. By the way, today I got to physically do this…
…with my Bachelor of Arts degree, AND they sent me a cool alumni decal to put on my car! I know, awesome!
Until next time,
Whoa that post went a little long, please accept this bit of humor as my way of saying…sorry the post was so long.