Screenplay Writing

Hello Journal!

I’m really excited to write to you today at this particular time.

Today I was given a day off because it was my boss’s birthday. There were so many things I wanted to get done today. Last night I wrote a list of things I wanted to get done today. This list included doing a character rotation and modelling it in Maya. That didn’t happen.

I was depressed and frustrated about not being able to draw how I wanted. It’s probably come with many days of no practice… (I’ve been working on getting more inspiration first.) Been reading more books, actually spending time browsing tumblr trying to feed off of the inspiration on my dash. Trying to schedule time to watch movies too. I’m watching Blade Runner tonight, I finished reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep two days ago and spent most of last night reading analyses and reviews of the book.

Anyway. Today started off nicely. I woke up at around the same time. Spent the morning frustrated about drawing. At around 1 pm I headed off to the Walmart/McDonald’s with Mara and Richard to cafe sketch for a bit. We stayed there until 3 pm. I went home to work on the illustration I started this morning.

Since yesterday I’ve been thinking about a story idea for my thesis film. I was really excited about it all day today. Especially at McDonald’s when we were drawing. I haven’t exactly told anyone about it yet, as it’s still just an idea in my head.

The inspiration came from a short story written by Orson Scott Card. Though it’s not exactly what he wrote the premise is the same, the ending will be different. What I’m worried about is, say I were to create this story and actually use it as my thesis film. Would it be considered an adaptation or an original story? Also, say it were an adaptation, would I have to contact Scott Card for permission to adapt it?

That’s all technicalities though. I’m sure it’ll be figured out one way or another.

I decided that I’m going to write a screenplay for this idea. It’s going to be my first screenplay and I’m really nervous, as it’s also going to be my first thesis film. I want it to be great.

I started on my journey today in reading about what makes a really good screenplay/script. If anyone has any suggestions I’m incredibly eager to hear them! I’ve tried my hand at writing stories before. They’re mostly all terrible, but they have a lot of heart to them.

One of the first resources I’ve read so far (Writing A Great Screenplay) mentions that most new young writers have been suffocated by the school system, in the way that they’ve been taught to write in a “dry psuedo-scientific style”. That’s exactly me.

What gave me hope though was this line, “strong, communicative writing comes from the struggle to describe what is, not what should be. ” It’s a little bit daunting starting out. I’m probably not amazing at writing but I hope I can improve. I want to surround myself with great literature and really delve into the words and feel the emotion coming out from them. I also want to read some really bad screenplays and figure out what makes them so bad. Just so I don’t make the same mistakes. If anyone has any recommendations for that, I would also appreciate it! (just putting that out there in case anyone actually reads these entries).

Maybe reading some poetry will help? I will ask Mara for some poetry books.

Hopefully something comes of this. I’ve been dedicated to this thesis idea for about 3 days now, so I’m hoping all this research will pay off. I’ve been also debating taking this class on Skillshare.com about script writing.

I think script writing will also help me with my desire to start a comic. I just want to figure out the story first. I just need to know how to express myself more abstractly through words!

Here’s a list of things I want to find out:

  • What makes good dialogue?
  • How do you write a screenplay/script and how do you start?
  • What are some common mistakes people make when writing screenplays?
  • How do you identify with your characters?
  • Can I still write a good screenplay even though I am not “old/mature/have-had-a-world-of-experiences”?
  • Do I have to write from experience?

The experience part about writing is what worries me a little. The subject matter of the idea I want to tackle deals heavily with addiction. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so addicted to anything before that it verged into the realm of literal death. Maybe there’s a way I can relate.

I think it was Stephen King who mentioned in his book On Writing that stories are just words, they don’t mean anything, everyone interprets it differently. I could tell the same story he wrote, but at the same time the way I would write it would make it a different story entirely. I’m not sure if that made sense. It made sense to me at the time when I was reading it.

Anyway. More research needs to be done. As it stands, this idea  of mine for my thesis film is still a maybe. I need to find a way to relate to the story first it seems like. That or find a different story to tell.

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