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Some old-fashioned book-learnin' will do you some good.


 
 
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Old August 27th, 2004, 05:10 PM   #16
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Ok, I ordered "tricks of the trade" just now. . .got good reviews, and talks about breaking from formula. I know it won't change might life, but maybe it'll open up some new neural pathways (again, huge dork).

Thanks. I'll work on sitting on that noun and banging it out.
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 01:52 AM   #17
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Writing the Character-Centered Screenplay
by Andrew Horton

take a look at this one... nice and interesting book. different approach than Syd Field's and Vogler's...

translated to my language this year, and I found it a very good reading...recommended

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0520221656/
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 03:30 PM   #18
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Here is a site with some examples of pro scripts, sorry if this is a repost. http://home.online.no/~bhundlan/scripts/
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 03:38 PM   #19
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Heh.. heavily weighted towards genre, I would say ! :)
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Old December 8th, 2004, 12:09 AM   #20
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Hi Josh,

I've read Story, Making a Good Script Great, and a few other 'highly recommended' screenwriting books, and here's what I can say.

You will disagree with a LOT of what the writers say are 'necessary' or 'rules' (at least I did), BUT I think it is absolutely essential that you read all these books at least once (you don't have to buy them, try to find them in a library or borrow), because once you read a lot of opinions and viewpoints on the topic, you'll start coming up with your own system and standards on what's a 'good' story, a 'good' script, so on and so on. And that's the most important thing. But just being aware of what's out there, always helps.

One thing though, some of them are really theoretical and talk for ages on things that *could* be summarised in a few sentences. However, they reiterate and drone on so that the message gets to you, and although some of it might be boring, just get through it and you'll be able to pick things that are useful from every one.

Dennis
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Old December 8th, 2004, 07:47 AM   #21
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I agree with Dennis. You'll disagree a lot with a lot of what these books say. Personally, I don't care for half of the guru books. Take what you like from them and throw the other half away.

What I mean by that is that certain things have to happen by a certain page.

Just like in Foug's books(a guy who actually produced and wrote for many years before turning to teaching).

He states in I think Ticks of the Trade that a young student who he was very impressed with. Came up to him one day and said he was quiting his class and giving up writing.

Fough asked why. Well, the student said that he had just read one of these guru books. The guru said something should be stated on such and such page. On the student's script it ended a page before.

So the student rewrote it and when he was finished. The thing that was suppose to happen came not on the page it was suppose to but on the page after that.

So Foug asked to read the pages. He said they were the funniest and best pages that this student had ever written.

That's when Foug decide not to use some of these guru books in his own classes. Yes there is sort of a formula. But in the end if the reader or viewer is enjoying himself. He won't care if it ends a half page to soon or a half page to late.

Now I can't remember the name of this student. But he has gone to write several major summer releases.

The best advice I got was from Academy Award Winning writer/director David Ward.

He said "F**k the studio, f**k the producer, f**the director, f**k your friends and write for yourself. Write what you want to write. Then after you sell it then and only then write what someone else wants."

That freed up my writing so much because I wasn't writing for myself. I was writing for what I thought someone wanted. I was listening to too many outside forces.
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Old December 8th, 2004, 08:13 AM   #22
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I have this favorite website I will share with you:

http://www.bookcloseouts.com/default.asp?N=0&rid=bcbcbc

It is hard to shop because of the nature of what they sell (2 of this 6 of that, 100 of something else- when its gone its gone) , but just go thru all the different "entertainment" sections (biography, file, other) You have to dig thru each title in alpha sequence, but you will find some great nuggets there. I did this last night and it took me about 30 minutes. But I bought a whole box of books for about $50. I saw at least a dozen screenwriting books, bios on many great directors, etc. Some were as cheap as $1.99.

I dont tell too many people about it, because I have had books that I ordered/wanted that got shipped out from under me (not often though).
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Old December 8th, 2004, 08:53 AM   #23
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Josh asked: Has anyone read that "Making a Good Script Great?"

I am reading it right now, and I like it very much. I had seen it on the "must-read" list of a lot of people and authors I respect. I think it is actually the perfect book for where you describe that you are in your process...

Give it a shot, and good luck.
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Old December 8th, 2004, 12:22 PM   #24
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Thanks, guys. I read Screenwriting Tricks of the Trade, made notes on it, put those notes onto a typed page, and never looked at 'em again. It just doesn't help that much, for me, I guess. "What does this character want in each scene?" I don't know! Who cares? When it happens for me, it happens, and when it doesn't, it doesn't. There's no easy solution to getting stuck, which is what I was looking for.
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Old December 8th, 2004, 12:44 PM   #25
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//It just doesn't help that much, for me, I guess. "What does this character want in each scene?" I don't know! Who cares?//

Yeesh, Josh. Don't say that!
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Old December 8th, 2004, 12:49 PM   #26
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Sorry. . .I does what I does. When it works, it works. Sorry if it sounds bad. The response to my several short films has generally been positive, so I guess I'm doing something right. I just don't think about that stuff, in those terms.
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Old December 8th, 2004, 02:08 PM   #27
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Josh,

From reading between the lines of your post, you seem to have an inate, "organic" grasp of story and structure. At least good enough to hold up over a short film.

You've also expressed the difficulties you have had in getting stuck in the middle of a long form script, looking for books and advice to getting unstuck.

And finally, you've expressed your dismay at the choices of books offered, and their inability to help you get unstuck... with a comment about "Not thinking about that stuff in those terms".

Maybe you should stick with shorts? This seems to be what you are happiest with, and most comfortable doing? Less leg work, less Butt Time Units, less research and development. Certainly less expensive in terms of time money and resources to produce.

Nothing wrong with being a short filmmaker. (I have no idea how tall you are.) Plenty of good writers only write short stories.
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Old December 8th, 2004, 02:15 PM   #28
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Yes, that would be nice, but so far as I've seen, there's no money or prestige or advancement in shorts. One day, gentlemen, one day. . .there will be a feature. . .maybe.

All I'm saying is, if I followed the advice/principles outlined in the book I read, I'd actually get more confused-- I get hung up on all that stuff ("What is this character's goal" etc.) I know it sound weird, but weird be I.
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Old December 8th, 2004, 02:43 PM   #29
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My advice is to get "The Screenwriter's Bible" by David Trottier to learn proper formatting, then just sit down and write it.

After that, if it's any good, send it in to Fields or McKee for analysis and then rework it from there.

I think a common affliction--me included--is worrying over all the details too much in advance, and then you simply never start or never finish. The main thing is just DO IT. Write it and let it flow. Then, you'll have plenty of time to do the clean up.
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Old December 8th, 2004, 02:48 PM   #30
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"Money, prestige, advancement... a jedhi craves not these things."

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Josh, just about everyone here has recommended a number of good books. Each with a good solid approach for ironing out difficulties. The bottom line is you have to write a complete script. THEN RE-WRITE it, over and over again. Then, if you hope to sell it to someone, THEY will have you re-write it or pay someone else to.

If you are stuck in a scene, then write something down like "Here's where the hero finds out the girl he's in love with is really his long lost sister" and then start writing the next scene in your head. Put down place holders and outlines and sluglines for the scenes that are a bit hazy, and keep going. Put the outlines down on index cards and shuffle them around on your desk... all of these methods work. When you get to "FADE OUT" go back and start re-writing. THIS is where the books come in, to help you 'fix' the scenes that aren't quite right, to give you a starting point for looking at WHY the scene is not working.

"Don't get it right, get it written"

Still the best advice I ever got.
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