Screenplay Reading of Citizens Band

Last year I wrote a screenplay titled "Citizens Band". I thought it was pretty good so I have been fiddling with it. I tried to get friends to read it, but only a couple did, and I got positive feedback from each one. So I continued.

I sent an e-mail to someone I met at a production company but jee never got back to me. That was about three days before the submission date for the BlueCat Screenplay Competition. But I waited because you can submit early and they will review your submission, then you can submit again for the contest and be reviewed again.

I thought the next logical step was to host my own screenplay reading. I sent an e-mail to a major local theater but never heard back. The MuCCC was supportive but alas booked solid for the year. I got started a bit with one person but jee dropped out for jeir own project so I got in touch with Phil Frey of ShakeCo: The Shakespeare Company who agreed to direct the reading.

Over the course of the last few months, I reformatted the script as a stage play (essentially adding a "Narrator" character who speaks the action.) I was looking into having copies printed but it would have cost close to a hundred bucks for 10 copies. Since I already have a [used] HP LaserJet 4000, I finally gave in and bought 3-hole punched paper for it. Unable to find recycled paper, I went with sustainably-grown eucalyptus paper. Over the course of 800 pages or so, it affected the paper feed mechanism and I had to hand-feed the last 40 pages to finish the set. But I digress.

Phil got hold of some actors, and we did a rehearsal on April 13. I was surprised to find so many errors — I thought I had edited pretty well. It was good to hear it out-loud for the first time (although I had to read quite a bit of it myself to fill in for missing actors.) In the end, I changed 45 of the 88 pages. (And I figured out to clean the RF5-2490-000CN Feed Roller [on pages 8-52 and 8-53 of the service manual for those reading at home] with a homemade vinegar-citrus cleaner despite the advice to only use water.)

April 20 was the official reading at the Flying Squirrel. I didn't realize when I scheduled it (I actually didn't have much choice to fit everyone's schedule) but it overlapped the closing night of the High Falls Film Festival which may have prevented a few people from coming. Anyway, I had no idea how many people would show up so I made a lot of food. In the end it was only five people: just a few friends of mine. We were even short on actors and I had to read and my friend Ali read as well. Once again, it was good to hear it out loud and the feedback I got was very valuable even if it was kind of all over the board.

So now I need to go back and edit again. This time, more substantial changes to the structure of the story. One suggestion about gender roles led to a realization to let go of my love for the characters and to make sure their actions are for the interest of each one of them and not due to my love of the outcome. I also want to make some changes to get them on the road quicker (eliminating unnecessary exposition), and I'll move a local party to a destination along the way.

And here I thought it was pretty good already. Well, I still think it's pretty good. I just need to make it excellent.

1,026 total views, no views today

Script Frenzy: FTW

At the beginning of April I wrote that I was starting Script Frenzy: a challenge to write a 100 page script in the month of April. Well the month is almost over, and — as you can see on Author's Page — I did indeed complete the task. Officially, I completed 103 pages (although it ended up a little longer when I tweaked the formatting.)

The story flowed pretty easily, and I had no problem sticking to my original "plan". In fact, I really didn't do much coercion (except for introducing the plausible-but-a-little-hokey cell-phone failure.) For the most part, the story just moved along of its own accord.

I re-read most of it and it seems pretty good. I did notice a few typos (like when Bob the waiter just drives off in their car, apparently) and sometimes I'd introduce a character or a place and a couple pages later the name would inexplicably change. But I noticed that the things I cringed at when I was writing — just to keep the flow going — don't seem nearly as out-of-place and absurd as I thought.

Not to brag too much, but I was impressed at the multi-faceted story arc, like the way the scenery changes with the organic changes in the characters. That was kind of a surprise.

I mentioned in the post introducing this that one of the things I learned from my NaNoWriMo experience was that I really needed to keep tabs on my characters. I made a separate document with the names of characters and any things I said about them, or about their past. It helped a lot. Plus, I only had two central characters, so keeping track of them was much easier.

2,165 total views, 1 views today

Script Frenzy for April

A few years ago, I completed the National Novel Writing Month challenge, writing 50,000 words in the month of November. (I ended up with about 60,000 words then stalled with my characters in a place I didn't care about.) Well, NaNoWriMo has a spin-off project called Script Frenzy. The challenge is to write a 100 page script in the month of April.

Well I love movies, and I have an idea kicking around that touches on a number of topics dear to me along with some interesting personal anecdotes I always thought would make a good movie, so I decided to take up the challenge and write a screenplay. You can track my Author's Page here to see how I'm doing — I got about 4 pages done today so that's pretty good. I'd much rather start out ahead of the curve (for teh math-challenged, I need to average 3 1/3 pages a day to succeed.)

I won't give too much away until I get something more concrete in place, but suffice it to say it's a modern cross-country road trip that'll require the venerable CB radio.

What I learned from my NaNoWriMo experience was that I really needed to keep tabs on my characters since halfway through I couldn't tell one minor character from another. I also felt like that was a freshman effort that can safely be hidden away forever. I don't think it's bad, per se, but it probably has more to do with personal therapy than anything worthwhile to read.

Hopefully I'll see this one through and make something of it.

2,178 total views, 1 views today