Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Writing My First Screenplay

So today I found this waiting for me in the mail:

A perfectly innocent copy of the screenplay for Boogie Nights via Royal Air Mail
I had been expecting this book for quite some time as I was to read it for next week for a class.  

My writing class.  

My writing class in which I am scheduled to turn in a screenplay no shorter than 10 pages long by next week. 

Shit.  

I have a week to write a short screenplay, a thing I have never done before.

These were the thoughts that went through my head as I held this slim paperback volume in my increasingly sweaty hand. 

Now I have written a few plays before but from what I can tell, a screenplay is an entirely different sort of beast.  Whereas in a play you control only what your characters say and important movements and blocking (which is liberating a bit in its simplicity) and in a work of prose you have as much or as little control (true freedom essentially) over how the reader views the world you create, in a screenplay there are rules, lots of rules, rules that need be followed. 

It's about creating a visual without bogging the page down with details.  It's about creating characters through dialogue while moving the story along at a brisk enough pace.  It's new and unknown territory for me and frankly, I'm both scared and excited.

My number one problem is the formatting.  I have actually started plotting out the story in a more prose-like fashion just to get it out of my head but translating it into something that looks legit will prove most challenging.

This is an example of the film script form 



 
At times it can seem more like creating a blueprint than simply writing a story



So I will do what I can.  I'm just glad I have idea in my head at least.  Of course I'll share the finished product with those of you who still read me here.  However gruesome it may be.

Seriously though, if anyone has experience doing this sort of thing, words of advice or encouragement in the comments section would be much appreciated.  I'm starting to sweat a bit over this.