Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Visual Writing - help from Eddie

Listening to songs and hearing poetry read aloud has always helped me visualise a scene, which is what, as screenwriters, we really need to do. We can't show the reader what's happening; all we have are words on the page to explain what's being seen.

I find these two Pearl Jam songs particularly useful. Apart from being amazingly moving [insert essay on love of Pearl Jam here], they also paint a very visual picture. Might be worth giving something like this a shot? Take one of your scenes and simply write it in prose, as if someone is describing it to another person. Might help?

I'm Still Here

"I picture a sober awakening, a re-entry into this little bar scene. Sip my drink till the ice hits my lip. Order another round."

I'm Open

"A man lies in his bed in a room with no door. He waits, hoping for a presence, something, anything, to enter."

"Lying sideways atop crumpled sheets and no covers, he decides to dream. Dream up a new self. For himself."

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Louder than Hell!!!

For those who like a little metal with their morning coffee.....

Metal high-five for any Manowar fans out there *clink*

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Great Screen Moments - Se7en

I got a hair sample, I got a stool sample, I got piss, I got fingernails. He's laughing at us.

Written by: Andrew Kevin Walker

Friday, 16 July 2010

Art is the gateway to our soul

'Harry,' said Basil Hallward, looking him straight in the face, 'every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself. The reason I will not exhibit this picture is that I am afraid that I have shown in it the secret of my own soul.'
Wilde, 1890

The above extract is from The Picture of Dorian Gray - Basil (the painter of the infamous picture in question) has a lengthy discussion with his friend Lord Henry Wotton about why he is reluctant to display the portrait.

Is this the reason why people are reluctant to show off their work? I can see there's something very personal about a piece of art, including writing. It's almost as if, by writing a moving, emotional scene, you are exposing yourself to the reader as if you were genuinely in that scene.

Oscar Wilde had a lot to say about art and writing, but what do you think? Is there something extremely personal about writing? Are you the sort of person who won't show their work around? Or are you perfectly fine with anyone and everyone reading what you've done?

I think I'm somewhere in the middle. There are some people I wouldn't want to read certain aspects of my writing, but that's mainly because it would be massively uncomfortable. But in the end, if these things get filmed, they're bound to be seen eventually.

Let me know what you think.....

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Friday, 9 July 2010

Lessons learned from.....

Clash of the Titans (1981)

The Good:

A strong, powerful trigger to kick things off - Perseus and his mother are left for dead at sea (locked in a coffin). What makes this trigger work so well is that we see the immediate, vital effects (Argos is destroyed by the Kraken).

A very high-concept idea - Man vs all manner of mythological creatures. Also has the string-pulling element from the gods that make it even more compelling.

Good use of poetic licence - mythology is changed to suit the story: the origin of Pegasus, adaptation of Cerberus into a two headed dog (Dioskilos) et al.

Active protagonist - despite being controlled by the gods, Perseus takes an active role in the film, making the decision to seek out Andromeda and save her from Calibos et al.

The Bad:

Terrible exposition - the opening 10 minutes, which features a scene in Olympus are fairly horrible. Zeus systematically goes through each god present and tells us what their role is. We are then told straight away that Perseus is Zeus' son and his entire story.

Later on, a guard tells Perseus "we live in fear of [Calibos]". This not only breaks the sacred 'show, don't tell' rule, but also comes in the middle of a conversation that tells us (the audience) stuff we were shown not half an hour before. Boring.

The Ugly:

The acting - sorry, but I refuse to accept that Laurence Olivier was ever a good actor. Yes, I accept that I'm going to get lynched for this, but I've seen his Lear, his Othello, his Hamlet, and I don't like them. His Zeus is no better. There, I said it. The rest of the cast ain't great either. Except for Maggie Smith (always pretty decent). I haven't seen the remake, but I refuse to accept that Liam Neeson is even capable of bad acting. Ever.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

No longer a student

After three years of work and shiteloads of reading, final results came on Saturday. So I now have a 2:1 in English. Now just hoping I get on the Masters course for Writing.......

Roll on the embarrasing graduation in November!

That is all.

Currently digging:

Friday, 2 July 2010

Create your own movie posters

When I was at a meeting with writer/actress buddy Sue Clarke, I noticed a few things on her wall - pictures, or rather posters of what she's writing. I decided to follow suit, loading up word, grabbing tonnes of pics off google and printing out some posters.

Why? Principally for two reasons:

One - with those posters stuck up on my wall, every single time I walk through my room (which is a lot), I can't help thinking out the story. This way, I am having at least one mini brainstorming session every day. I've had the posters up for a couple of months now and already lost count of the number of times I've walked past, stopped, walked back, and scribbled down a new idea for the project.

Two - it gives me something visual. There's always debate about whether you should visualise a particular actor in the character you're writing. On the plus side, you're more likely to actually write a good character. On the negative, if you aim to write a Robin Williams persona and the reader doesn't see it, you're screwed!

Personally, I create a character and then (occasionally) think about which actor would be good in that role. Right now I have one poster with pictures of Kenneth Branagh and Yvonne Strahovski on it - an unlikely but awesome pairing? I like to think so. *

So anyway, for me, this works great. Yes, it might come off as cocky or arrogant, but who cares?! Just don't put the words "Winner of 11 Academy Awards" on it and you should be ok. Aim for at least 12!

Happy writing!!!

Currently digging:

* Six degrees of seperation:

Kenneth Branagh > Derek Jacobi (Henry V) > Russell Crowe (Gladiator) > Paul Bettany (A Beautiful Mind) > Tom Hanks (The Da Vinci Code) > Nathan Fillion (Saving Private Ryan) > Adam Baldwin (Firefly/Serenity) > Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck)

Ok, so not exactly six degrees, but it works. Note: this took me ages to work out. Thank Odin for that Nathan Fillion > Tom Hanks connection!