Ideas

•September 18, 2009 • Leave a Comment

How do you know an idea is going to be a good one?

I’ve been struggling with this all summer. I’ll think of a great premise for a screenplay, write the logline (this is usually the first thing I do), then a small paragraph that sums it up, then I’ll outline/treatment.

I was taught differently, but for me, an outline is pretty much writing the major plot points I need to hit: act turning points, midpoint, climax, resolution, and a few others in between. That’s a pretty simple explanation. In a treatment, I take those 10 or so points and expand them to 30-40 in a Word document. This is a variation of a trick I picked up from the late Blake Snyder in his book Save the Cat! He used index cards, but it’s the same thing.

That was a bit of a tangent. Back to ideas. I have a 10 or 11 page document filled with ideas, ranging from a word to a logline to several beats. Ten pages! Two of those ideas were turned into what I think are pretty good screenplays. The rest are just sitting there. I obviously think they are decent enough ideas or I wouldn’t have written them down in the first place. The problem is that that’s all they are: just ideas.

Very few of them contain within them enough depth to fill out 110 pages. On more than one occasion, I’ve written 30-40 pages of a script over a couple days and then realized I’ve got nowhere to go. That’s a horrible feeling. Chalk it up to rushing the final product and not spending enough time outlining it. I highly recommend taking your time in this stage. I’d love to pound out a script a week, because surely one of those will have to be worth half a million dollars. Right?

It’s been said a million times, but it’s rung true in my case. My last two scripts have been all about writing what I know. What were they? One involved music and the other involved sports. I’ve been a musician since age 4 and played sports since age 5. It’s been several years since. I know both very well, so that’s what I wrote.

Surely, there’s got to be something else I know well. Food? Hmm…

How do you know when you’ve got an idea you’re going to run with?

cr

Bad Movies, Mature Writer

•August 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

There are certain movies that when you watch them you think, “How the hell did this get made?” I understand that a lot of making it in Hollywood or New York or Vancouver or Toronto or wherever is who you know, but you’d think that ‘those’ people would still only put “good” movies on the big screen.

I’ll be the first to admit that my own writing is guilty of a few scenes that are only in there because I think they’re funny, a good gag or whatever. But I think my writing has matured over the last year and I’m now trying to leave out scenes that don’t add to the story. I’ve done a pretty good job of that in my last few scripts, and I’ll continue to do that out of fear of writing (and producing?) a bad movie.

I don’t want to name films/writers/directors, because I think there’s still some merit to these “bad movies” I’m referring to, otherwise they wouldn’t have made it onscreen. On the other hand, I know all you writers out there have seen movies recently or in the past that truly give you inspiration not because of how good they are, but because you know you write as good or better.

I put a lot of words and phrases in quotations. Sorry if I overdid it. Is “overdid” a word? It sounds silly on its own. My spellcheck isn’t picking it up so it must be a word. Good to know!

cr

New Direction for the Blog

•August 26, 2009 • 1 Comment

Sort of. It’s remaining the same, for now. But I’ve renamed it. It was brought to my attention that the old name was a bit… odd. I respected the observation and had already been thinking about changing it, so here it is. Crazy, huh?

From this point on I’ll be signing each post with my regular day-to-day/email signature, which is, simply, “cr.” My first and last initials, fyi.

I’ve gone through and changed the last few posts, but quickly got tired of that and stopped.

Take care, all.

cr

Two Months Later…

•August 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Okay, it’s been nearly 2.5 months since I last posted, but since I am a slave to social networking, here I am with an update for all of my one or two readers (that may be an over-exaggeration).

The big excitement on June 10th (last post) was that I’d completed a new script. Since then, I’ve gone on to write another feature length script AND cowrote a sitcom pilot. Plus a few short films, one of which I’d like to direct myself. The problem now is getting actors and crew to donate time to an unproduced director. Should be easy, right?

I’ve also submitted my scripts to a few screenwriting competitions. Still waiting on word back from them , but I didn’t win at least one of them. Which means, by process of elimination, I won the rest? Hmm…

Hoping to produce the pilot later this fall. It’d be nice to have that short produced by then, but we’ll see. In the meantime, I’m still writing features.

cr

New Script Completed!

•June 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Well, I finally did it. I completed my first feature length script since, oh, late last summer. That’s a long time of doing very little! It is 98 pages of what I believe to be my best work. Does that mean it’s any good? Who knows. But it’s something. Progress.

cr

Published (but still unemployed as a screenwriter)

•May 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

That’s right, I recently had a live music review published on the LimeWire Music Blog. If you’re asking how that’s different than me posting a review on here, well, I don’t know how to answer that. But they are a business, they have a blog, and I wrote for it.

The band I reviewed, No Use For A Name, is the band that officially got me into punk music back in the early to mid ’90s. I even did a presentation in grade 7 music class on their song “Until It’s Gone.” And as is the case with most bands I’ve seen recently (or am still waiting to see), I’ve been waiting most of my life to see them. And thanks to my lovely girlfriend – who is also responsible for the amazing photos taken at the show – I finally got to see them last week.

To say the least, it was pretty rad.

Click here for the review. One person even commented on it!

cr

Progress/No Progress

•May 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Been doing very little these days. Work too much at my non-creative job. My 12 Months to Fame and/or Fortune is not going as well as hoped. Must do more, soon.

cr