Tag Archives: female writers

ScreenCraft: Day 3

So, I signed up for ScreenCraft’s 60 Day Screenplay thing. After a bizarre snafu of not receiving emails and getting that cleared up by the wonderfully helpful staff at SC, I’m up and running and starting Day 3.

Days 1 and 2 were pretty simple as it just tasked us with coming up with films/tv shows that we love. Then we write a few short one sentence (loglines, essentially) ideas for what we might want to write.

The idea is to see what draws you to your favorite films. Is there a specific genre, style, idea that particularly speaks to you? If so, it’s probably a good idea to write stories within the parameters of those…write what you know, ya know?

I know, I know…it’s cliche! Venture out! Try something new and different. Which is all well and good BUT, sometimes it’s also good to stick to what you know and explore what you can do within that to make it new and different so that it stands out.

It’s hard for me to pick a top anything as my tastes change and expand as I get older. I did a short list anyway…I tried not to overthink it and just wrote the first 10 that came to mind and in no particular order of favorites (though I know exactly which order they would be if I really sat down and worked it out):

  1. Rebel Without a Cause
  2. Notes on a Scandal
  3. Leon: The Professional
  4. The New Girl
  5. American History X
  6. There Will Be Blood
  7. The Color Purple
  8. Just Friends
  9. Pulp Fiction
  10. Me, Myself, and Irene

A pretty all over the place type of list, right?! One TV show is tossed in there. I think I can see where my tastes are and what draws me to a story. Even in my own writing I can see where I’m influenced. I love a character driven drama. I love some action, some blood and grit. I also have an off-beat sense of humor. My heart though…belongs to strong character driven stories.

The Day 3 assignment calls for me to apply that knowledge to the 13 one sentence ideas I’ve come up with and dig a bit deeper into the premise.

Already killing off my little darlings, so-to-speak.

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While On The Plane To New Orleans…

new script

I had an idea creep up on me. I lowered that plastic tray off the back of the seat in front of me, pulled out my notebook and pen, and began writing. I hand wrote only a few scenes but really may have stumbled upon a good story. The story came to me while listening to a Lucinda Williams song called “Get Right With God.”

I’m not a religious person, far from it. Perhaps that’s why the scene came to me and is severely so far from getting right from God that a character could get. Opening scene is a character living in a desolate area, obviously not having a pot to piss in so to speak, who is confronted by his past in the form of a pistol at the back of his head. We know not what he has done, we know not of what the person holding the pistol is there for exactly…but I can see this scene so clearly in my head playing with this song kicking off the opening credits after the short open.

I’m piecing together my handwritten story now and I’ll transfer it soon to MM and post it here. Maybe I’ll get lucky and get a comment on the style and the story and see if this thing could have legs.

Validation…

vafilmoffice

No matter what size the validation is…it’s enough to get me going again. I recently found out that my screenplay was selected as a finalist for the Virginia Screenwriting Competition. The short bit of notes I received for the submission were spot on and now I can’t wait to tackle a re-write of the script. I’m not sure if I will do a page one re-write, but I know that there’s quite a bit of room for the story to grow some more for at least two characters that could really add to the overall story at hand.

I’ve been neglectful of writing in general. I have recently found some strong footing in life that I’m more hopeful about the future and what it holds…and getting this email just piled up on top off all the good fortunes being tossed my way that I absolutely can’t ignore it. I can’t ignore what it could possibly mean. That maybe I really CAN do this screenwriting thing.

So here’s to attempt number 198274124970746…hopefully I can make it count.

New Script Started…

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I usually HATE writing outlines. I hate them with a passion. I hate them like I hate blankets for our blankets (duvets, I guess is what they’re supposed to be called). I hate them like I hate wasting a glass to pour one drink from a glass (okay, soda can) into another glass. I don’t like writing before I’m writing. But, I guess it’s a necessary evil and it actually has proven to be useful in the past for me.

There’s a lot of writers out there that can’t stand any kind of “book” on writing. They turn their noses up at what the book may have to offer. I’m not saying I love everything a “guru” may have to offer… but if they’ve produced/sold a script then I’m thinking maybe they may have something to offer to help me grow as a writer.

I LOVE Blake Snyder’s (rest in peace, sir) “Save the Cat” and more importantly I love his “beat sheet.” Let me tell you what… a beat sheet is almost like a cheat sheet for outlining. It’s very basic. It allows a writer to get the main ideas, the solid chunks of meat of the story, out into the open. So that’s where I begin my journey after that quick and short free write.

I’m wondering if any of my followers have a system in place to foster success in completing a piece of writing… what’s your go to tool to get the job done?

ANGLE ON: THE SILVER SCREEN SCRIBE AS SHE TYPES FURIOUSLY BEFORE A DEADLINE

I wrote this for class an hour before it was due after putting it off for too long… procrastination is my life.

Nora Ephron. Callie Khouri. Leigh Brackett. Tina Fey. Victoria Nye. These women are all screenwriters. Okay, so the last one might be a screenwriter… she just isn’t paid like the others, or dead like some of the others. That last on the list, that’s me!

Screenwriting found me when I was fresh out of high school. The format of it, the seduction of it, grabbed a hold of me and never let go. I always had a passion for writing short stories. I have been writing stories in some shape or form for as long as I can remember being able to write a complete sentence. I spent all four years of high school involved in theater where I gained experience in writing stage plays for class. Being able to see my words on paper come to life in class with students acting in them opened me up to a whole new world of bringing the written word to life! That’s when my mind started coming to life about film and writing for film.

My parents never forced us into a church. My dad was a non-practicing Jew. My mother was a non-practicing Baptist. I might have completed one whole week of some sort of vacation bible school at one point. I can’t really recall what happened there and the only proof I have of ever being there was a butterfly cutout that was pasted to a clothes pin that my mom used for years to hold the bottom of her calendar together. Instead our church was the movie theater. My mom would take me there just about every other Saturday. We saw every kind of movie. When we weren’t at the movie theater she would bring me to the video rental store. Movies have always been a solid part of my life. The fact that there was someone who wrote these movies wasn’t something I had ever considered. The moment I realized that screenplays where the thing the ball rolling for a film to be made, well, there was no stopping me.

There’s been a mostly dry spell that has continued for the last six years. Not without reason though! I went through a metamorphosis when I was 28 when I came out of the closet. The years before that, though, I discovered a never ending well of ideas within me. Ideas that came to me in what I called the “movie projector of my mind.” When a character comes to me while I’m sleeping… or a scene comes to me when I’m driving, that moment of conception just plays over and over in my mind and I build backwards and forwards from there. When I can actually sit down and write I feel at home. I get in a zone where the world around me is a blur and people can come and go and ask me questions and I don’t hear any of it. I’m in a world all my own with a character telling me their story that I’m typing out with great care so as to not miss a beat in this character’s life.

My experience is limited with screenwriting. I have more half written ones that completed ones. Grand total completed is three. Force Majeure, the very first screenplay I ever wrote, was submitted The Virginia Governor’s Screenwriting Competition 2005 where the screenplay made it as a finalist (http://www.film.virginia.org/for-virginians/how-to-get-involved/virginia-screenwriting-competition/screenwriting-competition-2005/)! This was a huge win for me personally as it gave me the confidence that maybe I did have a talent for screenwriting after all. My second screenplay didn’t achieve as much as I wanted but I enjoyed writing it and thoroughly enjoyed doing the research I needed because it was a period piece. My third screenplay I am most proud of. That one is my baby. It needs a lot of more work on it, don’t get me wrong, but for a script that was cobbled together in just a week it has a lot going for it. I submitted it to Amazon Studios first screenwriting competition in 2010. Far From Home made it to the semi-finals! A script that was just a rough draft and was submitted on a whim made the initial cut! (http://hollywonk.com/post/2716349695).

My greatest challenge now is to overcome this dry spell. I had a brief come-back with a short screenplay. I wrote up a short just four hours before a deadline and submitted it to the Blue Cat Short Screenplay Competition 2012. Sunrise on a Cloudy Morning made it to the quarter-finals (http://www.bluecatscreenplay.com/short-screenplay-competition/). A short that was created from start to finish in the writing process made the initial cut! I decided then that I really did have a talent for this but I needed direction and stronger foundation. This is why I am here, enrolled in classes, with Southern New Hampshire University. I need structure and I need outlined goals in order for me to make this a success. I know I will achieve success. I don’t want the money or the fame within the film community. I just want to create these stories and have these stories connect with people the way other’s stories have connected with me. I want to be on that list of names for some other writer who adds theirs next to mine because I inspired them. One day… that is exactly where I will be.