HOW TO WRITE A MOVIE IN 21 DAYS BY VIKI KING – PART 6 – THE FIRST 10 CARDS #SCREENWRITING

index cards

Take out the first 10 cards of your screenplay (I’m not counting the title page at this point, cards 2-11 really).

On each card, write down what happens on that page or in that minute of your movie.

Don’t do a lot of thinking, just write it as quickly as you can.

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How To Write A Movie In 21 Days by Viki King – Part 5 – 121 Index Cards #screenwriting

Take your 9 index cards.

Get 112 more blank ones.

Take a blank one.

Write the title of your screenplay on it.

Add written by you.

Now put your page 1 card behind it that you’ve already written from your nine cards.

Get a blank card, write a 2 on it.

Follow with your page 3 card.

Create your stack of 121 cards representing your screenplay, each card numbered only or containing text from your original 9 cards.

Now you have a stack of cards representing your screenplay. Get it?

NOTE: I have changed this from the book, where Viki uses blank pieces of paper that you type on, since nobody types anymore. Or almost nobody.

How To Write A Movie In 21 Days – Applied #screenwriting

I’m going to apply these books to writing this horrible fairy tale screenplay based on sleeping beauty. I’ve never seen any version. Requirement – this screenplay must suck. If you try to make it good, you’ll stop writing.

RUN THE MOVIE IN YOUR MIND
WRITE DOWN MOVIE IN 8 MINUTES
I see this old guy who just had this baby. He loves her. A room with wise men. One of them says the signs show she will die from flax. The old guy freaks out. People riding around burning spindles. Chaos. Cut to fifteen years later. The girl, Talia, wandering around. Sees an old castle. Goes in. An old woman spinning flax. Want to try? She’s evil. She does. Ouch! A splinter. She dies. The old woman leaves the country. The old lord freaks out. Where’s his daughter? Search parties. Finds her dead. He leaves her there. Forever. A young king riding around. Sees castle. Goes in. This beautiful girl. He’s moved. He takes her to bed. Home. Cut to nine months later. Babies cry. Twins. She’s still dead. One of the babes sucks her finger, hungry. Splinter comes out. She wakes up. King shows up. Happy family. But he has to leave again. Evil queen. Maybe this was the spinning woman? She threatens this servant to find out what he’s up to. Men kidnap babies. Cook ordered to serve them for dinner. His wife hides them. Dinner. Queen watches him eat. He goes off. Men kidnap Talia. Burning fire. Talia stalls. I must remove my clothes first. This takes forever. Queen seems to enjoy this. King comes back just in time. Throws queen into flames. Cool produces kids. They get married. Everybody happy.

START IN THE MIDDLE
Hmmmm. Men pronounce curse on Talia.

MAIN CHARACTER
Talia. Daughter of great Lord. Where is this? Not sure. What year? God – 1600s? She’s active. Lives to play games. She’s wild. Rebellious.

WHAT ARE THE THEMES?
Family – good or bad?

THE HERO IS YOU
Okay. I’m the princess.

WHAT DO I WANT IN LIFE?
To be a great screenwriter. So she wants to be queen, I guess and root out evil from the kingdom.

WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE
This sounds like an R rated art house movie.

THE FIRST MINUTE – PAGE 1
Birth. Daughter. Proud father.

PAGE 3. THEME
Superstition and witchcraft will ruin this kingdom.

PAGES 3-10. SETUP. Talia runs around playing games. Finds an old castle. Seems dangerous.

PAGE 10. CATALYST. Woman (the evil Queen somehow?) tempts Talia to work spinning wheel, which is forbidden. Talia dies.

PAGES 10-30. DEBATE. The Lord freaks out. Search parties. No one can find Talia. Desperation.

PAGE 30. The Act I turning point. The Lord finds his daughter dead and locks up the castle forever. (My story is already screwed in that my hero does not make the act 2 decision. Oh well!)

PAGE 45. The Act II metaphor. The king finds the dead girl and falls in love.

PAGE 60 – POINT OF NO RETURN
The child sucks the splinter. Talia wakes up. She tries to comprehend what’s happened.

PAGE 75. The hero is about to give up. The lowest of the low. Talia captured by the evil queen. About to be burned in the fire.

PAGE 90. Act III. Something educates the hero. Talia stalls the queen until the king arrives.

PAGES 90-120. Climax/resolution. All or nothing. The final obstacle. The king learns the children were eaten. The queen tries to trick the king. Talia gets frees and exposes the queen.

PAGE 120. THE END. Queen burned in fire. Children returned. Wedding. The cook is the new whatever high position.

LOGLINE. They’re in love. The only problem is – she’s dead!

VISUAL AID. I don’t like visual aids.

TITLE. It’s a visual image. Or a sense of place. Your hero wants/needs what? That’s your title. She wants to be alive and be queen. DEAD LOVE.

How To Write A Movie In 21 Days by Viki King – Part 4 – The 9 Minute Movie #screenwriting

What goes on pages 1, 3, 10, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, and 120 of your script? That’s the 9 minute movie.

If your screenplay were a clothesline, you could hold up your screenplay “tablecloth” so to speak with story “clothespins” at these structural points.

Get out 9 index cards.

Card 1 is page 1 – the first minute of your film. What’s your image at the opening of your movie? Set the time, place, and mood. Like INT. SAILBOAT – NIGHT. That’s it.

Card 2 is page 3. Write down the main issue your screenplay wants to explore. Is it better use logic or trust your instincts? Can the rich really get away with murder? Don’t know? Make it up and write it.

Card 3 is page 10. What problem or opportunity arrives for your main character? Jack gets the job at the Overlook. R2D2 plays a hologram of Princess Leia. Write it.

Card 4 is page 30. The second act break. What event forces your hero to make the decision to go for her goal? What makes Luke join the rebellion? Write something.

Card 5 is page 45. The main character grows. Marion Crane, sitting in Norman Bate’s parlor, realizes she needs to return the $40,000.

Card 6 is page 60. The main character commits. Captain Willard crosses the bridge into Cambodia.

Card 7 is page 75. All is lost. The boat chief is killed by a spear. But then Chef rallies him. He must change within to get the goal.

Card 8 is page 90. Willard arrives at Kurtz’s camp. Sam and Lila decide to go to the Bates house. The start of the end.

Card 9 is page 120. The resolution. What’s the ending? What did the hero learn?

Write your 9 cards.

How To Write A Movie In 21 Days by Viki King – Part 3 #screenwriting

LOGLINE

Create two characters. She’s rich but depressed. He’s broke but fulfilled. Here’s the logline: She has everything but nothing. He has nothing but everything. Together can they have it all? Write your logline like that.

VISUAL AID

What’s the feeling you originally had when you came up with your screenplay idea? Can you identify a physical object that represents that feeling for you? A penny. A rock. A hat. Find it and keep it by you as you write.

TITLE

It’s a visual image. Or a sense of place. Your hero wants/needs what? That’s your title. It’s not perfect? Even better. Change it later. It’s a working title.

How To Write A Movie In 21 Days by Viki King – Part 2

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PAGE 60 – POINT OF NO RETURN
The hero commits irrevocably. In Apocalypse Now, they’re at the Do Long bridge, the border to Cambodia – Kurtz’s territory. After what just happened, we know it’s suicide to go there. Boat Chief says, “Where to, Captain?” Willard says, “You know where to.” Never get out of the boat. Absolutely Goddam right.

This is followed by a quiet scene, a breather form the action. The hero is changing. The bad guys are closing in.

PAGE 75. The hero is about to give up. The lowest of the low. In Apocalypse Now, the Chief is killed with a spear. No one’s getting out alive and we know it. But Chef, the most frightened of the crew, rallies them back on track.

PAGE 90. Act III. Something educates the hero. They arrive at Kurtz’s camp. He realizes that by confronting Kurtz, he must confront himself. To carry out his mission, he must become Kurtz.

PAGES 90-120. Climax/resolution. All or nothing. The final obstacle. He must give up everything. The final traces of his own humanity. He slaughters Kurtz. He becomes the new God. The natives bow down to him.

PAGE 120. THE END. The air strike annihilates everything. The jungle goes up in napalm orange. The horror. Apocalypse Now.

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How To Write A Movie In 21 Days by Viki King

How To Write A Movie In 21 Days by Viki King

Run your movie in your mind. Like you’re in the theater. Watch it.

Start in the middle. Skip right past all the bullshit to the middle of most interesting, cinematic action. The bank robbery.

Write down the beginning, middle, and end in less than 8 minutes. Write big, say little. “Night. Storm. Desert.”

Main character. Who is your story about? What sort of things do they do? Where from? Born in what year? Ask your character these questions.

What’s your story about thematically?
Coming of age. What’s your identity? Unfinished business with your mother and father. Proving yourself. Midlife crisis. Does life begin at forty? Getting older. Big changes. A life test. Cash in your retirement account and travel. Perspective. Memories. What was it all about?

Your hero. Face it; your main character is you.

What do you want in life? That’s what your story is about. Talk to your main character. Write down the conversation.

What kind of audience wants to see your film? Who are you talking to?

Watch a movie. Write the time in minutes when major events happen.

THE FIRST MINUTE – PAGE 1
One page is one minute on the screen. Time, place, mood. What happens? Point of view. Who are the characters? Begin your story like this in the first minute.

PAGE 3. Find the line of dialogue that introduces the theme. “You have to be rich to get away with murder.”

PAGES 3-10. How does the movie hook the audience?

PAGE 10. What happens that presents the hero with a challenge or opportunity? Psycho – Marion must take $40,000 to the bank for her boss. She goes home. The money’s in her purse. She wants that money. What will she do?

PAGE 30. The Act I turning point. The hero decides between pages 10 and 30 whether or not to commit to the challenge. She makes a decision that brings on Act II. Seeing his home in flames, Luke decides to join the rebellion.

PAGE 45. The Act II metaphor. A small, quiet scene that foreshadows the ending.

Continued in next post…

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Fairy Tale Screenplay – Step 3 – Structure It (cont’d)

HOW TO WRITE A SCREENPLAY
To learn screenwriting, the idea is to select a fairy tale and adapt it into a horrible screenplay in 7 days.
Step 1 – Select a fairy tale
Step 2 – Read it
Step 3 – Structure it.

STRUCTURE QUESTIONS

Who is the central character?

Not as obvious as it sounds. There are several potential main characters – the Lord, the King, the Queen, Talia, the cook. You want the main character to be active – so a young girl that’s dead or asleep may not be the best choice. I’ll risk it though and choose Talia (Sleeping Beauty.)

What does she want?

Talia wants love – to marry the king, have kids, and live happily ever after.

How does the story begin?

A great Lord has a beautiful daughter.

What is the problem introduced?

Wise men prophesize a great peril from a stalk of flax. This sounds symbolic of the dangers of the desires of men. The Lord decides to burn all spindles to protect his daughter from peril.

How does the hero commit?

At age 15, Talia manages to come in contact with a dangerous spindle, and sure enough, she gets a splinter and dies on the spot. This could be symbolic of some kind of unsanctioned love interest, whereby the Lord basically murders her from shame. My interpretation.

Her body in state in an overgrown castle, the king arrives and can’t restrain himself. He rapes her then goes home, forgetting about the whole thing.

Still dead, Talia somehow births twins. One them suckles her finger, removing the splinter and bringing her back to life.

This reminds me of Psycho where Marion steals $40,000 and is chased by authorities and then murdered by a psycho.

Where is the point of no return?

The king arrives, they fall in love, he goes home, but can’t forget about the girl and his two bastard children conceived in rape and necrophilia. The Queen gets wind of this and kidnaps them all. She orders the cook to serve the children for dinner to the king.

What is the lowest of the low moment?

Well, the king comes home to find that he has eaten his children and his wife is about to burn his mistress to death.

Where does the hero enter the final struggle?

Talia stalls the burning by removing her clothes for the queen.

The king arrives and they burn the queen.

Where is the climactic scene?

About to burn the cook, they learn that he hid the children in his house.

What does the hero realize?

I’m not sure. When you get raped, beware of the rapist’s jealous wife? Don’t kill the cook because he might be innocent? Certainly, don’t trust your wife is a key takeaway.

What is the final moment?

The cook gets a prominent post and they all live happily ever after.

Fairy Tale Screenplay – Step 3 – Structure It (cont’d)

HOW TO WRITE A SCREENPLAY
To learn screenwriting, the idea is to select a fairy tale and adapt it into a horrible screenplay in 7 days.
Step 1 – Select a fairy tale
Step 2 – Read it
Step 3 – Structure it.

STRUCTURE QUESTIONS
Who is the central character?
What does s/he want?
How does the story begin?
What is the problem introduced?
How does the hero commit?
Where is the point of no return?
What is the lowest of the low moment?
Where does the hero enter the final struggle?
Where is the climactic scene?
What does the hero realize?
What is the final moment?