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#1 Chris Anderson

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 07:07 PM

I recently started to write a script for my first production but I don't know how to really write a script all I have so is stuff like

Mike: Hey

Jason: Sup

A dog walks over

... Yea so of you if could help me out
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#2 Mark Bonnington

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 07:00 PM

Try using Celtx. It's a free screenwriting program. They also have screenwriting forums on that site. And if that doesn't help, check out a screenwriting book from your local library.

Edited by Mark Bonnington, 04 October 2009 - 07:05 PM.

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#3 Paul Bruening

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 10:50 AM

Software can get the physical appearance of your script into industry approved shape. When I started, I was hacking out my drivel on an IBM Selectric typewriter. I spent so much time trying to make every letter fall in the right place that I wonder if I spent much time at all being creative.

Since successful scripts tend to follow known formulas it wouldn't hurt to plow through as many creative script writing books as you can get your mitts on. I'm not saying that script writing is devoid of genuine creativity... but.

Life experience is a constant in all forms of creative writing. The more you know about people, the better your stuff will be. You can hack out any old crap and be a good script writer. But, a meaningful work must come from the meaning you have found in your own life.

The more you learn from the fields of Psychology and Sociology the better your work can be. For example, in the first phase of a script, character development, your viewer must successfully transfer with the principle character. If you can't make that happen the rest of the story will never quite form up.

We write scripts in the universe of our own heads. Yet, they eventually manifest as people yammering at each other. Those are two different kinds of brain activity. Adjust, adjust, adjust.
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#4 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 08:02 AM

I recently started to write a script for my first production but I don't know how to really write a script all I have so is stuff like

Mike: Hey

Jason: Sup

A dog walks over

... Yea so of you if could help me out



Chris,

I HIGHLY recommend these two resources:

http://www.wordplayer.com Read EVERY page. It's invaluable and too-little known to aspiring screenwriters.

and

Film Scriptwriting, Second Edition: A Practical Manual
by Dwight V Swain and JOYE R SWAIN http://www.amazon.co...l_top_3_russss0 You'll hear a lot about some other very popular screenwriting books, but for someone just starting out, this one really breaks it all down into basics that the other books tend to assume you already know. I can't recommend it highly enough.

As for software to help format your work, it's easy enough to do on Microsoft Word if you already have it and don't want to spend any money right now. It just takes setting up your tabs and knowing when to bold and/or italicize or not. Otherwise, look at FINAL DRAFT as it is one of the standard formatting programs used and contains some very useful tools.


Good luck!
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#5 Paul Bruening

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 02:51 PM

I used to use Final Draft 7 and swore by it. Then, I tried Screenwriter 6 and haven't gone back.
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#6 Hal Smith

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 07:16 PM

I'm taking a University screenwriting course that's using Genre Screenwriting. It's written from the point of view that mass market movies fall into specific genres. It goes through the various ones giving examples of how they're written.

There's a website http://www.simplyscripts.com/ that has links to thousands of produced screenplays, most in standard screenplay format.

I use Final Draft 7, one nice thing about it is they give you two activations for one purchase so you can run one copy on a desktop computer and the other on a laptop, etc.
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#7 Simon Wyss

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 05:17 AM

Mike: Hey

Jason: Sup

A dog walks over

Find this not too bad. Can continue like

Voice: I am thirsty.

CU of dog

MC of Mike and Jason, bewildered
Voice of dog: C'me on, fellows, let's find a bar!

Group strolls away.
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#8 Paul Bruening

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 12:43 PM

Find this not too bad. Can continue like

Voice: I am thirsty.

CU of dog

MC of Mike and Jason, bewildered
Voice of dog: C'me on, fellows, let's find a bar!

Group strolls away.


Group script? Hell yea. Everyone throw in ten lines and see where it twists!
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#9 Hal Smith

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 09:12 AM

Find this not too bad. Can continue like

Voice: I am thirsty.

CU of dog

MC of Mike and Jason, bewildered
Voice of dog: C'me on, fellows, let's find a bar!

Group strolls away.



EXT. STREETSCENE - DAY

Magic hour shot of Mike and Jason walking into the sun. They're seen
knees up. The Dog is unseen on the ground at the end of his leash.

...............................DOG (O.S.)
...................You guys hear the one about the dog and the nun?

...............................MIKE
...................Not another shaggy dog story

Camera opens up to wide shot including Dog.

...............................DOG
...................Naw, this one's about a dog that gets shagged.

...............................JASON
...................By a nun? I'm not sure I want to hear this story.

...............................MIKE
...................Why not? He's told worse

...............................DOG
...................Okay. This dog's washing the windows in a convent.
...................Mother Superior walks in and says...

INT. CONVENT CLASSROOM - DAY

ROVER has SQUEEGEE in mouth and is busily cleaning a tall window.

................................MOTHER SUPERIOR
...................You missed a spot.

................................ROVER
.............................(Through his teeth)
...................NO WAY! I did her last night.

© Hal Smith 2009

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#10 Paul Bruening

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 10:01 AM

Excellent, Hal. It's already got direction. Three character dynamic. One can choose between a sympathetic in the friend and challenger in the dog. This story can go from here into a variety of fine directions. An obvious but not essential direction: Throw a love interest in by page 18.

Can't wait to read the next ten lines.
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#11 Hal Smith

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 10:58 AM

Excellent, Hal. It's already got direction. Three character dynamic. One can choose between a sympathetic in the friend and challenger in the dog. This story can go from here into a variety of fine directions. An obvious but not essential direction: Throw a love interest in by page 18.

Can't wait to read the next ten lines.


Just realized I can use Courier in Forum software. Stand by.
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#12 Alex Ellerman

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 12:27 PM

Before you go buying or reading books... read scripts. For free. on the Internet.

if you're gonna write a comedy... read Groundhog Day.

Action: read Die Hard.

Thriller: Chinatown

etc. etc. The script you have "written" is more like a transcription of real life, and not filmic. As a general thought, don't look to cinematographers for guidance on screenwriting, or sound, or tennis.
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#13 Hal Smith

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 04:23 PM

Western: "Stagecoach"

SF: "Galaxy Quest"

Drama: "The Lady Eve"

PS: "Real Life" = "Slice of Life", one of the more popular ways to tell a story. In the first act of "The Devil Wears Prada" MIRANDA's speech to ANDY about how ANDY's sweater was chosen by "The people in this room" is about as accurate to real life as possible. I've known people whose every day speech could have been written down and used verbatem as dialogue in a Woody Allen film.
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#14 Alex Ellerman

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 08:58 AM

This speech? as close to real life as possible?

MIRANDA
You see that droopy sweater you're wearing? That blue was on a dress Cameron Diaz wore on the cover of Runway -- shredded chiffon by James Holt. The same blue quickly appeared in eight other designers' collections and eventually made its way to the secondary designers, the department store labels, and then to some lovely Gap Outlet, where you no doubt found it. That color is worth millions of dollars and many jobs. Your superior attitude is not acceptable at this magazine. In this industry. Or in my presence.
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#15 Hal Smith

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 10:53 AM

This speech? as close to real life as possible?

MIRANDA
You see that droopy sweater you're wearing? That blue was on a dress Cameron Diaz wore on the cover of Runway -- shredded chiffon by James Holt. The same blue quickly appeared in eight other designers' collections and eventually made its way to the secondary designers, the department store labels, and then to some lovely Gap Outlet, where you no doubt found it. That color is worth millions of dollars and many jobs. Your superior attitude is not acceptable at this magazine. In this industry. Or in my presence.


Top level fashion and design people are exquisitely aware of exactly how colors and styles work their way from haute couture to the racks at Target. If Anna Wintour hasn't said something very much like at least once a week I'll eat her hat...But not if it's Dior or Prada and she wants me to pay for the meal. That "stuff's" much too expensive for my taste...

PS: That's not the speech as it exists in the movie. In the movie the "Superior attitude" crack isn't there. MIRANDA finishes with "(that) sweater was chosen for you...by the people in this room".
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#16 Paul Bruening

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 11:15 AM

Hello Alex,

Help us understand what are your concerns about the filmic aspects of the lines. The dialog is in Hal's voice and will need modification to match another type of character if that is his eventual intent. Is it because it centers around a conventional joke? While out of the ordinary it is still executable and not a bad way to introduce a movie carried by farce. Are you concerned that he has defied a direct investment in suspension of disbelief? He may be setting boundaries in absurdity with plenty of room remaining for investing inside those broad parameters. Do you prefer that the opening conform to conventional fare? Given the market peculiarities everyone finds themselves in these days, weird has a chance of getting noticed. It's not necessarily the kiss of death it was just a few years ago.

These are just some of the thoughts off the top of my head. I look forward to your elucidations.
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#17 Alex Ellerman

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 11:34 AM

Hal-

drafts of scripts change. but i took the draft i found on the Internet and posted it. People do not speak exactly like that in real life -- the script purposely omits "well... um... so... because... " connector words. that is the advice i gave.

OR meryl streep, in her infinite actor wisdom, made the speech more 'actor friendly.'

As for hal's excerpt, it's more akin to a shooting script than a spec script and stylewise it would not be received well by an agent or a director. find me a script that sold for $$$ that says "Magic hour shot of."

Paul - your post is difficult to decipher. You say the characters are all his voice? well, that simply doesn't work. that's where you get movies with 2-dimensional, cardboard characters. Your post is way too far afield for me because the writing excerpt isn't very serious, so i can't give it the serious treatment you are, and besides, it has nothing to do with the original poster or teaching anything meaningful about screenwriting.

there are rules and generally accepted practices of screenwriting as they are to cinematography. it's not filmic in a major motion picture to watch two guys say "sup," nothing, "chilling," cool, how bout you?" we skip over all that. they don't do boring scenes of "okay then, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye" everyone in the group of 10 people hugs everyone, " goodbye, miss you," etc., because the EDITOR would kill it all. so don't put it on the page either.

in screenwriting, you enter the scene as late as possible, and leave as early as possible.
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#18 Hal Smith

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 07:24 PM

Magic hour = twilight with the sun in their eyes.

The current phobia about scripts not having camera direction?

Phooey!

Ever read the scripts of movies like "Rear Window"? The action elements have just about every possible camera direction save what film stock to use. I'm painfully aware that's not the current fashion but I'm a writer who sees action in my mind's eye while I'm writing. It's not real natural for me to leave out what I'm seeing. So I put what I see in, and then delete it.

And in my screenplay writing defense: I've got an SF script cooking that already has interest in it...and not from the local bookmaker either. I'm still chewing on my third act so I'm not going to get too excited yet. But in the world of six degrees of separation; I'm one away from a production company with a recent good feature and a series on HBO right now...and two away from a real business heavyweight on the coast. The kind of connections that avoid having to wade through a gaggle of readers to get something looked at.

But what do I know? I'm just a hick from Oklahoma...who happens to be a native southern Californian.

PS: Not an object lesson in screenwriting? You did notice I seduced the Forum software into displaying my little opus in standard screenplay format? In Courier no less? Nonetheless I still strongly recommend Final Draft, it makes it Sooooo much easier to write without having to spend half your time tricking the software you're using into formatting the text properly.
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#19 Hal Smith

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 07:44 PM

Given the market peculiarities everyone finds themselves in these days, weird has a chance of getting noticed. It's not necessarily the kiss of death it was just a few years ago...............


No poop Sherlock. I'm dying to see "Men Who Stare At Goats" if only to see what the heck it's really about. Clooney, McGregor, Spacey, Bridges? Not a bad cast, no?
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#20 Paul Bruening

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 08:25 PM

And in my screenplay writing defense: I've got an SF script cooking that already has interest in it...and not from the local bookmaker either. I'm still chewing on my third act so I'm not going to get too excited yet. But in the world of six degrees of separation; I'm one away from a production company with a recent good feature and a series on HBO right now...and two away from a real business heavyweight on the coast. The kind of connections that avoid having to wade through a gaggle of readers to get something looked at.


Great to hear. Hope you knock it out of the park.


I'm looking forward to Men Who Stare at Goats as well.
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Metropolis Post

CineLab

Tai Audio

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