Friday, September 30, 2005

Nearly there!

The end is in sight! I can see it!

I've written my false ending I spoke about in the last post, and I've started the final sequence of scenes. I'm not actually sure it is a false ending now I have written it, perhaps it was just the eye of act three's storm. I'll know for sure when I have finished, and see how the whole thing reads from start to finish for the first time.

Like I said above, I've just started the final sequence and that came in at page 96. I've still got around 10 to go (maybe 15 but I don't want to kill the flow), so I really want to push and finish tonight. Problem is a friend is off to Oz for three months, and we are having a mini send off. I guess I'll have a late night :)

Does anyone in the UK here know where to get hold of brads and a three-hole hole punch (that handles letter size paper)? A screenplay competition I have seen insists on three holes and brads (and letter paper as opposed to A4, but I can probably get that from staples).

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ok, only one act three

I guess false ending is a good label for what I have rather than another act three.

I was making script notes all over the place in MMS to constantly remind myself that I shouldn't put my twist (if that's what we are calling it) in too much of a lull at what appears to be the end. I want it to be at a place where things are winding down, and the resolution of everything is about an inch in front of the characters faces. Then I'll pull out the rug :) I figure if I leave it until things actually are resolved, the flow of the script will stall and I'll be shooting myself in the foot. Let the characters see the rope that will get them out of the hole, only to have it yanked away from them as they reach up for it.

I really enjoyed last nights writing. Went to bed early and typed away until the laptop told me to save what I was doing right away, as the battery was about to gave up its last bit of power. What I wrote positively flew off the keyboard.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

One act three, and then another

Ok, I'm into act three now and it turns out I actually have two of them.

I have the one resolution to the story which the characters achieve, and then when they think everything's fine, it all goes pear shaped and then the second act three comes in.

I know it sounds silly to say I have two act threes, but I've never heard of that classic 'four act structure'. Then again, I've never attended any screenwriting classes, and I put Syd Field down before I slit my wrists (yes I found it dull, dull, dull. You can flame me later). I wouldn't say this is even a twist to a larger act three, there are two distinct acts here.

Saying all of that, I'm not strictly searching for that classic three act solution. I'm just writing my story. We'll see if it is works out when I've typed 'FADE OUT'.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Aw crap!

Now I'm not moving house!

Well not yet ;(

The people we are buying from still need some documentation from the people they are buying from before we can continue.

It seems I am now in a waiting game :|

I'm moving house!

Hello All,

Just a heads-up to say that posting may be a little thin on the ground over the next week and a half. I'm moving house next Thursday which means I have the family possessions to put into boxes. That along with my self imposed deadline of this weekend for finishing 'Good Guys', doesn't leave much time for posting. Even the screenplay may suffer with the amount of packing still to do.

Anyway, I'll do my best to write and blog and I'll just see how it goes.



Monday, September 26, 2005

The Phone Call

Ok, I've polished up the phone call scene. I know the formatting is going to go to hell when I paste it here, so please forgive that.

Comments on the structure???



Agents Mathews and Jones sit at a workstation in the cramped van going over a printout, when a mobile phone rings.

Pass me my phone will you.

Jones reaches over for it and passes it over. Mathews presses a button to take the call.

Mathews here.


Hey asshole!


Who is this?

This is Owen.

Mathews gives Jones a nod and mouths the words "the deli". Jones returns an understanding smile.

Owen who?


You know fine well who the hell I am.

Ok, what can I do for you?

What the hell are you playing at?

What do you mean?

Cut the crap, you know exactly what I mean. You contacted our insurance company and told them about the whole situation.


I contacted no one. I was outside the deli when the insurance inspector showed up. We chatted, I told him who I was, and it must have just slipped out.

You total prick! Why would you do that? Now they won't pay out.

Now you just listen here, you'd better remember who you are talking to.


Owen's eyes nearly pop out of his head.

Are you serious? You think I should respect you? Why don't you come and see me without that badge, then we'll see if I should respect you or not!

Now you just grow up a bit. You've had ample opportunity to talk to me but you didn't take it...


...I've broken no law, in fact I've stopped you from making a claim when you are in breach of a clause of your insurance. That's insurance fraud buddy!

I tell you, if you were in front of me right now...

AGENT MATHEWS'd do what? Listen, you want to talk about the Salvucci's, then we'll try to work something out, but until then...


The line goes dead. Mathews looks up at Jones with a grin on his face.

Well, that went well. they don't have much of a choice now, they'll have to cooperate.


Owen turns away from the phone and takes a relaxing deep breath.

A little help

Ok, the weekend at home without my wife went well screenplay wise, and 'keep my daughter happy' wise. I didn't make as much progress as I hoped, but I got some important scenes out of the way.

I have got a couple of points I would like the screenwriters who read this to help me out with (I think there may even be two of you!).

(1) The first is a phone call. I've just realised I've never written a phone call scene. Could someone point me to a good example of how I should format a phone call where the visual cuts constantly between two locations. I'll search the net today myself, but good pointers are always welcome.

(2) The second is a bit more important. I've got this scene that deals with a very important underlying issue in the story, where the two main characters pave the way for the resolution of a big wedge that has come between them. The problem is that the dialogue has run to five full pages, and that's after I thinned it out some. What is said between the two of them has to be said. Is five pages like that acceptable or should I scrap the scene and try again?

Anyway, apart from that I'm really happy with what I've got so far. I ran what I've written up to now past a friend. Now I have her and my wife wanting to know when I'll let them see the rest, so it can't be that bad. If you look at a previous post, I think I gave myself to this coming Friday to get it finished. I may need the Saturday and Sunday after that, but that's close enough for me. It will probably end up around 110 pages.

If I finish when I think I will, I'll be totally amazed! I'll have taken the screenplay from nothing to my 'Dukes of Hazzard 2' version, scrapped it and re-written a new outline, and now I've got the finish line in sight, and all in a fraction over a month. I don't think that's at all bad when I've got a wife, kid and a day job :) I've got many failed efforts on my hard drive from the past. Too bad I wasn't as motivated back then (I think it helps that my wife is behind me this time).

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Home stretch?

Phew, I'm finally there :)

If finally at the point in my story where the build-up to the finale starts (not that all of my script shouldn't be that, but I'm sure you know what I mean).

I feel like I'm on the home stretch now. This is the point in the story where the various plot threads start to point themselves fully at act three, and although there aren't millions of them, I hope I've included enough to please any readers (time will tell).

Also my wife is going away for a friends hen night this weekend, so come seven at night when my daughter goes to bed, there will be no TV to distract me, and I should be able to roll off at least three hours writing. I would do more but our daughter doesn't really sleep past six am, so I don't seem to do late nights any more.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Scenes that do nothing for the story.

I've filled in one of the gaps talked about in my last post with a montage that enforces one of the plot threads. I think with that montage, the sudden transition in time doesn't seem so harsh (I've never used a montage before and still need to check on the correct format).

What I was trying to avoid is what I saw in the third (and possibly the second - can't remember) matrix film. What I saw there was:

1) A bunch of scenes (mostly action aimed at showing off special effects).
2) The story then seemed to stop while there was a ton of dialog to explain what was going on.
3) A bunch of scenes (mostly action aimed at showing off special effects).
4) The story then seemed to stop while there was a ton of dialog to explain what was going on.
5) etc…

…repeated up to the end of the film. To learn the story we were told it verbally by the characters. I loved the first matrix film, but was appalled by the bad writing in the second and third. Anyone trying to break into this business could never get away with writing like that, so I have no idea why pro's should be able to (I have a soap box about that I'll save for another post).

I feel that every scene I write has to move the story along. As an analysis tool, I intend to look at every scene in the script and write down how it moves the story along. If I can't write anything about the scene, it will go.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

How's the deadline going?

Well, so far so good. I managed to get five pages rattled off last night, and I'll probably do another three or four in what remains of my lunch hour.

If I keep that pace up I should easily finish in time.

I've managed to get MMS working on my machine at work, which is great as I can now haul my script around on my memory stick, rather than hauling my laptop to work with me.

My main problem is that I need an important scene that will happen about a week from the current point in the story, and a week before the main event. I need to fill that week either side of the scene in with something more than 'scenes for the sake of them'. I really don't want to compromise the story with scenes that don't move it along. I need to invent some more plot threads.

Monday, September 19, 2005

My word! I think I've done it!

Thank God for that!

I've finally dragged my screenplay kicking and screaming into act two (after I don't know how many attempts), and the story still has no holes in it. Phew!

Sorry about the lack of posting, but I've been on a bit of a roll with the script and I wanted to keep it up. Oh, and I've managed to change the title from 'Untitled 4' to "Good Guys".

My plan is for this week to drag it kicking and screaming to the end of act two, and to have the first draft done and dusted by next Friday. That leaves just under two weeks. Got to keep that momentum up :) The only thing that gets in the way at the moment is the day job. After reading what I had so far, my wife was impressed and has given me the all clear to have an hour or so a day on my own to get this done.

I know family and friends aren't always the most objective endorsement of work, but it certainly made me happy that she thought it was good :)



Thursday, September 15, 2005

My lesson to newbies

Just read something on Danny Stack's blog that has hit me between the eyes like a brick.

I think I've over-educated myself with regards to scriptwriting. I'm sure people who read my first full length script will disagree, but as a newbie I think I've educated myself too much in a subject I have no 'show-me-the-money' experience in.

I made a comment on his blog that I get sick of reading scripts I have downloaded from Zoetrope that are full of what I know shouldn't be in a spec script. But hold on a minute! I'm reading complete scripts! A story has been told from start to finish. Forget about all the crap that is wrong with the script, it is a complete script.

I think my problem is that because I'm aware of what I should avoid, I get hung up on trying to avoid it, not to mention the countless re-writes making sure my first ten pages are spot on. Ultimately, because of this my efforts seem to stall.

If at the start I'd just jumped in feet first, I'd probably have the majority of my ideas finished and be in the process of putting them right after receiving a bashing on Zoetrope.

If anyone reading this is just starting out and this is their first day of research into scriptwriting: TAKE NOTE OF WHAT I'VE WRITTEN ABOVE!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Should I have driven past?

On the way to work today I passed a petrol station with a long line of cars. I was going to join in but I thought "I've got 3/4 of a tank left, I can't be bothered". It was a fact that with the last protests, it was the panic buying that made the country run out of fuel. If everyone had kept to their normal buying habits, there would have been enough to go round in most parts of the country.

Half of me is wanting to run out. At least that way I can work from home :)

It won't be too much of a problem for me soon. As part of a drive to keep fit I am going to buy a bike to travel to work on (I hope I can keep it up). I'm moving house in 3 or 4 weeks (fingers crossed) and there will be somewhere to keep on at the new place.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Why do I do it?

Just wondering what actually got you into writing screenplays?

I was thinking about this the other day from the 'why am I bothering' point of view. If I started this for the big six figure sale then I may as well give up now. But that wasn't why. I guess at the end of the day I just want to tell a story.

If I think of the times when I am most inspired to write, they always seem to be after I have seen a good film at the cinema. I don't think the film has to be that great, but if the ending is good then I want to go home and write. I guess when I see the point in a film where all the threads come together (especially when it's a 'feel good' ending), I am inspired to go home and add that clarity to my story.

At the end of the day I think that's why a visit to the cinema has turned into what I call my 'chill thing'. Everyone should have one thing they do to really chill out and empty their mind of everything else. Mine is an early morning visit to the cinema. At my local cinema the showings usually start at 11am. If I go then I usually have the movie to myself and I forget about everything, loosing myself to the story. A problem occurs if it is a really bad movie because it really winds me up when I see on the screen things that a newbie could never get away with in a story, and then I am anything but 'chilled'. I have a soap box about bad films but I'll spare you and save that for another post.



Friday, September 09, 2005

Act one to act two transition

I'm at that wobbly point in a script when I'm transiting from act one to act two.

I've already had a few attempts at it and I'm still not happy with the results. Bang goes my plan to simply get it all down on paper in one attempt, and worry about stuff like this later. Oh well, I'm full of good intentions ;)

My problem is that the unresolved thread I'm leaving dangling for acts two and three, doesn't seem juicy enough. Either that or I haven't got the right number of minor threads. Either way, writing this full steam right through to the end would produce something short of mediocre that would require more than major surgery to fix, so I thought I'd better get this sorted out now.

All that aside I still think it's still my best idea to date. I've also came up with an idea for a short that I could do myself with a digital video camera or two plus about three actors. When I have my current screenplay complete in draft one format I may sniff around the local area looking for people to team up with to get the short made. I doubt there will be any value in doing that, but at least I'll be able to say I've had something produced, even if I did do it myself :P

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I said something had to happen

Read a BBC news article reporting that the people who organised the last fuel protests have arranged for all refineries to be blockaded on September 14 if the price of fuel goes up any further.

I'm not sure if that will have the same effect as the 2002 protests as I think the army trained about 1000 soldiers to be HGV drivers so deliveries could continue in a situation like this.

I may full up on the 13th just to be on the safe side. Then again I could forget and be unable to make it into work if fuel shortages hit :)

I'll write it later........ honest

It really is so easy to let the momentum slip.

I was away last weekend and ill when I got back and I haven't written a thing since. When you get back in the house after a day's work, it is almost too easy to sit on the couch in front of the telly and think about your screenplay rather than actually writing it.

Oh yeah, here's a tip: Don't go out and buy a PSP like I did. Don't get me wrong, they are fantastic little gadgets, but they are one more thing to do before you write that next scene (or even blog post).

So, on that note, I'll give myself a kick up the backside and write a few pages during my lunch hour. To make sure I do, I've resisted the temptation to bring my PSP to work ;)

Sunday, September 04, 2005

How Much?

Ok, just drove past 3 petrol stations near my house and the price of diesel is 96.9 pence per litre!

My American readers work in gallons so I'll translate:

1 gallon = 3.8 litres
96.9 * 3.8 = £3.68 per gallon

A qick browse of BBC news business section to get the latest exchange rates gives £1 = $1.84

£3.68 * 1.84 = $6.77 per gallon!

Things can't go on like this without something happening.

FYI: Diesel doesn't actually cost that much, 76% of that £3.68 is tax :(

Friday, September 02, 2005

Next few days

I think posts are going to be thin on the ground over the next few days. I'm I'll but I have to be at work for a training course.

It happens I suppose :)