Thursday, October 27, 2005

Draft number 2

I've started the re-write (the bit where I actually write as opposed to scribbling on the first draft with red pen)… and then stopped now we have a moving date.

Pretty drastic stuff. I moved the cursor to around page 20 and held down the delete key. I've got the first 10 pages done, but the rest will have to wait until we have moved. I'm still trying to work out if leaving the love interest in there will add value. I'm erring on the side of "no" at the moment so it will be dropped, but that no only has a value of around 85%, so it may be put back in.

Anyway, I'll try to keep up the posting over the next four or five days, but with the move I can't promise anything.



Tuesday, October 25, 2005


We have finally exchanged contracts on the house move! It is fantastic to feel stress evapourate in under a second.

Now I have to work out how I am going to fit our stuff into the back of a long wheel based transit van. I'm lucky to have a friend's house to use as storage while she is out of the country.

I now need to buy packing tape. To the shop!

Monday, October 24, 2005

I can't fail!

I've got the next big disaster movie!

It's all about this guy called Chris who is desperate to move house, but it just keeps going wrong. He's been told he will be moving on the 1st November, but with so many dates given to him up to this point, he has been driven a little crazy by it all. He decides to accept the new moving date and pushes on with hilarious consequences.

I have no ending for it yet, but I'll have one next Tuesday (I'd better have or someone will hear about it!)

Do you think it will sell?

One shoddy draft and I'm handing out advice!

After a pointer from Warren at The Screenwriting Life I read the first column on Word Player. Here it is/

The important bit is half way down titled: The Warner Bros. Hallway Test. Read it!

Forget subplot, witty dialog and all the rest (for now at least), and work out what your story is about. When you have done that, you can work your art.

After reading the column I wondered about my Good Guys first draft. If I had no knowledge of the story, and stopped after reading the first 40 pages, would I be able to say what the story was about?

No! Not really.

Now my script notes make even more sense!

I always knew what the story was about, but when I approached my script I kind of gave it some artistic license and went off telling the story in my own way. I knew the beats and put them in, but I left the most important bit out of the writing process. The planning! I just let the story wander up to each beat at its own pace. I did write an outline showing all the beats, but didn't make any notes as to the pace of the story.

So my advice (Ha! like I'm qualified to give any) is this:

Work out what your story is about and work out its main beats. Then draw out a little time line chart (on paper or in your head), showing pages rather than minutes, and write down where each beat must happen. Then apply all your witty dialog and clever writing crap around that.

A few months ago I would have dismissed that advice, but I'll listen to myself and I've time lined draft number two in my head already.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

One or two things I've found out

I've learned some new things today, nothing too amazing, but they raised an eyebrow or two:

[1] People I didn't know where out there actually link to me (well one does for sure). I was looking at some of the things blogpatrol tells me about visitors, and one titbit is the url people visit from. I started checking them out and came across The Rabbit Trail and saw a link to my blog!

If anyone out there links to me then let me know. I have a list of blogs that I read and if I know you are out there and reading mine, I will stop by and read yours (although the bigger the list the less frequent that will be).

[2] My blog is listed on blog shares. I never knew. So I created an account and bought 900 of me right away :) That drove up the value from 0.54 blog dollars a share, to 0.73!

I bought a few Danny Stack and then found I'd ran out of blog dollars :(

Come on people! Create and account and buy some of me while I'm cheap!

Major surgery

As I said in my last post, I've attacked my first draft of 'Good Guys' with my script notes and a red pen (actually it's technically a second draft, as number one was that Dukes of Hazzard type thing).

The number of scenes I've dropped, which while frightening, is probably a good thing as I need to merge the first two acts into one. I've taken out a plot line that introduced some tension between the main characters, and that took up the lion's share of the cut scenes. Doing so involves dropping a love interest thing that one of the main characters has. I was tempted to leave the love interest in, but I don't want one simply for the sake of it. Too many scripts do that.

While the beats of the story remain the same, this new draft is going to be a major one that probably will touch 75% of the scenes (if not more). When I think of it like that, the rewrite is a little daunting. I'm tempted to set a deadline, but with moving house I don't think that's a good idea. I'm probably just going to say that by next Wednesday, I'll want to have gone over the current draft a second time, and at least wrote a detailed outline of the new draft. I think the new outline is a must and I have to resist the urge to dive in and hack up the current draft without a detailed plan. If I just dive in, I may do more damage than good.

Onward! To the next draft!

Oh, by the way, if you write a script with Final Draft, does that mean you don’t need to do rewrites? :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A new hope

Nothing to do with Star Wars.

Danny Stack has already blogged about this guy, but I'm going to jump onto this band wagon.

James Moran has been blogging for a few years now. I've read the archives and I must say I have been given an extra boost of motivation.

Life is hard for a spec monkey, even harder for one not living in LA, and even harder again for one outside of the USA. James's blog chronicles the struggle of someone with a spec script, a TV script and a day job, who want to make it as a screenwriter. Sound familiar? Like you and I perhaps? Well this guy went out and sold that spec script! The film is out in 2006.

Now, sod waiting until I've moved house for the second draft, I'm motivated I am. I have some beer, my script notes, a red pen, and my first draft. Time to get stuck in.

I could go on telling you about his blog, but why don't you head on over there and read for yourself.

HEY! WAIT! After you have read mine that is ;)

How embarrassing (for her) :)

Went to a wedding over the weekend and at two days before my daughters third birthday, I was already cramping her style.

As the evening do started, Anna-Louise and a few other kids were running around on the dance floor having fun. Then all the other kids cleared off and left her there by herself. I felt sorry for her as she stood there looking a bit down, so I went over to have a dance with her.

She promptly took me by the hand, marched me over to where we were sitting, sat me down and shouted "No! You have to stay here", and then went back to the dance floor and ran around by herself. I tried again but got the same response!

I knew I would eventually cramp her style, but I thought it wouldn't be until she was about seven.

Oh well :)

Monday, October 17, 2005

The verdict is in!

I have my script notes from Scott the Reader, and I can say that I recommend his service to anyone:

Check his crazy offer out here.

Although I have nothing to compare his service to, I found he was very prompt. I sent him the script on Monday and had the notes on Friday (3 pages of A4). I thought that was quite good given the time difference between us. Ok, advert over ;)

What was the outcome? Well, he thinks there is a commercial film lurking in the material (fantastic), and that I'm not a bad writer (phew, although there is a world between not being a bad writer, and being a good one), however the script needs *lots* of work.

I have to say that it didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. There was an issue with an aspect of the relationship between the main characters. I was aware of this, but left it in 'to see' rather than take it out, mainly because I had spent time on it. Scott confirmed what I thought and I'll drop it from the second draft.

The main issues (and after reading the notes I agree with them), will take a big chunk out of the first draft. I need to merge and compress acts one and two, and come up with a new act two. I also need to give a lot of work to the villains to make the story more believable. There are lots of other things, but I think these two are the 'biggies' so to speak.

I'm happy I was able to stand what he had to say. Even though he wasn't harsh at all, I was afraid I would have a "How dare he!" attitude. It seems I can take constructive criticism after all :)

You know, I think this script make it to a second draft :)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Quiet Time

Hello all,

Just a warning that I doubt the next few days will see a post.

I'm off to another wedding this evening, and won't be back until Saturday evening.

I have to look after our daughter while the night doo is underway, so I may take the laptop along and start on my next master piece (or try to save one of my stalled efforts).

Oh yeah; still no news on the house move :(

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Sky News : Britain Faces Coldest Winter In A Decade

Saw this on Sky news:

Sky News : Britain Faces Coldest Winter In A Decade

Now don't get me wrong, as I'm sure these people know a little more about the subject than I do, but they have trouble making a five day forcast and often get it wrong. How on earth can they make a two to three month forcast?

They probably wrote a list of possible weather conditions, closed their eyes, and stuck a pin in it!

Now watch me sitting at home freezing my ass off this winter because the office has no power :)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Real world comments

Oh well, there goes nothing…

After finishing the first draft of Good Guys and getting a rave review from my wife (probably through rose tinted glasses), I decided to find out if I have at least got a foundation upon which to build any chance of making it as a screenwriter. Therefore I've taken Scott the Reader up on his offer: $60 for script notes, 3 - 5 pages. No way can I afford the hundreds of dollars other people charge, so I was glad when I saw his offer.

He promises to "tear my baby apart", and while that sounds awful, if I want to make it my work needs to be torn apart so I can see what needs to be put right.

I'll wait to see just how he rips it up and have MMS and fingers ready for the re-write.

I'll let you know how Good Guys fairs after I read what he has to say and stoped crying :)



Clever Writing

I watched Primary Colours for the first time yesterday and saw a simple but clever bit of writing that tied the whole story into a seamless circle. There was a character speaking O.C. over a close-up of some handshaking. The character was explaining the body language that was going on, and I missed most of what was said because I was eating a rather loud packet of crisps at the time. I watched the whole film (and enjoyed it), and at the end the new president shook the hand of the campaign head. I then thought "Ah, we've just learned the real relationship between those characters". Then "Shit, I have no idea what it is", because I missed the V.O. at the start. I had to go back and listen to it to find out.

Now, I thought that was a nice piece of writing. Given what was said a the start, the handshake at the end gave us a whole underlying subplot to the story that didn't exist up to that point. I don't know if that equates to good writing, but I really enjoyed the film even more because of that little scene at the start and that little scene at the end.

Perhaps everyone else thinks the film was crap, but it entertained me :)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Let me try

Ok, so I've seen:

Snakes on a Plane
Alligators in a Helicopter
Velociraptors on the Space Shuttle

So I thought I'd have a go:

Tarantulas in a Submarine (© Christopher Parr 06 October 2005)

I'll have to see if I can turn that into a screenplay.

What's that I hear you say? Well I know, but all the good ones are gone :)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Paranoia sets in

Ok, I've read Good Guy's from start to finish now and although it did come out with some red pen on it, I haven't dropped any scenes of felt the need to add any. I am going to go through it tonight and write how each scene moves the story along. If nothing can be written then I'll drop it.

Now, about the paranoia thing:

Not that I've sat on my script with a shotgun or anything like that, but now I have a complete script I was thinking of registering it. There are two places I have looked in to: 1) The WCA - UK and of course 2) the good old WGA.

Should I bother registering with both?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I think I'm happy with it

Just a quick post to say that I've managed to read Good Guys through from start to finish.

I'm quite happy to say that it read quite well. I was a bit worried that I'd let the characters lapse in a quest to get the story out, but it turns out that isn't true.

I'm going to action all the notes I scribbled as I read it and then I'll put it away until I've got another complete screenplay under my belt. Then I'll see if it is still any good :)

Now I have to decide if I should try to rescue 3500 Miles from New York (a rom without the com), or start work on my war/action/drama idea. The latter will be a real challenge, while although the former is my very first screenplay idea, roughly 30 pages complete, and the one I really want to see finished, I'm not sure if the story is strong enough.

I'll decide on Saturday and dive in.



Monday, October 03, 2005


I've finished!

Well, at 23:11 last night I typed 'FADE TO BLACK'. As predicted I finished two days after my original deadline, and it came in bang on 110 pages. I haven't read from start to finish yet, as after a quick spell check, the laptop was screaming at me saying the battery was going to give up in two minutes. I saved the script (about ten times just in case), and went to sleep happy. I've now printed it out and will attack it with a red pen this lunch time.

I'm a bit worried that I resorted to getting the story out and neglected the characters personalities a little. Compared to the first thirty pages I rattled the rest off pretty quick. I'll know for sure when I've read the whole thing. Then starts the tweaking and re-writing. After that I may even call it a first draft :)

I've really enjoyed this project so far. I've been writing screenplays on and off for about two years now, however all my efforts so far have stalled. I'm so glad I've seen this one through to a complete script.

I'll let you know how it reads when I've finished scribbling over it with my red pen.