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They just ripped me a new one, so most likely they’re going to tell it like it is. I’ll head over there after I put on a new pair of pants.
I just created a short (10 question) completely anonymous Screenwriter Survey with the goal of getting a better idea of what people’s biggest challenges are in writing screenplays.
If you wouldn’t mind clicking this Screenwriter Survey link and taking a minute or so to complete it, I’ll be happy to share those results here with anyone who is interested. Hopefully the results will help target specific areas where people really want to focus to get to the next level in their screenplay writing.
Principle 3: Finding an agent is easy; what is hard is writing a screenplay worthy of an agent’s representation.
For writers to begin writing from the standpoint of marketing is a self-defeating prophesy. It’s useless for writers to concern themselves about sales before they have something to sell.
Principle 4: Writing is schizophrenic.
Writers must deal with separate items – story, character, dialogue, etc. – simultaneously.
Principle 5: Art is the lie that tells the bigger truth.
Writers must write fantastic films even as they are plausible.
Write from your heart, not your head.
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.
Let me know if this has been helpful, or if you have any suggestions or topics you’d like to discuss!
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.
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.