Author Topic: How do you approach writing a script?  (Read 1661 times)

Writer Arena

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How do you approach writing a script?
« on: September 20, 2013, 09:27:57 AM »
Babz would like for you to tell her your specific approach for writing a script. Do you outline?  Do you wing it?  Do you details your characters or just have a sketchy idea of who they are? 

Alex

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Re: How do you approach writing a script?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2013, 11:26:20 AM »
Hey Michael and Babz,

I think there was a previous thread on WA that was similar though no "probs".

I know everyone is different so I will outline the method I use below and attach a few files to illustrate how I go about things.

I do find that some of my screenplays do require a significant amount more research than others. A feature I wrote was based on a serial killer, and I had to get into the mind of a serial killer in order for it to feel realistic and this did take some time and effort.
The comedy I recently completed a draft of required very little research, though I am currently outlining a controversial historical type screenplay based in the 1800's to 1900's and this has consumed a fair amount of my time in coming up to speed with the chain of events as well as the time period.

The steps I use are as follows:-
       1. An idea pops into my head and I think about it for a couple of days then write a rough synopsis.
       2. I undertake my own research, depending on the requirement of the storyline (this could take anywhere from a few days to a few months depending on the complexity of the story.
       3. I create a spreadsheet similar to the PDF attached and outline the scenes and story.
       4. I spend a month or two, on and off the project outlining the scenes and putting these into the spreadsheet.
       5. Once I am happy with the spreadsheet and the flow of the story, I commence and get stuck into Final Draft and get a first draft of the screenplay completed. This can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks depending on the amount of free time I have.
       6. I do a read and fix as many typos and grammar issues as I can find as well as altering any dialogue that I feel (Tickles my nose). An minor EDIT.
       7. Some family members usually do a read and picks up anything that I missed as a fresh set of eyes help. They also comment and let me know their thoughts on the story. Another minor EDIT.
       8. Now I register my Copyright on the screenplay just to cover my small but cute little arse.
       9. At this point I usually ask a few people whose opinions I trust to undertake a read and give me their thoughts. This usually causes a rewrite with scenes being omitted and some added and a couple of extra typo's etc fixed. A major EDIT.
       10. Now things start getting exciting even though I am usually pretty impatient from the start of the process. I now send it of for some coverage and sit tapping my fingers on my desk while I await the response. Another major EDIT.
       11. Another read or two by some associates within my (Inner Circle). Some minor tweaking.
       12. Depending on how keen I am and the amount of spare time, I sometimes get stuck into creating Character Bios of the leads, as this gives me a better feel for their backstory and personality. A few minor changes. The Bio that I have attached below, was requested by a director of a short I wrote. ENJOY.
       13. Well now that there has been so many changes to the original script I register the copyright again.
       14. I STOP. As at this stage, I am usually at around Point #4 on another screenplay.
       15. Time to market the script (The business end) . Even though I do have a vast background in business and marketing, the screenwriting world is an area I really need more experience with in order to be able to market my screenplays and get my name out there. I feel point 15 onwards could amount to another 5 or 6 steps in order to get your screenplay marketed yourself. Alternatively use an experienced Agent like BABZ, from here on.


I know all the points above do inspire some and frustrate others though most forms an essential part of screenwriting.

As mentioned above, the attached PDF is a copy of an outline that I used.  I just completed a first draft of "The Boy with the Golden Spoon" and the recommend column outlines the changes required as part of the first major edit. At the bottom there are some overall recommendations. I hope you guys find all this enlightening.

Everyone is different and I find that by doing the research and outlining the story as I do, it makes the writing process a breeze and I can get through that stage easily. Also I use this outline as a guide and find it does change during the writing process to incorporate ideas that pop into my head along the way.

Any questions and I would be more than happy to assist.

Regards Alex

PS don't forget to refer to the attachment and the thick red line separates the, Beginning, Middle and End.



 
   



 
« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 12:02:57 PM by Alex »
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denamckinnon

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Re: How do you approach writing a script?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2013, 10:17:49 AM »
I go to my list of ideas...and kick some around...ask my girls and my best friend ...what they think...then I pick per their likes and I sit down and write. Every now and then I'll put a simple skeleton beat sheet together but it's real sparse. I do not think hard on theme because it tends to look inorganic if I do. I send my ten pages to my coverage girl (If I have money that week) and to my best friend. Then I write the rest. I learn a ton from every script I write. There are some that I lose interest in if I have too many breaks in the writing process. I would love to be able to get my idea and lock myself in a cabin for a week and pound it out. That's just me. I think it's more important to get it 'out' ...that first draft even if it isn't perfect ....you can go back to it after a few weeks...but as writers we have to produce. We have to write. We can study and study and practice and make things pretty but we have to write scripts....from beginning to end. And we need to have many scripts or at least a very good 'ready' handful before we ever talk to anyone(I learned this lesson a hard way) ... :)

Nybabz

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Re: How do you approach writing a script?
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2013, 04:44:53 AM »
I think I love Alex. Yep. I do. Thanks too, Dena.

Alex

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Re: How do you approach writing a script?
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2013, 10:53:18 AM »
I think I love Alex. Yep. I do. Thanks too, Dena.

Back at ya Mrs. steps 15 to 20... Hee Hee
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Pia

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Re: How do you approach writing a script?
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2013, 02:17:11 AM »
I get an idea, think about it for a few minutes. If the idea gets me excited, I think up an ending to the story and then I start to type. I normally do not outline or anything. Why? Because I need to be interested in the story myself. I want to be excited about it and see where the characters are going to go next. Of course, this approach is why my scripts need numerous rewrites, but I just can't have everything plotted out before I start typing. The writing itself becomes boring and tedious and the story dull.

Another problem with my approach is that once I'm finished with the first draft, I'm no longer interested in the story because I know the story. I know what happened and I have little interest in going back to re-read. So, I end up with a bunch of half baked abandoned scripts. This is why I will never be a pro writer. I write for fun, for me. I don't have dreams of making it big one day. That's just me.  :)

Nybabz

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Re: How do you approach writing a script?
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2013, 03:27:22 AM »
this is terrific pia thanks. and I love the whole 'site' wherein you guys share how you get it done. I would suggest however the folks do consider theme; it is one of the first things that comes up in a prod meeting and I hate that part. bb

Pia

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Re: How do you approach writing a script?
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2013, 03:36:44 AM »
I usually care a lot about theme, but sometimes filmmakers completely ignore it or just miss it...   ::)

alffy

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Re: How do you approach writing a script?
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2013, 04:24:30 AM »
I have ideas all the time, some I shoot down immediately while others churn over in my mind.  If I think the idea has legs I write it down.  I'll then spend a week or so think where I could take the idea and then I go at it; no great outline, just a brief idea of beginning and a conclusion.  I like to imagine how I would see the film on screen which I think allows me to judge if it is plausible or just damn right stupid...not always a bad thing if I'm writing a comedy lol.

I currently have enough ideas to keep me busy for about a decade, or a couple of weeks for someone like Dena lol

Nybabz

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Re: How do you approach writing a script?
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2013, 07:17:19 AM »
I usually care a lot about theme, but sometimes filmmakers completely ignore it or just miss it...   ::)
[/quote TRUE RE THEME. But it's more subtle than that; the theme gives a really cool undercurrent as to what the characters actually say, and thus it's good to feed the theme when and if you can.

Alex

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Re: How do you approach writing a script?
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2013, 11:00:54 AM »
I currently have enough ideas to keep me busy for about a decade, or a couple of weeks for someone like Dena lol

Same here Alffy.

I think I have 8-9 incredible treatments ready to roll though who has the time ?

Regards Alex
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Nybabz

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Re: How do you approach writing a script?
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2013, 12:07:43 PM »
treatments SELL! you can go out with them. why not send them to me and let's see if there's anything market ready.

Alex

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Re: How do you approach writing a script?
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2013, 12:32:40 PM »
treatments SELL! you can go out with them. why not send them to me and let's see if there's anything market ready.

Hey Babz,

Thanks for the offer though they do need a lot of work still. The storylines are powerful though far from ready.

I do really want to get these screenplay written and are putting more and more time into development though with 4 boys my life is totally consumed with activities so the cogs turn very slowly.

I am currently doing a conspiracy theory story based on some colorful characters from the 1800's and it is sure to "wag" a few tongues. I am not sure if the big Hollywood exec's would take kindly towards it, as it portray something they are bitter towards, on an even playing-field so to speak. Can't say to much without giving it away though it will knock a few people onto their asses.

I will be hitting you up with some great themes in due course, and really do feel strongly enough to get my own screenplay's written.

If you are keen I can message you with more detail on the above story to get your thoughts, as I know you will be discreet.

Regards Alex


« Last Edit: September 24, 2013, 01:13:02 PM by Alex »
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It takes 15 years to be an "Overnight Success"

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denamckinnon

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Re: How do you approach writing a script?
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2013, 01:11:37 PM »
One thing about theme you guys....for me...sometimes the theme works its way out of the script ....evolves with the script so to speak. I've read some scripts where people must have tried to weave their theme into the script and it seemed paint by numbers and inorganic. So be careful if you do start with theme. And be careful that your script not feel forced throughout with reminders of your theme.

denamckinnon

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Re: How do you approach writing a script?
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2013, 01:14:21 PM »

I currently have enough ideas to keep me busy for about a decade, or a couple of weeks for someone like Dena lol

Very funny allfy! I do not write like super girl anymore! I wish I didn't lose it, but sad to say...I'm a snail without a shell now!