The Scenes You Want to Write - Complications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty TV and Screenwriting Blog




Baby Name Voyager graphs baby name frequency by decade.

Social Security Administration: Most popular names by year.

Name Trends: Uniquely popular names by year.

Reverse Dictionary Search: "What's that word that means....?"

Facebook Name Trees Match first names with last names.


Archives

April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014

December 2014

 

Thursday, August 16, 2007

John August has a post, somewhere, about starting your screenplay by writing the scenes that made you want to write the screenplay. I guess the idea is to defeat writer's block, and to jump into exactly the heart of the screenplay. It might be a climactic scene, I guess, or it might be something that revelatory about a character.

I don't usually write for the sake of a scene, I'm a story-driven kinda guy. I did write an adaptation of the Odyssey because of two scenes I particularly enjoy in the epic; and then there's another scene I'm particularly proud of. But that's not usually what pulls me in. And the approach August suggests is probably more useful for a drama than a suspense thriller -- the scenes of a thriller are more like building blocks for its all important structure.

But it sounds like another handy tool for the toolbox. If inspiration is flagging as you're writing your outline, what is to prevent you from jumping ahead to one of your Big Scenes? That will give you something to write towards, and might also take your screenplay off in an interesting new direction.

Now maybe some kind reader will spot the August post...?

Labels:

13 Comments:

another method I've heard of to beat the first draft blues is to open up your Final Draft and put in all your sluglines:

Hmmm...this scene goes first, then this one. Then this one... And here's where we twist the audience's expectations...

Having the scenes down (maybe with a line or two in there to tell you what is going on) gives you about 15-20 pages. Which is pretty substantial.

Then all you have to do is "fill them up."

This builds on your sense of accomplishment and you can work scene by scene, skipping around as necessary to keep the creativity flowing, and give yourself notes to "pay off" something you wrote in one scene in another.

You don't get bored.

By Blogger Bill Cunningham, at 2:23 PM  

Bill, you mean like, write an outline?

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 2:25 PM  

hee hee hee

By Blogger DMc, at 3:30 PM  

Yes, but doing it in FD and not on MSWord or whatever word processing program you have separate from FD...

Your first draft and outline are the same doc...already in FD.

You know as well as I do that a ton of beginning writers spend more time on bios and outlines and scene cards and whatever else is in vogue instead of getting the words down in the script itself. They have notebooks of background and two pages of script.

To DMc:

"Keep it up, Fuzz Ball..."

;)

By Blogger Bill Cunningham, at 3:46 PM  

I think you mean "LAUGH it up, fuzzball."

I do like your idea, though.

By Blogger Tim, at 4:37 PM  

Re" "Laugh it up..."

It's been about five years since I've seen the original trilogy. I bow to your geekery in this matter.

;D

By Blogger Bill Cunningham, at 5:26 PM  

I wrote up my extensive notes of Rockne O'Bannon's fabulous lecture at last year's Screenwriting Expo; one part of his lecture was called, "Six Steps to Jump Start Your Story". As a TV writer, he seemed to know a lot of tricks to write prolifically.

By Blogger Ross Pruden, at 7:06 PM  

Is this the post: Where to Begin a Script

By Blogger James, at 7:21 PM  

The first screenplay I ever completed (though not the first I started) was a comedy that was generally episodic in its nature. I had come up with lots of gags and scenes that I wanted in there, and I did have a general structure, though my outline was relatively undetailed (I've subsequently begun making more and more detailed outlines with each successive script that I've written.)

Anyway, the first thing I wrote on that script was the opening scene, and then I wrote the climax. After that, I jumped around quite a bit. And while I will definitely say that the structure of the film was its greatest weakness, I attribute that more to the poor outlining than to the out of order writing.

So yeah, I'm a supporter of the technique for certain types of films as well, and comedy can be a geat one for this.

By Blogger Fun Joel, at 8:27 PM  

Gotta agree with Joel. Comedy scenes are linchpins, and good to write right away if you have them working in your head. Then fit them into the outline process. Which of course changes them.

So for comedies, I usually end up with a 'scriptment', meaning a treatment/outline with some scenes written out in rough draft form.

But the thrillers I've written? Had to outline first. Structure was primary, and scenes came out of that.

By Blogger Chris, at 12:41 AM  

I jumped all over the place when I wrote the pilot for my show. I had loads of scenes ready to write, but no real idea of how they fit together until one theme took hold and a sensible storyline developed. Then I juggled them around, instered some new ones and it worked. Of course, no one with any money agrees with me yet...

By Blogger Trellick Tower, at 10:23 AM  

Hey everybody,

When you say that you 'write' scenes, do you mean a detailed scene with roughly the dialogue you envision and all the actions, etc? Or do you mean something rougher and simpler, like what characters are involved, what basically has to happen in the scene and how you see the scene ending?

I write the latter and only write the former when my entire screenplay outline is basically set. I find that committing that much effort to a scene too early in the process can lead to the entire scene being junked when I discover it doesn't really fit into my more-well-thought-out story.

By Blogger Jason, at 11:12 AM  

"Re" "Laugh it up..."

It's been about five years since I've seen the original trilogy. I bow to your geekery in this matter. "

It's been even longer for me. I seem to have this innate ability to remember dialogue from movies decades after I've seen the movie. It also works with TV theme shows. I had the theme song to Eight Is Enough going through my head (including the words) 25 years after I'd seen the show. Of course that shows you the importance of good dialogue (and good TV show themes).

By Blogger Tim, at 2:15 PM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.



This page is powered by Blogger.