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Using Words To Discuss Other Words

Archive for the month “November, 2011”

Developing Your Literary Wings

The quote below seemed to resonate throughout the great halls of Twitter, and so I felt obliged to expand upon the theme of perseverance a little further.

 

We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down‘ – Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

 

The About Me section of this blog states that I like people who try, as I believe that encouragement and positivity trumps luck or even talent. Such attributes, however, can be difficult to maintain for the modern screenwriter, given the invariable obstacles that stand between them and the silver screen.

Cinema is an industry of contacts, and thanks to the rapid increase in social networking, it is getting easier to locate an online community in your chosen field. Forums and chat rooms are breeding grounds for those in the know, but sadly not everyone is looking to work together. Writers in all areas do well to put up with months of waiting and constant rejection, and when so much time and effort is put into their work, it can be difficult not to take it personally.

There is also a personal element to it, however. There are people who will share with you all of their hard-earned knowledge for free (kudos to script developer Dan Hayes), and there are others who feel the need to leak you information for a premium, but there is also a minority who are simply hoping to bring you down.

 

This somewhat bitter blog post comes as a reaction to a chat room debate in which I found myself involved. A television screenwriter and a novelist were arguing over who had the hardest job, and I could not help but point out that both parties could be dedicating this time toward actually writing something. With a few other opinions thrown in from producers and publishers, the tirade of abuse began, with each side ridiculing the professional choices of their supposed rivals. In the grand scheme of things, the nature of their work is extremely similar, but try explaining that to agitated, articulate individuals over cyberspace and you’re in for the long haul.

It wasn’t so much the debate itself that irked me, as conflict can be healthy. It was truly the lengths that some go to in order to debase another person’s career. Naturally, the conversation sank to “Which is a higher form of art?” at which time I took my leave.

Logging off, there was just enough time for a ‘media journalist’ to tell me to “Try getting a real job!”.

My response?  “Try writing a screenplay”.

Keep positive.

Work hard.

Happy writing!

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Live At The Scene

Making your script visually engaging is very important, so here’s one tactic to try when setting a scene.

Put yourself in the situation. Literally.

Let’s say that your characters are meeting in a café. You know what a café looks like, you’re in one several times a week. That might do, but why not go one step further?

If your current environment is sapping your creative flow, take yourself to a scene that you use in your screenplay. Once there, you’ll begin to pick up on the little things, nuances that can really make your fictional locations sound more authentic. Take in the aroma, study the clientele, wobble the table. It won’t all be stuff you’ll use, but it will add detail.

Of course, don’t go driving around just to find the cathedral that your protagonist’s dog runs past, but when you need to get out the house and clear your head, then try delving in to your film world. You don’t necessarily have to write while you are there, but at least take notes. You never know, overhearing a certain conversation or perhaps witnessing a kitchen mishap may help you to replicate that believable café environment.

And it doesn’t just apply to places. I’ve started editing night scenes in the early evening, as working after the sun has set just feels different, and with it comes a different approach to writing.

It can be hard enough just finding the time to write, but at least this way you can build parts of your script around your daily routine.

Just be careful if your character is a drunk.

And stay away from volcanoes.

Cafe Writer - Norman Long

Happy writing!

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