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Scriptwriters

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Any scriptwriters out there who are working on a current project?

I'm working on two short dramas (one with rough draft complete, one just in the beginning stages) and one feature length romantic comedy (nearly complete rough draft, but "shelved" at the moment).

I always find discussion encourages my own creativity....

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I've got three projects on my mind, but I'm only active in writing one of them because it's got the most potential for actually being made - its a martial arts comedy based on restaurant owners who get fed up at two rival martial arts schools always destroying their restaurant during their endless feuding. The restaurant owners learn kung-fu themselves and teach them a lesson. Working title: Chinese Take Out.

Another project is a dark comedy about a guy whose hair stylist falls in love with him because of this great hair. He gets dumped when he looses a bet and has to shave his head.

The last project is one that I'm looking forward to starting. It's about three artist friends, one of whom has been nominated for a Christian music award. The other two friends are critical of the Christian entertainment industry but they accept his invitation to the awards ceremony. This is a movie about the tensions that have developed between the friends as they've grown. Friend A (the guy nominated for the award) is blissfully unaware of the subtle jealousy of his other friends. Friends B and C think that Friend A has sold out to an industry that stifles true creativity. Friend B is an artist with great talent but little discipline. Friend C tries to make up for a lack of talent with a strict work ethic. Friend B resents A for being nominated because he knows that A's work is mediocre at best outside the Christian sub-culture. Friend C resents B because he has the talent that he lacks.

I'm really excited about this last idea because I'll be able to use it as a vehicle to critique the Christian sub-culture and vent my frustrations at the way the Body of Christ doesn't know what to do with artists - aside from asking them to direct inane Christmas musicals or designing camp t-shirts.

Anyway, I've got lots more ideas but those are the ones on the burner right now.

God bless,

randall

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I've got three projects on my mind, but I'm only active in writing one of them because it's got the most potential for actually being made -

Hmm. Do you mean by studio funding? If I followed this guideline, I wouldn't write anything. I'm more into the indy side myself. I'm having trouble with my feature-length because it's "so Hollywood" and I find it terribly predictable. I wrote my short drama "Too Late" to vent about my relationship with my brother; it's missing a key scene, maybe two--a scene about why the brother is missing out on knowing his sister, and how. Why this lack of relationship matters.

its a martial arts comedy based on restaurant owners who get fed up at two rival martial arts schools always destroying their restaurant during their endless feuding. The restaurant owners learn kung-fu themselves and teach them a lesson. Working title: Chinese Take Out.

I like the title. Kind of a Jackie Chan thing (fun, slap-stick kung fu sequences, pseudo-humor)?

Another project is a dark comedy about a guy whose hair stylist falls in love with him because of this great hair. He gets dumped when he looses a bet and has to shave his head.

Is it a short, so the "dumping" is the point? Or is there something more?

I'm really excited about this last idea because I'll be able to use it as a vehicle to critique the Christian sub-culture and vent my frustrations at the way the Body of Christ doesn't know what to do with artists - aside from asking them to direct inane Christmas musicals or designing camp t-shirts.

Hah. It's been said you should create from what you know. That could be very good. I think the films I enjoy most are those which can laugh at themselves; I tend to take myself too seriously. I've been watching "Mormon films" since living in UT. Zion films does admirably portraying the LDS culture with humor; I think this makes their "religious subtext" more palatable to the viewer. Admirable.

I was confused between the three friends, but it'll be a lot easier to tell Friends A, B and C apart when they have names and discernable personalities. (They probably do to you.) :)

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Hmm.  Do you mean by studio funding?

I wish I was talking about studio funding! No, when I say Chinese Take Out is closest to being made, I just mean that I have a bunch of friends interested in taking on this project. It all started with a phone call from a friend who said some people started going to his church who knew kung-fu and "it'd be fun to put them in a movie." I'm nut a huge fan of comedy (mainly because it's so rarely well done) but this idea really got the juices flowing.

When this film gets made, it's going to be a true gheto/guerilla style, no-budget shoot.

Is it a short, so the "dumping" is the point?  Or is there something more?

I'm not sure what the point of this movie is yet. On some level it might be about how love based on superficial things never lasts, but I'm not sure.

Hey, I'm curious. How do you write your screenplays? Do you use software like Final Draft or do you do the formatting yourself? I created a tempate in AppleWorks (Apple's version of MS Office) based on formatting info I found on the web (margins and stuff). Works for me and it sure beats spending $300 on Final Draft.

God bless,

randall

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Glad to see this forum taking off. Tomato's projects sound interesting. I'm working on a couple of good things right now...

1 - feature script I wrote is being made out in L.A. in August. I adapted this from a play I wrote last year. It's about a father seeking revenge on a school shooter who killed his daughter.

2 - another feature script I wrote is the next project I want to direct. Raising money for it now (anyone want to donate or invest?). It's a feature length comedy about a man who thinks he is "a messiah."

3 - I'm trying to finish a dark comedy about death (actually, I should say that it's about Death -- the actual guy -- and his new protege.

Chris

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Hey, I'm curious. How do you write your screenplays? Do you use software like Final Draft or do you do the formatting yourself?

When I attended a scriptwriting class in LA, I bought a student version of ScriptThing. Straightforward and cheap. (I think it was $75 5 years ago.) I love not having to worry about the page numbers, formatting, and editing details. It's streamlined to write.

I created a tempate in AppleWorks .... Works for me and it sure beats spending $300 on Final Draft.

Great idea! Cost and expediency are why, for other projects, I use the free OpenOffice suite (including Spreadsheet, Word Processor, Calculator, Presentations etc) instead of its very expensive MS counterpart.

If anyone is interested, OpenOffice is online at www.openoffice.org .

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I'm working on a couple of good things right now...

1 - feature script I wrote is being made out in L.A. in August. I adapted this from a play I wrote last year. It's about a father seeking revenge on a school shooter who killed his daughter.

Hmm; many stories use revenge as the central character's motivation (eg, many westerns and film noirs, the new Count of Monte Cristo). What's the father's "pay-off" in the end? (Or, what's the result of his revenge? Does it destroy the shooter, or him? How does it affect his family? Does he change?)

In my mind, it would be great to see something unpredictable happen--something redemptive and not merely trite.

3 - I'm trying to finish a dark comedy about death (actually, I should say that it's about Death -- the actual guy -- and his new protege).

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In my mind, it would be great to see something unpredictable happen--something redemptive and not merely trite.

Well, I'm not sure if you meant to imply that my script was trite or predictable based solely on my one-line description of it. It certainly isn't either trite OR predictable...

I don't think a one line description can give you an accurate sense of the script... it's about how the father's rage and hidden regrets eventually destroy him (and the shooter). I think it's a pretty devastating portrait of the uselessness of revenge. And of course, it's about more than just that, but I can't tell every detail in this conntext.

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Well, I'm not sure if you meant to imply that my script was trite or predictable based solely on my one-line description of it. It certainly isn't either trite OR predictable...

I didn't mean to imply that at all. I meant that the treatment of revenge that seems typical of the (particularly Hollywood) movies I have seen is a trite and predictable one.

I don't think a one line description can give you an accurate sense of the script...

Fully agreed. Actually, that's why I asked. smile.gif

it's about how the father's rage and hidden regrets eventually destroy him (and the shooter). I think it's a pretty devastating portrait of the uselessness of revenge.

That sounds like something rarely seen--and, hopefully, all the more effective because of it.

I began work last night on an idea about a single woman who's raped by a member of her church. I'd like to focus on how this affects her, her family and her church--veering away from a male-seeks-revenge or "victim"-seeks-revenge scenario. We'll see.

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Thanks -- I didn't mean to assume you were being negative -- but I wondered. Thanks for clarifying.

That sounds like something rarely seen--and, hopefully, all the more effective because of it.

I hope so. It will be interesting to see it translated to the screen, since it's so violent and raw in many ways.

I began work last night on an idea about a single woman who's raped by a member of her church. I'd like to focus on how this affects her, her family and her church--veering away from a male-seeks-revenge or "victim"-seeks-revenge scenario. We'll see.

Wow -- that's going to be hard-hitting... but if done well, it can be a interesting portrait of our bad reactions to such a thing -- how a victim becomes a victim all over again by people who should be picking her up and helping her through it.

Chris

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I'm new to the board, thought I'd throw out a few questions for discussion while I procrastinate from working on my own writing.

Does anyone listen to music while they write? I usually start out listening to music but then if I get into my writing and the cd ends I'll just keep going until I get stuck. It gives me an excuse to get up and walk around and think about things while I pick out the next cd.

Who reads your stuff? I mean your rough draft, not at it's best stuff. I have one friend who I trust to shoot me straight and tell me when things are not working, when somethings not clear and when something just plain stinks. It's hard to find a good reader, most people are to afraid of hurting your feelings. Also, a lot of people are not familiar with the screenplay format and that limits their criticism.

Finally, what do you read? I don't know how many screenwriters I've come across who don't read anything but the occasional 'How to Write a Screenplay in 3 hours' type books. Right now I'm half way through Tom Franklin's 'Hell at the Breech' and I got James Carlos Blake's 'In the Rogue Blood' next in line. Some of my favorite authors are: Chris Offut, Daniel Woodrell, Hemingway, and Cormac McCarthy (who wrote my favorite book 'Blood Meridian').

Your thoughts?

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Chadb wrote:

: Does anyone listen to music while they write?

Abso-bloody-lutely. Before the CD-ROM drive on my computer burned out, I used to listen most frequently to the soundtracks to Gladiator, Requiem for a Dream, Stigmata, The Insider, Run Lola Run, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Virgin Suicides, Magnolia, The World Is Not Enough, The Fellowship of the Ring, Amelie and, uh, Saturday Night Fever; just to mention the ones that are stacked most prominently on my desk at the moment. I also remember listening to John Barry's Moviola CD, a Scott Joplin compilation plus the soundtracks to Kundun, Anima Mundi and Get Shorty quite a bit back in the days when, for a change of pace, I did all my work in the living room on a laptop. Fortunately, I had made mp3s of the soundtracks to Adaptation and The Hours before my computer's CD-ROM drive fried, so I still listen to those off of my hard drive on a regular basis. But right now I'm listening to my James Bond mix off of my web site, and the tune playing right now is the Propellerheads' groovy re-mix of 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'.

: Who reads your stuff? I mean your rough draft, not at it's best stuff.

Just me and my editor, usually. And I try to bring my editor into the mix as late as possible. Oh, wait, you were talking about screenplays, not pithy little newspaper and/or magazine articles. I guess, if I were writing the bigger stuff, I would have to show my works-in-progress to someone, but I don't know who.

: Finally, what do you read?

A mix of stuff. I tend to find non-fiction more interesting than fiction, personally.

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Does anyone listen to music while they write?

I do too. Usually something familiar so I don't get distracted into the music, consciously listening to the words or the rhythms. Sting, Gipsy Kings, Spanish guitar music, Billy Joel. I wish I could find the soundtracks for Strictly Ballroom and Lagaan.

It's a good idea. Creativity inspires creativity.

Who reads your stuff? I mean your rough draft, not at it's best stuff.

I have friends who are usually great readers of my articles--correcting for clarity and accuracy. I agree that straightforward editors are hard to find among friends, who don't want to hurt you.

Also, a lot of people are not familiar with the screenplay format and that limits their criticism.

This is, for me, the biggest issue. Since pacing, plot movement, "cause and effect", and the visual are such integral parts of the screenplay, the effective reader must be familiar with them. Especially to offer a beginning screenwriter effective feedback. My friends are great with articles, reviews and print material. But, screenplays are vastly different.

Finally, what do you read? I don't know how many screenwriters I've come across who don't read anything but the occasional 'How to Write a Screenplay in 3 hours' type books.

You seem to imply that this is not the best reading diet. I would agree. While the best screenplay-writing books offer good tips, they are insufficient--or, perhaps, better said they are the "bones" of the writing. The foundation. But, the "muscle and meat" of the writing is personal experience and intuition and inventiveness.

This is fueled for me by reading diverse topics. (Though I need to act on this more by reading instead of using all my spare time to watch DVDs!) Woolrich (noir), Andrusia & Haskins (career), Kadlacek (Christian living) are authors of books I've looked at most recently. I want to visit Godawa (film spirituality), Couchman (Christian Living), L'Engle (art), and Shaw (poetry), too.

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Does anyone listen to music while they write?

Abso-bloody-lutely. Before the CD-ROM drive on my computer burned out, I used to listen most frequently to the soundtracks to ... uh, Saturday Night Fever

Peter, you are indeed a brave and unique soul. laugh.gif

Fortunately, I had made mp3s of the soundtracks to Adaptation and The Hours before my computer's CD-ROM drive fried, so I still listen to those off of my hard drive on a regular basis.

I have yet to see these films. Are they out at Blockbuster?

"I know. I seldom go to the theatre."

"Seldom?"

"I'm not a theatre buff."

"Buff?"

"The most difficult tickets to get will be for a Broadway musical...."

Name that film! :wink:

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: Does anyone listen to music while they write?

Nope. Too distracting. I will sometimes listen to it while I'm editing my short films, however.

: Who reads your stuff?

I do: Over and over and over. For worse or for worse, all three of my produced screenplays have not a word changed through comments by others; I've shown the latter two to people, but no one has had any criticism concrete enough to implement. (Actual example from "Ernest Goes to the Window": "This story scares me.")

Film reviews are very different, however; my wife severely critiques those for the better. And I don't have a problem taking advice from others on my screenplays; I just don't know who those others would be.

: Finally, what do you read?

I have never read a screenplay book. I'm not convinced that's a mistake.

Dale

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tara filma wrote:

: : Fortunately, I had made mp3s of the soundtracks to Adaptation and

: : The Hours before my computer's CD-ROM drive fried, so I still listen to

: : those off of my hard drive on a regular basis.

:

: I have yet to see these films. Are they out at Blockbuster?

I believe so, yeah.

: "I know. I seldom go to the theatre."

: "Seldom?"

: "I'm not a theatre buff."

: "Buff?"

: "The most difficult tickets to get will be for a Broadway musical...."

: Name that film! :wink:

For some reason, I can't.

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How do you treat sex, violence and swearing in your work. I was reading another thread about the Soprano's and an actress who dropped out of playing Tony Soprano's daughter because she was a christian and the show's violence, sex and bad language would go against her beliefs. So unless your writing about Monk's living in a monastery or kids stuff, how do you deal with it?

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"I know. I seldom go to the theatre."

"Seldom?"

"I'm not a theatre buff."

"Buff? ... The most difficult tickets to get will be for a Broadway musical...."

Name that film! :wink:

For some reason, I can't.

Oops, I miswrote the quote! It's corrected above.

Sabrina (1995) -- Linus amazes his secretary by planning a date.

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How do you treat sex, violence and swearing in your work.

I haven't dealt with those subjects thus far because it hasn't come up. (It's beside the point that there's far-and-away enough of these three subjects that's unnecessary and forced into all contexts). My close friends and family don't usually speak like that. And these situations are what I have been writing about.

I was reading another thread about the Soprano's and an actress who dropped out of playing Tony Soprano's daughter because she was a christian and the show's violence, sex and bad language would go against her beliefs.

I respect her for standing with her conscience.

So unless your writing about Monk's living in a monastery or kids stuff, how do you deal with it?

Not to be difficult--for I think I get your point--but, even with these subjects there's room for mystery and humanity, in short, drama (eg, jealousy, pride, competition in piety, greed, favoritism, forgiveness, etc). In a similar context, a lot can be said about the church today.

For me, the central thing is to be honest and vulnerable in my writing and creating characters. I still have difficulty letting my characters speak for themselves and be multi-faceted. I can see clearly what's good in a "protagonist" and bad in an "antagonist"; but, it's what's good in the "baddie" that makes him human, and vice versa for the "goodie". It's not black and white in the 'real' world--why must it be in film ... especially films made by Christians.

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Not to be difficult--for I think I get your point--but, even with these subjects there's room for mystery and humanity, in short, drama (eg, jealousy, pride, competition in piety, greed, favoritism, forgiveness, etc). In a similar context, a lot can be said about the church today.

I wasn't trying to imply that you can only get drama from sex, violence and cursing. There are hundreds and hundreds of films that do just fine without them. I was just wondering if it ever came up in your writing and your feelings on it. It's something I struggle with.

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How do you treat sex, violence and swearing in your work.

For a long time, I wondered how to write meaningful (truthful) stories without running the risk of offending Christians. A few years ago, I finally came to the conclusion that I really don't care what Christians think. I care about reaching those who do not know (or misunderstand) Christ and I care about pleasing my heavenly Father with my work. If some Christians complain about how I reconcile the way I carry out the former to accomplish the latter, then that is between them and God.

In other words, I have the freedom to write whatever I want. That may sound irresponsible but I know that I will have to give an account for every word (pure, vulgar or otherwise) that I write. It's that healthy fear of the Living God that gives me the freedom to write in a way that is natural and real without straying into the gratuitous.

(Warning, wondering out loud...)

On the other hand, I suppose those who cater to the narrow Christian aesthetic at the expense of writing successfully for a savvy and cynical audience will have to give their own account for what they did with their gifts.

I'm not saying that one HAS to include swearing, violence, and/or sex to write good stories. I'm just suggesting that God gives creative Christians far more freedom than other Christians do and that's a shame.

I wonder how many brilliant storytellers are stuck writing sappy Christmas musicals and heavy-handed Easter dramas because that's the only outlet the church provides for them. Frankly, that thought pisses me off because we're not here to entertain ourselves but to grow the Kingdom of God.

Well, I'll stop now before I use some words that I might regret. (In my screenplays, I fear God; on this board I fear the administrators :ignore: )

Hey, I just noticed they added a ton of new emoticons.

:bluegrab:

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LoneTomato,

You've pretty much echoed my own thinking on the subject, as far as how I write and make films. I've stuggled with it for a long time -- and the reality is that I will continue to struggle with it because Christians will continue to be frustrating to me in this area, and because I have a family and it's harder to deal with this stuff when you have kids...

But I wouldn't be doing what I'm supposed to be doing if I wrote only nice and pleasant material.

Chris

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Any scriptwriters out there who are working on a current project?

Here is my current project(s). I'm thinking of merging the 2.

First one: Dude comes to faith in Christ after his own philosophy, god turning his tragedies into dreams, leads him there. then, real tragedy happens and his nonchristian girlfriend is killed in a car crash while he is driving. he prays, as he has before, for god to turn it into a dream, as god has before, but it never happens. a close friend gently tells him that without jesus, his girlfriend is in hell. he then leads a life trying to deny christ and his christianity, not because of his hate for god, he still loves god, but because of his love for his girlfriend.

Second One:

Dude believes his tragic dreams were actually realities that god, because of his mercy, turned into dreams. one day one of his tragedy doesnt become a dream. girlfriend dies. he starts dreaming about her. he then starts sleeping for 16 hours a day, to be with her, but he loses everything else in his real life. turns out in the end things get switched around again and the 16 hours that he thought he was sleeping during the day was actually him awake.

this is a twist but its not meant to fool or surprise people. there will be simple narration in the beginning of the story spelling out the supposed 'twist'. the twist will somehow be revealed before the story actually starts. the emphasis is on the story and characters, not the twist. twist is just part of the story.

i'm going to have richard hatem direct it and barry pepper star smile.gif

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Spoon wrote:

i'm going to have richard hatem direct it and barry pepper star

Gee, I do wish it was that easy. I believe that I shall choose Ron Howard to direct my next movie idea... But I shall be the star!

:wink:

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Any scriptwriters out there who are working on a current project?

I'm working on two short dramas (one with rough draft complete, one just in the beginning stages) and one feature length romantic comedy (nearly complete rough draft, but "shelved" at the moment).

I always find discussion encourages my own creativity....

Hello Tara,

Yes, I am also working on two screenplays at the moment. I completed the first draft on one of them. On the other I am finished with the first act.

I have a question: I'd like to hear/see comments about introducing new characters during the second act. They are secondary characters with storylines...

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