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Using Words To Discuss Other Words

Archive for the month “August, 2016”

Writing for Gold (and other Olympic clichés)

As a screenwriter, you are an athlete.

Sure, the only things in motion are your fingers and your mind, and perspiration only gathers at your temples, but similarities can found between the disciplines.

Strength / Stamina
Pushing on and getting it done. Not just to crack that daily word count, but to see an idea through execution, to break it down and rebuild it over multiple drafts, and then to market your script/self with enough grit and determination to accept and learn from constructive criticism and rejection.

Speed
Though the writing process cannot be rushed, deadlines must be met. Seasonal features need to be marketed at the right time. Competition/festival dates will not be delayed for you, and for those in production or working on short films, an entire crew may be waiting for the next rewrite. Targets should be in page numbers, not words.

 

David Annand’s Writers in the Park
(Cr: Thomas Nugent)

 

Technique
Quickfire scripts sent to a hundred readers might look good for the stats, but getting it right on the one occasion that matters is a truly Olympic trait. Even after a story has been put through its paces in the edit room, it is always worth stepping away for a period of time in order to be able to revisit your latest version with a clear head.

R&R
Just like all muscles, the brain gets tired and requires regular rest, as well as a variation on the usual stimuli. Crunching page numbers when not all the synapses are firing will not only lengthen your recovery time, but also put your script into a position that requires further attention at a later date.

Give yourself a break once in a while.

After all, you’re a screenwriter, not an athlete…

Happy writing!

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It’s a Marathon, Not a ‘Word-Sprint’

Make every word count.”

It’s a phrase that all screenwriters will be familiar with, spending hours toiling over how to now cut away at the chunky first draft. But while our extraneous words may just flatten a story and bore prospective readers, those in the field of live commentary stand on thinner ice.

The Olympic Games in Rio are well underway, with millions of eyes and ears on the sports in Brazil. And even though our event narrators do not have the benefit of reading from a script (with the exception of some handy statistical reports), the ability to vocally explain unpredictable live action for hours on end comes with the perilous risk of “words for words’ sake”. For example:

The springboard, which is exactly that – a board with springs.” – Gymnastics
There are two types in use at the Olympics, but that’s for another day. And another site.

Let’s look at the scoreboard, which could provide the all-important score tonight.” – Basketball
With so many people watching, maybe there’s no need. Somebody’s counting.

Uzbekistan – a country that could not be any more landlocked.” – Judo
This refers to the fact that it is the only country to be landlocked by other landlocked countries. But does this effect their duelling abilities?

Here’s USA and Chris Brooks, who is about an inch short of the national average.” – Gymnastics
The judges will be making deductions on that basis.

And here comes the Belarusian team. All of them. Apart from two.” – Rowing, Fours
You could also say there was nobody there, apart from two.

writerr

Leonid Pasternak’s Throes of Creation

It’s easy to mock from 5,000 miles away. Writers, you know better.

Say something or nothing. Not anything.

Happy writing.

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