Thursday, August 21, 2003

(These next few paragraphs are Wednesday night's post, but it's showing here because it was after midnight - and you know what happens when you feed me after midnight)

Finally started the first draft of the scifi action extravaganza, tentative title "Prime Evil", or possibly "Harvest". I'm no good with titles. I have the opening sequence done, 3 pages of action (about 3 minutes of screen time, one minute per page), with one line of dialogue. I'm very pleased, I use too much dialogue sometimes. I was going to try and write the first draft with no dialogue at all, and then only add some where absolutely necessary, just to keep it tight and fast, but that would be a bit tricky, and probably insane. I will try and hold back on the 15 page speeches, though.

For those who are interested in the process: first cometh the idea (from the director, in this case), where you say "hey, wouldn't it be cool if, like, Hitler was made of cheese, and zombie mice tried to eat him?" or something. Then, you try and work out if the idea will be interesting for 90 minutes - that idea on its own isn't going to last long. For me, that means doing a one or two page outline telling the story from start to finish, not in too much detail ("Hitler is planning a major battle, which absolutely must not go wrong. Meanwhile, his mum is trying to win the Cake Challenge with her fairy cakes. In a small town in Idaho, an industrial accident leads to the creation of zombie mice, which terrorise the local town. Eventually, they smell the whiff of the HitlerCheese, and decide to go and eat him. Along the way, they kill many people. Meanwhile, Hitler's nose falls off" etc etc). You know, I'm liking this HitlerCheese story the more I think about it. Once the outline is done, I think about who should be in it, how many characters, what do they want, what would be more dramatic, and so on. If any research needs doing, now is the time - if the story changes during the outline stage, that's cool. If it changes when you've nearly finished the script, you're buggered. Usually I do this on my own, or with Jodie's help, but in this case me and the director came up with the goods, and I arranged it all into an exciting tale of derring do. It's basically like a very short story. In a film script, you have to know where you're going, even vaguely, or it'll be a mess.

And then, once you've run out of things to do to put off starting, you just start writing it. Expand on things that need it, let the story flow, let the characters talk - and if some things go in a different direction to the outline, let them. You can always change it back if it doesn't work. Anyway, that's what I do for these things. This blog is supposed to be all about my writing "struggles", a journal of the nuts and bolts of trying to make a go of this crazy business, so I may as well go into detail.

Another reason for the blog is to guilt trip me into writing every day, even if I don't update this every day. I need to be a bit more strict with myself, I'm too easily distracted from writing. This long blog entry is a case in point. So I'm stopping for today. 3 pages is good. I'll make that my daily target. Oh no! A target! That's going to put the kibosh onto things...

No comments: