The failure of all my other attempts at writing a complete feature length screenplay was my tendency to rush in blind. I would have a basic idea for how my story would begin, progress and end. I would then slap a name on my main character and begin from page 1, praying to almighty God to help me make it to page 90 as quick as humanly possible. I barely made it to page 10…
I lacked a hundred things in my early attempts, I’ll note a few:
- Forward Planning
- A story that connected with my own experiences
- A character I believed in
- The tools to create an interesting screenplay
- The drive to stick with my story to the bitter end
The second point was the first to strike me. A few weeks ago I was listening to the album Bliss Release by Cloud Control, walking through Birmingham New Street station. When an idea for a script struck me like a bolt of lightning. Something I could identify with. The story fell together in my mind as each song filled my head phones, the skeleton of the story appeared to me, fleshing it out would be the fun part. The realization then dawned on me, that with this story in mind, a central character I could breathe life into would have to be based upon the person I know the most… Me. That took care of point three.
The fourth point was the most important; I would have to study script writing like Holy Scripture. Syd Fields “The Definitive Guide to Screen Writing” would become my bible. Every page noted and my entire idea built around the guidelines found in its pages. My University offered a module on screenwriting; however I chose not to take it. The main reason being that studying film at University had taken all my passion for film, and forced me to look at it with a clinical detachment. Script writing remained a mystery I did not want to discover in the class room. With the studying of Fields guide, this also took care of the first point, and my planning stage began.
I would have a complete blueprint for how to plan my screenplay and then the plan itself… This would include character biographies, a psychological understanding of my main character and a complete breakdown of all three acts of the script.
The fifth point would remain the most difficult throughout this process. Weeks may go by without anything significant to write on this blog. I also knew entire chapters of the screenplay would have to be sacrificed to keep the story flowing naturally. I have noted some of the main tools I would have to use to keep this project going:
- Syd Fields advice
- Free time
- This blog
Four chapters in and I am already itching to start penning up bios for my main characters, sketch up a complete page by page run through of where my story will end up… But patience in this case is a virtue.
KNOW MY STORY – KNOW MY CHARACTERS