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Saikin
07-04-2005, 08:40 AM
I bet this has already been posted or asked in another thread, but I was hoping that someone would be kind enough to tell me what kind of script I should write for my first one. I tried a game script but I continued to get stuck. So I was wondering, should I start on a CG film script, continue with the game script, or try something else? It's not that I don't get ideas for how to write them, everything seems redundant or it's already been tried.

Thanks

groutcho
07-04-2005, 08:56 AM
People telling stories exist since the birth of mankind, so the stories are redundant. They all tell the same stories, whatever the characters, the action, the epoch. Art is just a wheel that repeats on itself, but at each turn, it grabs some new elements, such as new design for props, new filming techniques, new ways of structuring stories. what's the difference between superman, neo, heracles ? They are just superhero stories. But the details change, the fashion of telling the story, the choices of graphic style. Creating a totally original piece of art is purely impossible. I am writing a story, and it is about a superhero (already done before me), who is fighting against a very powerful foe (already done before me), with the help of friends(my god, already done before me !). Every story is just a revisited greek tragedy or comedy. It's just taking a legacy, adding something of your own, and show it to other artists who will take your legacy, adding something of their own, and show it to you, who will take their legacy...

Well all this just to say : write what you want, just add some ideas, and it will be great ! :wise:

(and i will probably take your legacy)

Saikin
07-04-2005, 10:48 AM
thanks for the reply. I know it's hard to come up with something original, but that's what we all strive for. I guess I'll just have to write it and hope that it's original enough that someone will want to read it.

Thanks again for the words.

groutcho
07-04-2005, 10:51 AM
I noticed that something that you don't feel original may be seem original for the others. That's because you saw it so many times that you know it perfectly, and it lost some of its originality. It's why this forum exist : ask others if they feel it nice. or not.

- Groutcho

Saikin
07-04-2005, 11:07 AM
Yeah, you're right. I'm working on something that should be original as a game and a CG film. Is there a way I can contact you and tell you more info on it?

groutcho
07-04-2005, 11:10 AM
Yes there is : groutchoman@hotmail.com (mail & messenger)

webhead
07-11-2005, 04:27 AM
I hope none of this is too basic advise, but here goes:
It's been said, "To write about what scares you:
What frightening issues facing mankind today could be made into an intersting story?
Drug abuse, nuclear disaster, cloning, overpopulation, pollution, prejudice, or anything that really concerns you or keeps you up at night. Read the newspapers or watch the news for ideas.
It's also been said, "To write about what you know."
The more you know about a subject, the more you can develop a story around it. Do research on a subject you are interested in.
Sometimes a story starts with a great concept and builds from there. Sometimes it starts with a great character. If you have a great character you can develop a situation that can create conflict for him.
I know it's all been done before, but take an old idea and find a new slant to it.
Don't know if that helps at all. I hope so.

Saikin
07-11-2005, 05:19 AM
No, no, not at all. I'm looking for any help I can get. About writing about what frightens me, alot of political issues frighten me. The no media coverage of the congo wars in Africa. SO many things. I can write another story about these things.

webhead
07-11-2005, 09:56 PM
Glad if that helped. I should ask: Is this a full length 120 page script or a short story?
Is this a film you want to produce yourself or submit for professional consideration?
Also, have you had any schooling in screenwriting or are you just getting into it?
This would help people reading this thread sharpen the focus on what advice would be most helpful to you. :)

Saikin
07-12-2005, 01:02 AM
At the moment, I'm thinking it's going to be a full, 120 page script. I'm new in the field, just trying some things that are new to me. I want to submit it for consideration if anyone will be able to view it, but I also want to produce it myself with some "free" help(I know it's very unlikely). The only problem I'm having is whether or not I should put mostly dialogue and take out much of the detail, or leave it..lost

webhead
07-12-2005, 02:22 AM
Okay. Do you know how to write in proper script form?
Do you understand screenplay structure?
Do you know about plotpoints, subplots, setup, confrontation, character bios, a treatment
and such things as these?
If not, I can give you some basics in screenwriting to help you along.

Jean Genie
07-12-2005, 02:29 AM
There is no such thing as a correct fisrt script. I usually let the story tell me what format it wants. If all the images that come to me are cinematographic (close-up, slow travellings, etc) then I will go for a film script. If you have a great idea for a complex situation where many interesting directions could be explored, then I guess it's a good start for a game script.

As for getting stuck, that usually happens when you haven't had enough outside stimuli. You can visualize screenwriting as burning fuel; that fuel being everything you've encountered. If you run out, just drop it for a while. Go out, observe, read, etc. It will eventually start working in your head again. Chances are it's gonna be a lot better to.

The desired dialogue/detail ratio depends on the scene, the script type and whether you or someone else is going to be directing. If you direct it yourself ( I wouldn't aim for a feature in that case) you can put as much detail as you want. If someone else does, the main thing is to get the pace right, so that you keep their attention going.

I hope that helped..
Good luck.

webhead
07-12-2005, 02:38 AM
There is no such thing as a correct fisrt script. I usually let the story tell me what format it wants. If all the images that come to me are cinematographic (close-up, slow travellings, etc) then I will go for a film script. If you have a great idea for a complex situation where many interesting directions could be explored, then I guess it's a good start for a game script.

As for getting stuck, that usually happens when you haven't had enough outside stimuli. You can visualize screenwriting as burning fuel; that fuel being everything you've encountered. If you run out, just drop it for a while. Go out, observe, read, etc. It will eventually start working in your head again. Chances are it's gonna be a lot better to.

The desired dialogue/detail ratio depends on the scene, the script type and whether you or someone else is going to be directing. If you direct it yourself ( I wouldn't aim for a feature in that case) you can put as much detail as you want. If someone else does, the main thing is to get the pace right, so that you keep their attention going.

I hope that helped..
Good luck.

I agree that the first draft is usually that --a first draft, and you have to be willing to make mistakes and look at your work with a critical eye, as well as let others look at it critically.
Also, people have their own ways of approaching the creative process.
Still, there are steps that can be used in screenwriting that can make the process more productive and still keep the creative process involved.
Just as a glass can be filled with any liquid you desire, the structure of a screenplay is there to pour your story into. It keeps the story from spilling all over the place.
However you start out, you need to end up with a properly formatted screenplay or no professional will look at it.

Saikin
07-12-2005, 05:07 AM
Okay. Do you know how to write in proper script form?
Do you understand screenplay structure?
Do you know about plotpoints, subplots, setup, confrontation, character bios, a treatment
and such things as these?
If not, I can give you some basics in screenwriting to help you along.

NOPE. I would appreciate some help though. I want to help direct but I'd rather someone who's directed before do it. I think this could be used for film at the moment then adapted to game format with some help. I appreciate all help on this.

webhead
07-12-2005, 04:27 PM
Directing. Well, that's a different animal all together.
And, since a Director has to have a script, we might as well start with screenwriting first.
If you like, I could post a few basic guidelines/hints for you to go by, however, if you're really serious about screenwriting, I really encourage you to do a couple things:
1) Take a class, or get a good book on screenwriting.
2) Read as many good professional scripts as you can. See how professionals do it.
You can find several on the internet.
That would be a good start.

Saikin
07-12-2005, 05:46 PM
Would you do that for me? post the guidelines? I'd like that.

What books would you recommend me read? I've found a site that has alot of scripts on it from top selling movies, including The Matrix, Star Wars, Star Trek, Gone in 60 Seconds, etc. I look through there on a regular. What critiques do you have on my script(if you've read it)?

zurfer
07-12-2005, 06:42 PM
Books to get if you want to write for the movie industry:

Elements of style for screenwriters: This is all about correct formattong. I would also reccomend you to get a copy of either Final draft or Movie magic Screenwriter 2000 to write in. It sppeds everything up quite a bit.

Story by Robert Mckee. Everything about writing structured scripts.

The writers journey by Christoffer Vogler. On mythological structure. Can be misused if you stick to it to litterally but it is a good tool for ironing out problems.

As someone stated earlier, don't be too caught up in being original try to think in terms of old ideas in new perspectives instead. I always felt I write to tell stories to my self that I want to hear and I just hope that others like them too. You can't be too naive though try to atleast consider what your audince will be when youve set the basic storyline.

Hope this helps.

Peter

PS: A basic tip on writing for the screen is: Write only what will be seen. A slugline stating if it is an exterior (EXT) or interior (INT) what the scene is called and when it plays out. ex: EXT. DRUG STORE - NIGHT. Under this describe in as few sentances as possible the heart of hte scene. follow up wiht what ever action is happening in the scene and then comes dialouge and additional action. This is only for basic scenes however. You might start on the action if that is how the scen will play. Never writet in things that can't be seen for example:if you write: A undercover cop walks down the street, how can we tell he's a cop if he's undercover. Or his gun is heavy under his coat. How do we know he's got a gun at all if it's under his coat. Write it as it will play on the screen. When you introduce a character try to do it in one sntance that will say everything we think we know about this character. DS.

webhead
07-12-2005, 06:48 PM
Since screenwriting has so many aspects, and I can only explain so much in this forum, a book would definately help. There are many good books on screenwriting. Probably, the most well known are the ones by Sid Field. I can't remember the titles off hand, but I'm sure a Google Search would turn up something.
He talks about a paradigm, or structure that you can use to build your screenplay on.
The same way music has a structure with keys, notes and chords. It is very helpful.
However, no book can make you a good writer or write the screenplay for you.
It is a guide to make the process easier and more controlled. You still have to be willing to do the work and put in the time, but it is a very good guide.

Saikin
07-12-2005, 08:03 PM
Thanks a ton guys/gals. I'll look into these books and proggies. Do you guys think it would be a good decision to write 2 versions? One version will be in script format(as soon as I figure out how that is) and one in public format, meaning, that I'll show the public format to like friends, peers, and whatnot to gain in sight to what they think? I want to keep the detail that I have in there now for editing reasons. I've shown it to some friends of mine and they really like what I have so far. If I take out the detail, they'll feel lost and won't know what's going on or what they're reading. But besides that, having the detail there allows me an image of what I would like the final stages to be like.

Can you guys give me an idea of how to edit this script so that I may post for some help in CTP? Thanks a ton.

Jean Genie
07-12-2005, 10:50 PM
I want to keep the detail that I have in there now for editing reasons. I've shown it to some friends of mine and they really like what I have so far.

The idea is not so much to take out detail as to transform the litterary descriptions you have into purely visual ones (or auditive). Take every sentence and ask yourself how it's going to be shown on screen.
Instead of writing: The outside is deceiving, lending the aurora of an inviting bar, Describe the bar as inviting, then when we enter the bar, deceive us.
It's much more interesting for the reader and you don't lose anything...

webhead
07-12-2005, 10:51 PM
Some good points from zurfer.
Now, If I understand you correctly, it sounds like you've written the story down in a narrative form.
If so, that's okay. It is recomended that your story is written out on paper before you begin writing the screenplay. The exact term for it is called "a treatment."
Why is this a good idea? Because, it helps you to formulate or flesh out your story. You have to know your story before you can tell it to someone else.
It is recomended that a treatment be about four pages or so. You want details, but not too many details at this point. Those will come later as you develop your story.
Your treatment should include four things: The ending, the beginning, plot point one and plot point 2.
You can't start a screenplay until you know how it is going to end. Some people disagree with this, but it is a good rule to follow.
If your screenplay doesn't have direction, a place that each scene is leading to; a final resolution, then it will lose it's way and go off in all directions.
You don't start a recipe without knowing what your making, or a trip without having a final destination, and you don't start a screenplay without having an ending.

Saikin
07-13-2005, 02:35 AM
alot of good information and help from everyone. I'm really digging this help! At first when I read about me writing it out on paper, I was like, NOOOO! Now I think I can write the beginning, end, and 2 plot points. One question before I write the plots out, what you all consider good plot points? I'm trying to stay away from cliched endings, that's why I can't think of a good ending.

webhead
07-13-2005, 03:11 AM
...what you all consider good plot points?

That is a hard question to give a specific answer to because I don't know what your story is about. Maybe defining what a plot point is and what it does will help.
Sid Field defines a plot point as, "an incident, or event that hooks into the action and spins it around into another direction."
He says that plot points 'move the story forward and hold the screenplay together.
Example: Ben Kenobi asks Luke to join in the rebellion, become a Jedi and come with him to Alderaan. Luke says he can't get involved and has too many responsibilities at home. Later, when he and Ben find dead Jawas and realise that the Empire is on the trail of the droids and the stolen data tapes, and will trace it to his place, Luke rushes home on his landspeeder only to find his uncle and aunt have been killed by the Empire.
He returns to Ben and says he will go with him and become a Jedi like his father.
See how that incident; the death of Luke's Aunt and Uncle changed the story and spun it into another direction?
Luke would not have joined the rebellion or become a Jedi if his life on Tatooine had just gone on as usual.
Plot points move the story ahead, they change circumstances and they cause people to take action.

Saikin
07-13-2005, 06:55 AM
So in order for me to have someone take charge or make a change, I'm going to have to introduce another character. Hasting and Vangurd can't be the ones making a change, so I'll introduce a 3rd chara into the story. When should a plot point come into play? Should it be early in the story or later? Can I have 2 plot points next to each other but have them react in two very very opposite ways? I'm working on a small climax in the film where Hasting finds himself in a predicament.

zurfer
07-13-2005, 10:28 AM
The basic paradigm (a good general guide for stories) is as follows:

Act I Act II Act III

I-I----------I-----------I----------I---------I-I
First is the set up. Intruduce your world and its character. Try to place your Inciting incident (the point wher your "hero" is drawn in to the story or called to the adventure as Vogler would call it) as close to the beginnig as possible for the story at hand. If yuo can't put the inciting incident in the firts half of hte story the inciting incident of a sub-plot can be used. This can be a fator if you have to get to know the charaters before anything happens to the to rally get the tight feeling (take Rocky for example: the overall story of the fight does not start untill the change between act one and two. The love story between rocky and adrian fills the first act os thatt we really start to care about the characters). The first act ends with plot point one or turning poit one if you like. This takes the story in a new direction that the audience might expect but try to surprise them in how it happens. The goal for the characters usually change here. In the middel of act II there is what is called a mid-point. This is usually a more personal turning point for the main character where he/she really takes on the full ersponsability of being a hero (In thelma and louise this occurs when they say goodbuy totheir old lives in teh diner. Louise from her man and Thelma from the old door-mat thelma. Thelma shoulders the responsability of being the hero and takes on the world ruled by men) In mythological writing this is usually the first real encounter with the antagonist and the protagonist is reborn in to a true hero. (Luke rescuing leia in the deth star). Try to build slowly to a climax at every plot point. Start comfortably at the beginning of an act and then throw something at us at the end. There is usually a slump in pace ringht after a act change. THe second act ends in plot point two. As with the first this should take your characters on a new road towards their final goal. Act three is mainly build up of a road towards the ultimate climax and the unavoidable scen when the protagonist has to encounter the antagonist in a final battle. after the climax a catharsis should be felt and the classic they live happily ever after might ensue. These are, as they say in pirates of the caribean, not really rules there more like guidlines. They are handy tools but should perhaps not be too literally interpreted. This is a giude for the anglosaxic way of storytelling. The epic lyrical (the other large school of storytelling) is not built up of a straight story where every sceen follows the next logically but is more centered around a feeling or theme. In is a circular way of telling a story and focusses more on getting you to feel than put any time on logic or thought. Even in anglosaxic story there is lay room for just playing with the structure. The antagonsit for example might not have to be a physical peson as much as a force. What is important is that you know yourslef how it is built up so that you can ensure that others will understand what your saying.

Another important thing when writing is to find your theme or coltrolling idea. A statement that shows what you want to say with your film. For example the central theme in the movie I'm writing at the moment is: one has to let things go and not dwell on them for ever. A controlling ide is not only the statment but also involves how you make this point. EX: you have to let things go and not dwell on them forever, because if you do they will eat you alive. This is a more coplete way of looking at what exactly it is you are saying to the audience. For example in dirty Harry the them might be: Crime does not pay. That's a moral massage. The problem is when you look at the controlling idea you get: Crime does not pay, bechause the law in fiercer and more brutal then the criminals, wich leaves you with an amoral message.

I would recomend you to start writing a synopsis ( a short, 3-8 pages, that descibes all of your stry, beginning, middle and end in a straight forward fashion.) THen if you want to flesh it out write a treatment ( a more detailed and litteral interpretation of your story, 8- 30 pages,for full length scripts.) PArallell to this I personally always write character bios to get the hold of who they are, fears, wants, needs and all of that. The 3 dimentions of a character is the Physical, the psychological and the social, wich together build up a well rounded character that is not paradoxal if you do not want it to be.

A final tip before I stop is allways write in courier if it's for screen (learn to love it) and try to keep your pages as clean as possible. I never write more then five lines before skipping one. This makes the experience of reading your material a heck of a lot better. Not as thick as i've kept the text above is what i'm saying. It is really cumbesome to look at a page that is all text.

Hope this helps. Read Robert Mckees Story and Voglers, Writers Jouney for longer and more complete text on what I've mentioned. And again these are not rules but guidlines and tools to help you develop a sound story that everyone can relate to and understand. It is not for styreotipical writing but for archetypical writing. A streotype is a specific thing that we think we know something about and an archetype is a general guide that we all can relate to.

Hope this helps and sorry for rambling on so long. It's not an easy subject you know.

Best regards

Peter

webhead
07-13-2005, 05:08 PM
So in order for me to have someone take charge or make a change, I'm going to have to introduce another character.

A plot point doesn't have to be a new character. A plot point can be anything that sends the story into another direction or complicates the situation. The hero or heroine loses his job, or he stumbles on a hidden treasure, finds out her son died in a plane crash, decides to divorce her husband, and so on.
In THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK when Luke confronts Darth Vader about the death of his father and Vader reveals that he is in fact, Luke's father, is a major plot point. No new character, but a new aspect of character is revealed and the dynamic of the story is changed.
A plot point should not be some random element thrown in there just to stir things up, but it is used to help move the action forward and drive the story to it's conclusion.
On the subject of character: A good character will go through changes in your screenplay.
He may start out as scared and unsure of himself at the start of the screenplay, but after having to confront many obstacles during the course of the story while trying to attain his "dramatic goal" or need, he is now more confident, more sure of himself.
Nemo's father in FINDING NEMO is a perfect example of a charcter changing through the story.
Give your character a "dramatic need", a goal that he is desperately trying to achieve and put obstacles in his way to stop him. That is where the drama comes in and that is where you can add plot points.
Make the solution to your character's problems too easy and the audience will feel ripped off. The recent War Of The Worlds "quick fix" ending is a good example.
Many people thought it was too easy and felt let down by it.
Make your characters suffer for what they want. Make him/her grow because of it.

Saikin
07-13-2005, 06:57 PM
Thanks Zurfer, had to blink a couple of times to read that post, lol. I think I can write a chara bios. I think that would help me write a synopsis if I know what kind of "person" they are going to be. I tried a synopsis once but it turned out to be a description of what the story is about. Is that right? Oh, I write in courier all the time. I use times new roman when I change scenes or different aspects change. Thanks again, Zurfer.

Webhead, thanks for expanding on how I should use plot points. I think I understand, somewhat better.

This is really a confusing and demanding psychological subject. I've never had a problem throwing out ideas and creating a "story." I was writing short stories. I could probably write a crappy novel, but now that I know about plot points, character dynamics, I could probably do alright. With all this help in "perfecting" my script, I think I could churn out a pretty decent script that may have a chance in getting produced(not sure if Hollywood but definately from this community!)

I have a quick request: could you guys read my script, Marked Eclipse? And pick out certain likes and dislikes so that I can go and change them? Thank you.

webhead
07-14-2005, 03:23 AM
Patience, my young Padawan! (Done in my best Yoda voice)
--You are, after all, just beginning to learn the basics of screenwriting.
If I understand you, you're script is not in screenplay format yet, correct?
I'm not sure how productive critiquing your work would be at this stage. I would really have to think about that, myself. I wonder if it would be better for you to learn a few more of the basics, then go back and look at your work constructively having a clearer understanding of how to proceed with your writing.
Then, when you have something you feel is ready, then I would start asking for critiques.
Also, be aware that some people will look at your work and be truly honest about it --some brutally honest, while others will tell you what they think you want to hear.
Some critiques will be constructive, some destructive; Try to learn the difference between the two and don't get discouraged too easily.
Some of the biggest movies ever made had their scripts turned down by lots of people.

Saikin
07-14-2005, 03:56 AM
You could help meesa define meesa characters better(done in my best J.J. Binks voice), help me cut out some of the detail that I have in there, point out some spots that would be good to add plot points, so many things. Besides it not being in proper screenplay format, helping me construct proper transitions, paranthetical places, etc. would help me out a ton. I could put it in screenplay format once I get the other more "important" thigns done first. Not saying format isn't important, just it can be done later.

webhead
07-14-2005, 04:36 AM
Very good Jar-Jar Binks!
Now, I will say a line from the Matrix using my best Morpheus impression:
"I told you that I can only show you the door. You have to step through it."
Yes, I could define your characters, tell you what plot points to put in and where to put them, tell you what transitions to use, even format your screenplay for you. But then, it would no longer be your screenplay -- it would be mine.
Writing a screenplay is hard work. It is a grueling step by step process. There are no short cuts, no easy outs. It's you and a blank screen waiting for you to put words on it.
You. Not me.
If your really serious about writing a screenplay, or about doing anything worthwhile for that matter, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes.
It means study, observation, writing, and re-writing and re-writing and re-writing again.
Make up your mind now if that's what you really want to do, if it is, than give it your best effort and have no regrets.

Saikin
07-14-2005, 04:48 AM
(in best anakin Star Wars 3 voice) yes, master. :) I'm serious about this. I'll get started on re-writing, adding character bios, and formatting it the right way. Thanks a ton

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