Thursday, September 30, 2004

Oh My God!

I’ve just had the most profound screenwriting moment. I was sitting in my car penning away on 3500 Miles from New York, with a CD on in the car stereo. Then the last pages of the screenplay came to me. I’ve always known how it will end but like a punch in the face I knew exactly what to write. I’m only about 20 to 25 pages in but I had to jump to the end and write that then and there.

As I started to write a song came on the CD that went perfectly with what I was writing. I closed my eyes, listened to the song, and imagined a montage of scenes. It brought a tear to my eye! And I can’t ever remember crying at a film.

I know that if my screenplay ever gets picked up, I’ll probably never have any input like what music to use but, my God, it’s an emotional last few scenes and that music was the perfect icing on the cake.

Oh well, now I know if I ever get the chance, I’ll have to make this thing myself. I think I may have just gotten too attached to what the finished product may look like, but every screenwriter must fall into that trap.

I just hope I can keep the rest of the screenplay as good as the ending.

It's creaping up!

I had to pay 81.9 pence a litre of petrol this morning, and from what I see about oil in the news, this could just be the start of it.

I am the prophet of doom! ;)

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Low Budget

As a newbie to screenwriting with no complete screenplays under my belt, I realise it is advantageous to produce a low budget screenplay. This is for two reasons:

(a) I don’t have the ear and personal phone number of all the people who matter in Hollywood (or anywhere else in the world for that matter), so if I keep the required budget as low as possible I don’t shoot myself in the foot by making my screenplay unattractive to low budget companies.

(b) Hey I might come into a little money and go to film school. If I am going to make the thing myself I don’t want to break the bank. The lower the budget, the better.

To me, making my screenplay low budget means producing a screenplay that won’t need big expensive sets, guns and explosions, or fancy CGI (although that can be done on the cheap).

What I have come up with that will hopefully turn out to be low budget is 3500 Miles from New York. What I’ve gone for is a screenplay that moves along the story with people talking rather fancy effects. This presents me with the ultimate newbie challenge: I have to be able to write good dialogue as I won’t be moving the story along with car chases and gunfights.

I have about 15 to 20 pages so far (once my handwritten pages are typed up), and the hardest part has been in a few key scenes with some lengthy dialogue. The challenge there being keeping the dialogue relevant to the story, rather than dialogue for the sake of dialogue. I think I have pulled it off but that is always for someone else to judge.

Anyway that is long enough for one post. When I’m happy with the start of 3500 Miles, I will post it somewhere for comment.

The "What if?" Factor

I've been a lurking around various screenwriting communities on the web on and off for years now and one thing is quite clear: The chances of anything I write actually making it to the big screen are infinitely small. So why bother I hear you ask?

One reason is because I have a story to tell. I enjoy seeing a well written film at the cinema and if I can match that, even for my own satisfaction, then I will be happy.

However main reason is what I call the "what if?" factor that has been running around in the back of my head bugging the hell out of me. What if I turn out to be good at this writing lark? What if I do hit it lucky?

I would love to do this for a living, and perhaps that would open up the chance to actually make films myself (another aspect of film I would love to do).

So that is what has built up some momentum with my current writing attempt. I like my job, but I don't really want to do it until I retire.

In short, keep you fingers crossed for me, but if nothing comes from my writing, at least I can say I gave it more than just a half hearted shot.

Going well

One thing I have found when I attempt to write my screenplays, is that getting time to do so does not come easy. I don't seem to be able to do it in a little 20 minute slot every night. Work and my little daughter don't help either. She won't want anything to do with me, but as soon as I sit down at my computer, she is bugging me to see what I am doing.

However it seems I may have cracked it. Every lunch time when at work I now go and sit in my car with a pen and pad of paper. I eat lunch and write. So far I've managed to get at least three or four pages written each time which is good. Finding time to type them up is another matter (I think I'm about two days behind at the moment), but at least the pages are written.

So far so good :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


2 project showstopper issues, rejected at test ;(

It seems I spoke to soon after all.

He he

The title of my last post reminds me of one of my favorite work related jokes:

I thought I saw light at the end of the tunnel, but it turned out to be some bastard with a torch ready to give me more work.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Can I relax yet? Who knows, but what I do know is the project I am working on at work only has two outstanding show stoppers and both fixes are away with the testers. Which means I'm scratching my head for something to do at the moment. For the first time in about three months I'm going to have to go in search of something to do instead of it piling up on my desk.

Then again I should not get too excited. There are people out there that would suggest posting this is tempting fate.

Monday, September 27, 2004

The magic first ten pages

Everything I have seen on the subject of screenwriting has told me to get everything out there (characters, genre, first major plot point) in the first ten pages, or the reader will put it in the bin.

Two of my screenplays have hit that mark or beyond:

Deep Thoughts
3500 Miles from New York

Deep Thoughts is about twenty pages in but has become a little week if I do say so myself, so I've put that down and started on 3500 Miles from New York. That is the screenplay that has been buzzing around my head for longest and it is looking promising.

Anyway, when I am happy with the first ten of 3500 Miles I'll post them somewhere for comment.



Chasing Amy

Watched Chasing Amy yesterday. It's a film written and directed by Kevin Smith and I highly recommend it to everyone (if they are over 18 of course). Full of dick and fart jokes and a lot of four letter words. If I'm in the right frame of mind I find that sort of stuff funny. Even if you hate that sort of thing, if you put up with it you will notice some brilliant writing going on there.

I've seen it loads of times before but this was the first time since I started writing my own screenplays. Since starting to write I have come to appreciate good screenwriting more, and I've also learnt to spot and hate the bad screenwriting (see the third instalment of the Matrix as a fine example of that).

Other stuff by Kevin Smith (in order of release):

If you are Catholic and feel like bashing me for liking Dogma, I will quote Kevin Smith himself "Lighten up! It's a film with a rubber poop monster in it"

I haven't seem Jersey Girl yet but I've got it coming next from
Screen Select.

Taxi Driver of the Year

I must say that the taxi driver I saw this morning must be a top candidate for this award.

Now if you are a reading this and are both a taxi driver and also a perfect driver then I apologise for enforcing a sterotype, but you have to admit you a a minority among the species.

Anyway, when I set off to work this morning it was still too dark to drive without lights, and approaching me I saw a taxi with lights turned off. Being the good person I am, I dipped my lights a few times to remind him or her that they should have their's on. Who knows, some innocent granny out walking her little terrier might not see the car and get knocked over. Well as the taxi drove past me I realised that I need not have bothered. There was no way the taxi driver would have seen what I was doing as he was reading a newspaper, giving the road only the occasional glance!

That must take the piss. I just hope he drives into a tree and kills himself before he kills someone else. With a bit of luck he won't have any children and his line will have been wiped from the gene pool!