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    The Screenwriting Process: Where to begin, and how to proceed.
    #1
    Senior Member Isaac_Brody's Avatar
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    I thought itd be useful and enlightening to talk about the writing process. Feel free to add your own process to this list. Heres mine.

    1. I'll usually get an idea and write it down first as a short summary. Sometimes I'll break it down into three acts, I'll talk it out with a friend, ask myself what's interesting about the idea. Usually I'll try and see if the idea has legs before I progress.

    2. Then I'll write out the script as a rough short story. Sometimes I'll even put in lines of dialogue.

    3. Sometimes I'll start writing, and try to bang out ten pages or until I run out of steam. I find it necessary to go right in to get excited about the project. I also find that immediately starting gets me to that wall, that point when I need to go back and figure out all the background information.

    4. I'll usually do character bios at this point, going moderately deep with the main characters. I don't like to spend too much time on bios since I find they tend to sap my excitement for a project.

    5. Then I'll do a rough outline of the first draft. If I have the energy I tend to figure out the ending at this point, the point I'm trying to make, etc.

    6. Writing. At this point the writing tends to go in spurts. Some days are good with about 5-7 pages, other days are 1-3 page days.

    7. About a month into the writing I start to get lost in the forest and I'll have to read everything up to that point. Rereading the beginning tends to reignite the fire and helps focus things more.

    8. The "This script is a piece of poo poo stage" I'm tempted to rewrite things but I force myself to keep going until it's finished.

    9. Rough draft finished. I give myself a few days. Sense of elation.

    10. Restless Stage. Time to clean up that rough draft. Fix spelling mistakes, grammar, do some rough trims and general cleaning.

    11. Copyright the work.

    12. Send it out to get feedback from close friends and readers.

    13. 2nd, 3rd, wash, rinse, repeat, a serviceable draft. The work is never perfect, but it's good enough at this stage.
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    Senior Member EJ Pennypacker's Avatar
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    For me, logline, research, outline & bios, 1st draft, 2nd, 3rd, etc...

    EJ


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    Seor Schmarty Pants Alex DePew's Avatar
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    That seems like a pretty good process. Much like many people I follow much of the same progression. Though poo poo part comes earlier for me and I ususally have to fight through that to get to the rough outline.
    Last edited by Alex DePew; 06-27-2006 at 01:33 PM.


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    Senior Member CineMischief's Avatar
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    From my springboard (character, what if, line of dialogue, etc.) I figure out the ending and work backwards. I am a firm believer that the ending is 75% of the story. The audience is far more forgiving if your movie ends well after starting slow, rather than awesome 80 minutes and a crap ending.
    Write story out in prose (sorta treatment, but more artsy) as fast as I can. Gets the tone and story beats out. You can find real gems this way b/c you're writing subconsciously, paying less attention to 'rules and logic'...just letting everything tell you what to write (more organic).
    Put it away for a bit to get distance, objectivity, sharpen sword to kill yer babies.
    Go over it in passes: story, structure, story holes, etc.
    Have a rough outline of scenes, lines of dialogue, sequences, etc. on notecards put in order of where they "belong" in your story. I like notecards b/c they give you a map when you get lost, but can be reshuffled if you want to zig where you had planned to zag in the orginal. Always good to let yourself the freedom to explore in the actual writing of the story if it feels right.
    Finally, purchase hours of music and a pair of good studio monitor headphones. I recommend Sennheiser HD 25-1 (Europe model) or some other type that shuts off all outside noise. I know others need to work differently, but I can't write anything without music of some sort going.


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    Mr. Hollywood Blaine's Avatar
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    I get the story idea and write out the premise so I can come back to it when I have time. I figure out the opening and ending then give myself a few key points. I then start making bullet points (which will later become scenes) to move along the path to my key points and ultimately the ending. 80-150 bullets later, I write the screenplay. I basically have all the scenes and then I get the characters talking to each other.

    This may sound simplistic but after a lot of writing I have found that this is a method that works for me. It allows me to write very quickly, once I have it laid out. I've tried outlining...doesn't really work (although you could probably say that what I'm doing IS outlining) for me. Hate the 3 x 5 cards. I've done the treatment thing and only use it now when someone demands one of me. It's all a matter of finding what works for you...this works for me.


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    Senior Member joe 1008's Avatar
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    For me cards dont work neither. Having made up the basic idea I going from scene to scene in Microsoft Words. Each scene represented just by few words. At that point everything is very flexible, still, 99% is happening in my imagination and is not fixed on paper, yet. So I can swap scenes, change them, skip them very easily. When Im in the right mood its like the story is finding its path by itself. When everything is fixed, the scenes, the plotpoints, the main events and characters, Ill go in the details until I have got a complete and well working treatment. I only start to write dialogues when Im sure the story is well, but VERY WELL fixed.


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    #7
    Producer Mod Brandon Rice's Avatar
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    The way I usually like to write is to get a full story outline down. Characters/Backgrounds/Motivations/Events and then flesh those out, filling in gaps along the way.
    Please subscribe to my YOUTUBE CHANNEL to see all of my projects.

    New short film THE APPOINTMENT now available to see!


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    Senior Member capitalP's Avatar
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    What I do is develope my characters first, actually I write down the subject, you know the tagline of what the story is about in one sentence, then I do my character bios, I find when I do the bios it let's my story stretch.. after I do the bios, I go into the treament, then begin writing the actually screenplay, ACt 1 2 ect.. then clean up the first draft, second draft and the final product... it's a long process but worth it..

    And Isaac great idea about the copyright first than have friends read it, I usually have friends read it for feedback incase I need to fix any small things, but I think the copyright is the way to go first...


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    #9
    Senior Member omar_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by capitalP
    but I think the copyright is the way to go first...
    How are you guys copyrighting your scripts? poorman's copyright?


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    #10
    Senior Member EJ Pennypacker's Avatar
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    LoC & WGA(e).

    Do only them. Either or both are fine (although LoC is MUCH better, but slower)

    Do not do the 'poormans' thing.

    EJ


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