The craft of writing
for tv, games and movies,
by a working writer
The Crafty TV and Screenwriting Blog
... with forays into
games, life and
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Lisa has got a slew of offers on her book proposal, each more glorious than the next. We're all so proud of her! I knew she could do it.
Since the book idea is one I'm amazed no one else thought of, we'll just keep a lid on it until the book's in production, but everyone I know has said they'd buy it. So it is a good idea, and one I'm sure Lisa will have fun writing.
IT'S A LONG WAY TO TIPPERARY
I've been wondering why I'm having so much trouble keeping up a head of steam as I work on the feature of Unseen
I just realized I've gone out of the habit of writing long single stories. TV pulses, movies flow.
When you're done with a scene in TV you button it and, often, jump to a B or C story. When you're done with a scene in the A story in your movie, you have to move onto the next scene in the A story. It's like training for the 50 yard dash, building up all those short-fire muscles, and then having to run a marathon; or vice versa.
But I'm starting to remember how to run the distance...
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
I wish I had a better library nearby. I miss the Santa Monica Public Library, which often had what you needed, and the LA Public, where you could order a book by Internet from any branch, and it would appear at yours in a few days. The Montreal library is not so comprehensive (though perhaps I am just not so good at interpreting French entries), and you can't order books from other branches. Parking's a bitch, too. At least it's near the garderie.
IT'S A WILD WORLD
Amazingly, Cat Stevens' plane was diverted to Maine because he's a terrorist threat...
Um, aside from the obvious... once the plane is in the air, how does it help to divert the flight? Just land it, huh?
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
A VERY VERY WITTY FELLOWE
Someone has reissued Samuel Pepys' diary as a blog
I like it better this way. Makes the passage of time seem more real.
RANTING UP A STORM
I've been furiously typing away on Crafty TV Writing
, and you can see it up on my site. The ideas are in no particular order, but there are some ideas there worth reading, I think.
Sunday, September 19, 2004
WHAT CAN HAPPEN OFFSCREEN
With one notable exception (24
), episodes in a TV series do not take place back to back. Time elapses between the end of one and the beginning of another. What rules do you have to follow about what can happen in this offscreen time?
Generally, the rule during an episode is that nothing important to the story can happen offscreen. Sometimes you have to have some important event take place offscreen because you can't afford to put it onscreen, but it's likely to feel like a cheat.
You can take the curse off
the cheat if you come in right after the offscreen event with the point of view character's strong emotional reaction
to the offscreen event.
The same is generally true between episodes. You don't want important things to transpire off screen; after all, we're watching because we want to see these things happen. But if you can't show the events, start with the character's reaction to them.
As a corollary, you really must not have more than one event that's important to the story happen offscreen at once. (This follows the Rule of One
), because then you'd have to show the point of view character's reactions to both events, and they would muddle each other.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
AMSTERDAM, CITY OF THE FUTURE PAST
Amsterdam was wonderful, the real spirit of New Europe. Three Russians playing the Toccata in D Minor on accordions (!) for American tourists. Crowds dressed all in orange (for Holland) trading cheers with crowds of guys dressed in red (for Czech Republic). Teenage boys singing something from the Magic Flute. Gangs of teenage girls on pink bicycles, dressed in pink. Now that they're not warring on each other, Europe seems like a terribly civilized place.
I realized that the Repubicans are right. If America is like a man, Europe is like a woman. But women are cool, and they often get their way without anyone getting their nose bloodied. And they rarely go off half cocked. So the Republicans have missed the point of their own slam.
The other amazing thing about Holland is that grass and magic mushrooms and prostitution are all legal... and yet civilization does not collapse into anarchy. Amazing, huh?
Thursday, September 09, 2004
I have about 20,000 words up on my TV FAQ now. Should be up at http://www.craftyscreenwriting.com/TVFAQ.html
shortly, if it's not already.
Wandering around Amsterdam, a wonderful, bustling, very European city (more European than Paris, which is just French), I realized that the Repubicans are right in one sense: Europe is like a woman, America is like a man.
But women are cool. Women are smart. Women are wise. And women can persuade people to do things they want without anyone getting punched in the mouth
Kerry's problem seems to be he's boring. But why doesn't he make that a virtue? "Yes, I'm old ... but I'm old and wise. I'm not going to go off half-cocked. I can change my mind when I learn new facts. Isn't that smarter than never changing direction even when you're on the wrong track?"
Sunday, September 05, 2004
I've written 5,000 words towards my new book, which I will post as a TV writing FAQ when it's a little bigger. Same thing as I did with my first book, write it first as a FAQ and then let it grow.
In the mean time, here's Barbara Walters on why she got out of 20/20 now:
It's changing. And I'll tell you the way it's going to be: we're going to hear that a woman had a love affair with a frog. The producers are going to come to me and say: "Barbara, this woman had a love affair with a frog. Diane Sawyer already has the woman lined up. Do you want to do the frog?" And I will say, "O.K., but only if I can get the frog and his mother." And they'll say: "But the frog wants an hour. And before you do the frog, the frog is going to do `Oprah.' O.K.?"
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
THROUGH THESE GOOD OFFICES
When we first came in as a new writing staff, I was a little disappointed that our offices were in a separate building from the production office -- though, actually, a much nicer building, with nicer offices.
Now that we're down to a writing staff of me, I've set up shop in the production office, and boy is it a distracting environment! Sure, you get to see what's going on. People can ask you questions because you're around. But if we were still breaking story, I'm not sure we'd be getting a hell of a lot of work done. So it's all for the best.