Saturday, December 29, 2012

My first screenplay...

I survived the holidays, mostly by being a hermit and reading my new favorite book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Now moving onto Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut. I also ate a delicious cake shaped like a log, so festive...

Earlier this month I completed an introduction screenwriting class where I wrote a 24 page screenplay for a short film. It was this class that I hoped would help me work on the big problem I was having  of not being able to tell a story (see my previous post), and I was totally right. In fact, writing the thing and dedicating all of my energy to learning as much as I could about the process itself has changed me for the better.

I started out thinking that I would just try screenwriting to gain a little story telling experience, but what I learned is that this isn't just a craft that I want to dip my toes into. While in the midst of writing it, something unexpected happened that I've never encountered before. I simply lost myself in a world of my own. The characters I had created had grown into something more than the pages of their bio. I could suddenly hear their voices and thoughts in reaction to an obstacle that I had given them. I could imagine a place that I had never been before and yet give it plenty of life and a purpose. My imagination and the ever elusive writing muscle that I had been so desperate to exercise had both gotten a rigorous work out.

I've always struggled to find a medium that I feel comfortable expressing myself in, but something clicked after writing these meager 24 pages. Now nobody is saying they're very good pages, but they're mine and something I feel proud of. When I finished it, and boy did it feel good, I knew that I should probably pay attention. Here was an opportunity to start something new in life. I knew from making short films in school that I think visually, but it never really occurred to me to direct that effort into writing visually. It was definitely something I had to be taught how to do. In a sense, I had learned more in this class than I had in the majority of my other film courses.

I want to keep going with it and see where it will take me. This winter I'll be starting my first feature and I see it as a wonderful opportunity. I'm in the mode now where I'm starting out and simply creating a stack of work. Screenwriters generally don't even sell a feature script until they already have 15-20 sitting on a shelf already, and I think at this point in time that is exactly what I intend to do. They might never see the light of day, but it's practice and something that I want to work towards. I want to make something that I can be proud of, and if I can make even a cent for it, well I'll consider that a win.

Rather than have you vaguely attempt to relate to what the hell I'm referencing, I'll simply attach my screenplay to read. Keep in mind that I've never done this before, but that's kind of why it's fun. I don't want to be shy about it, the more feedback I can get as I move forward the better.

Welcome to Earth

On to the next one!

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