06 May, 2007

Shorts Project: Writing the Script

Oh yeah, baby, I did it! I was preparing all sorts of excuses but none were needed. Rogue Slash was completed in 3½ hours, with two half hour breaks.

I planned on doing a step outline yesterday and then decided to do one within the five hours but I didn't do one at all in the end. If I was doing a script that was longer I wouldn't dream of not having a step outline but for a short I wanted to try a draft without one. It could have been pure laziness but I felt my "pseudo beat sheet" was enough. It's not a proper complete beat sheet but it had just enough images and plot points to be getting on with. Of course it meant I struggled a bit in the latter stages where I hadn't worked things out properly but it seemed to come together alright.

Of course the main thing is actually setting a goal and finishing a goal (something the useless Blues strikers could have learnt from today) but I don't think I completely solved the lack of conflict problem in the first part and the second part with the major conflict is perhaps too short. Tone may also be an issue as the ending may come as a surprise in something with slapstick gags.

I always say it's best to start with a theme but for some reason I didn't even think of a theme until Potsy mentioned she had one so I had to look at what theme emerged subconsciously and then emphasise that in the writing. Either way works, the main thing is having a theme.

Although I kept it relatively cheap I decided to abandon doing something really cheap. But in the re-writes I may think of a way to have less locations and set-ups.

The things I've learnt is that it's all well and good writing down nice dialogue and gags in our notebooks but we have to be writing down images as well. Images that can possibly replace dialogue. I love dialogue intensive work,if it's good dialogue like the sadly just cancelled Gilmore Girls, but I have to force myself to think more visually.

I've read Rogue Slash and I really like it. In the old days I would have sent it to a producer the next day but I know that in one or two weeks I'm going to read it again and suddenly notice lots of things that need changing.

But the main thing I've learnt from the process is just do it! Cheers to Potsy for the idea.

If you're curious you can read the first draft for yourself:

Rogue Slash (pdf).


potdoll said...

three and a half hours!!! Well done matey!!!

Looks like it's doable well within five hours then... except for me, who's a slow coach... I need the full five hours.

I am tempted to read your first draft but I am off on holiday... will have a nose when i get back.

Jason Arnopp said...

Well done, sir! Makes me feel like less of a charlatan/freak for doing it in less than five.

Interesting you should mention theme: I never think about theme before writing. Actually, I think it's only happened once. I reckon theme should be a by-product of good writing, but hey, enough of my yakkin'. ;-)

I agree with you, though, that short scripts should maybe be less prepared, if that works for you. I really enjoy having a skeleton framework, which then gets filled in as you go. I didn't work out character names, for instance, before diving into mine...

Dan said...

Crikey, next it'll be the four-minute mile.

Well done on getting that on paper in under four hours and thanks for providing a link. Any plans for it?

Robin Kelly said...

Thanks, enjoy your break

Thanks, perhaps theme is instinctual with the best writers but I find theme focuses me and stops me wondering off in all directions and gives easy ideas for subplots.

Shorts are definitely a chance to try a new method of working to see what it's like. I'm kinda liking the skeleton framework thing and want to try it for something longer. I also didn't have character names before starting but I meant to. Turns out it didn't matter nearly as much as I thought it would as I knew the characters well enough.

Thanks, it was just something to add to the portfolio, and should friends (or strangers) be looking for something to film, and are really desparate :-)

Lianne said...

Well done Robin!

All the discussion on theme is interesting. I usually have a theme before I start something - in fact, I usually have a theme before I have story, which can be tricky! But often it changes as I write it or there's another, conflicting theme that works its way in there without me noticing. Hate it when that one happens!