Archive for August, 2011

August 31, 2011

Choosing the Right Music for your Writing Sessions

This short article from The Script Lab makes a great point about music and writing. If you listen to music while you write, listen to music that’s going to get you in the right mood, the right headspace, and the right alignment with your characters and story:

In 1999, I wrote a script titled Sausage. It was a comedy about a struggling gay opera singer who finally finds acceptance when he joins a 80s glam metal band. It was well received (plot, story, characters), but the glue was always in the music.

It was the music that connected the characters. Music found them. Music united, then divided. And it was music that brought them back together. Not unlike Spinal Tap and The Commitments, Sausage was first and foremost a real movie band.

So I devoured glam metal: Kiss, Twisted Sister, Mötley Crüe… and became a connoisseur of opera: Purcell, Handel, Mozart… and then, I made a soundtrack. And whenever I sat down to write, that soundtrack played. It became an extension of me, of the script, of the characters, of the writing itself.  This is not to say that every script demands its own modern version of the “mixed tape,” but there’s something to be said about music being part of the writing experience. First, figure out who your characters are – what kind of music they listen to – and then literally… LISTEN TO IT! You might be surprised what you discover.

August 31, 2011

Quote of the Day: David Almond

The best tip for writing is just to write; to sit down and write, to begin doing it and not to be scared by the blank page.

August 30, 2011

Script: 2001: A Space Odyssey

Here’s a draft of 2001: A Space Odyssey provided by Drew’s Script-o-Rama. It was written by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke.

August 30, 2011

Quote of the Day: Julie Gray

Writers awaiting feedback are in a very vulnerable position. Yes, yes, we have to have thick skin but writers are sensitive, let’s face it. This is not a new toilet we have installed; our stories are our hearts.

August 29, 2011

Creating Drama in a Talking Head Scene

This article by Hal Croasmun of ScreenwritingU gives insight into how to create drama in a scene that is primarily or even entirely composed of dialogue:

I’d like to take a look at how a talking heads scene might work by creating deeper meaning in the dialogue.

I’ll give you the punchline in advance. The key to your success when writing a talking heads scene is to deliver meaning, emotion, and entertainment — not exposition.

Keep reminding yourself that every scene in a script MUST entertain the audience in some way. So, if 95% of the scene consists of dialogue, that dialogue has to be entertaining, emotional, and deliver some powerful meaning.

To illustrate this, I’d like to use the famous “You had me at hello” scene from the movie JERRY MAGUIRE. In it, you’ll see that many different skills have been used to turn a talking heads scene into a total tear jerker.

To set this scene up…

We’re at the very end of the movie. Jerry has achieved his external goal of having his only client succeed. But there is an internal question about whether he can love anyone or not.

Read more here.

August 29, 2011

Quote of the Day: Chuck Mondry

I’m not very comfortable giving advice to other writers. Writing just doesn’t come easy for me. Actually, it’s pretty much constant FAILURE.

August 25, 2011

Script: Conan the Barbarian (2011)

myPDFscripts made this draft of Conan the Barbarian available. It is written by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer.

August 25, 2011

Quote of the Day: Curt Franklin

Not using dialogue can give a character an extra layer of personality. Think about the people in your life and their body language, the quirks they have and how it helps define what you think of them. One defeated shrug can speak to a character’s entire philosophy of life… You’ve got the power to make your actors do anything you want, so use the hell out of that imagination.

August 24, 2011

When it Comes to Your Characters, Reveal & Complicate

This article by the superb writer and script consultant, Erik Bork discusses how to write characters that will keep your audinece engaged and entertained:

A writer I work with as a consultant recently shared a phrase with me that came from her friend Craig Hammill (thanks, Craig!), which perfectly encapsulates a point that I often make with writers: “Don’t withhold; reveal, and complicate.”

What that means is this: withholding information — especially information about your main character and what they think, feel, want, plan, and are trying to achieve — tends to distance readers and audiences from your material, rather than drawing them in.

It’s a very common issue I come across in scripts, especially ones that are saving some sort of big reveal or twist for late in the movie.

read more »

August 24, 2011

Quote of the Day: Raymond Chandler

When in doubt have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.