#29scenes writing challenge DAY 14 scene idea: *Two men arrive with flowers at the same woman's house on Valentine's Day* Happy Venereal-disease Day! As promised yesterday, here is the scene written by The Bourne Identity screenwriter which yesterday's challenge was based off:
EXT. OCEAN - NIGHT Darkness. The sound of wind and spray. The darkness is actually water. A searchlight arcs across heavy ocean swells. Half a dozen flashlights - weaker beams - racing along what we can see is the deck of an aging fishing trawler. Fishermen struggling with a gaff - something in the water - A human corpse.
So, how did your scene compare? Did you capture a similar poetic brevity, or did you take a different tact? Look back at the scene you wrote yesterday and see where you could improve it.
#29scenes writing challenge DAY 13 scene idea: *A fishing trawler travelling at night discovers a dead body in the water* Think brevity; you're almost sketching using light and shade without filling in all the lines. Tomorrow I'll share with you how Tony Gilroy, the writer of The Bourne Identity, wrote this scene. You can compare your handiwork to his.
#29scenes writing challenge DAY 12 scene idea: *A woman discovers she is dating her new best friend's husband* You get to play with a big character arc in this scene. Think about how much the protagonist has to lose, and what she'll do to get what she wants. Does she want the husband? Is she lonely and desperate to hold onto her new friend? Does she not want to be caught out and have her reputation ruined? You decide!
Well then you're in for a treat! Meet Richard Walter.
SCRIPTCHAT Sunday 22nd Jan, 2012
Guest: Richard Walter
* The two biggest mistakes writers make: 1) We write too
much. Too many scenes, too much dialogue, movies that are too, too long. 2) We
show our scripts before they’re ready.
* Prematurely shown scripts get stale in a hurry.
* Every word of dialogue, and every other sight and sough in a script must MOVE
THE STORY FORWARD.
* Trim, trim, trim. When in doubt (about any word of dialogue or anything
else), throw it out.
* Ask yourself: If a particular bit was missing, would it be missed? Would the
scaffolding of the plot/story fall down? If so, it was needed. If not, not.
* It’s okay to overwrite on early drafts, so long as you don’t show others until
the script is pared and pruned.
* Have a writers group – pals you can show early drafts to. Notes are helpful!!
* Common mistakes: being too on-the-nose, too textual, and insufficiently
subtextual. The idea is to imply rather than express.
* Raise the stakes as high as you can raise them.
* Don’t tell the reader/audience to feel – MAKE them feel! Make it come out of
sight, sound, action, and dialogue, not the writer whispering clues and cues to
* People who get depressed are people who feel their feelings passionately, and
that’s a good sign for writers.
* Make the audience laugh, cry, whatever – as long as you don’t make the
* The score shouldn’t stand out – it should support the story, not be the story.
* Don’t START with the theme when you’re writing. You’ll end up preaching. It
should come after story and surprise you.
* Including coverage with your script can make your script look old.
* Film school is now the #1 way to break into the industry.
* If you want to get staffed on a TV show, move to LA. Write features? It’s
actually an advantage to be from somewhere other than LA or New York.
* The three big rules of writing at UCLA: Don’t. Be. Boring.
* It’s important to outline, but once you start writing the script, throw away
that outline. Stay open to surprise.
* If you’re not married to writing blockbusters, there’s never been a better
time for writers. Production costs for indies are crashing, and there’s
worldwide distribution at every internet port.
DAY 4 scene idea: *Character A tries to get Character B to admit they're lying*
Think subtext! You'd rarely tell someone to their face you know they're lying. You'd try to hint at it, or trick them, or make them think you're cool with what they did. Character A has made their bed and there they lie, and Character B wants to gently tear the sheets off and expose the truth and Character A for who they really are.
Hello February and hello screenwriters! How are your new year's resolutions going? If you're wavering, struggling to motivate yourself, or feeling overwhelmed trying to write a big script, I have a challenge for you. I'm calling it #29scenes (Twitter hash). The idea is simple: every day over the next 29 days of February, you write a scene. "That's not hard!" you proclaim. Then why haven't you been doing it? It helps to have others in the same boat as you. I keep being intimidated by all the screenwriting learning I do (3actssubtextconflictbrevityincitingincidentpg15everywordmovesplotorrevealscharacterkillmekillme), so what I need is to just work on my scene-writing to get comfortable with it. You only really learn when you do, and there's far less pressure with a two-page scene than a 119 page feature that's meant to compete with every brilliant script ever written.
You don't have to write a scene for a project you're working on. This is like exercises in screenwriting class. And just like a screenwriting teacher, I'm going to suggest some scene ideas for you, based off a central conflict. One every day.
DAY 1: *Character A tries to tactfully dump Character B, who is preparing to propose*
It can be any genre or style. My only suggestion to try writing outside your comfort zone, or flip a cliché on its head. Subvert the paradigm, man. Yeah, right on.
If you miss a day here or there, don't stress out or give up. You're doing this for you, 'cos you want to be a professional and proud writer. Baby steps, once scene at a time... See you tomorrow with a new scene idea!