Tuesday
Dec062011

START YOUR STORY ON PAGE 1

start the story on page 1, make sure there's enough conflict and the conflict builds (don't back away from the conflict), make sure there's a polarity/dichotomy between two activities/ideas, make sure we can see/know your character right away (ie comic book panel, cliche, etc.) but of course that's just the beginning, the character/situation is much more complex, make sure there's a secret and/or sense of DANGER at every moment.  and think about scope. what can you accomplish in 10 pages, not lots of description, what's the ONE detail that locks us in, don't write so much dialogue that energy is expelled/too much info revealed, also make sure your characters speak differently based on their personalities/upbringing/etc (one character speaks in 4 line chunks, the other one speaks  in single sentence fragment, etc.)

This week: Think about the differences between a 10 page movie, 20 page movie, feature.  What changes? What remains the same?  How do you know if your idea is for a 10 page thing or a feature or can one be developed or collapsed (or part of!) the other. 

What line have you written that makes me INTRIGUED to invest 10, 20, 2 hours in your world. So not lots of lines, but the one.

Tuesday
Dec062011

MADNESS

“Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing.”  —Margaret Chittenden, author of 100+ romance and mystery novels.

Tuesday
Dec062011

WHY DO WE EAT IN A SCREENWRITING CLASS

Because if we're holding bread, we're not holding weapons.

Because screenwriting is a spiritual activity and I like the association to churches.

Because if you work for a TV show, they'll feed you.

Because we never know what tangible thing we'll get from a particular class. but being fed - that's tangible and real.

Because while we eat, we get to know one another. And then we feel more comfortable. Vulnerable. Able to write and share vulnerable stories.

Tuesday
Dec062011

MAGIC

I can do anything when I’m creating stories. I can make any miracle. That’s a great thing for me. I can say I deal in magic.

—Haruki Murakami

When I'm writing, it feels like magic - that my characters are alive and speaking to me. . . that I'm not quite in control. . . DT

Tuesday
Dec062011

PAIN

My screenwriting teacher Paul Lucey either said this or quoted someone else saying this: 

When you get a paper cut sometimes you don’t immediately see the blood.  It takes a second to realize you’ve been injured.  Then the blood appears, starts to ooze. 

Not sure what it means exactly (!) but something about digging for the pain, waiting for the pain.  I think he was talking about the character AND the writer – a writer’s ability to visualize/see the pain that no one else does. To wait for it.  To realize it’s there.  To imbue your work with it?  To reveal your own?  Who knows. You tell me. DT