The Screenplay Part 4: Pushing forward
Well Christmas has come and gone since my last post, the holiday has taken its toll on my wallet, weight and unfortunately my progress with planning this screenplay. Only now have I found some time to sit down and get my head back into gear.
A few interesting points have been made while reading the next chapter in my screenplay bible (Syd Fields Guide). The most exciting being that in around three to four chapter (100 pages) I can stop taking notes from the book for a while and start actually getting my story planning down on paper. Rather than being a few abstract scenes floating around my head, soon I will have an outline for my plot and an in depth back story for my main characters.
I also read through some great examples of how to begin a script, with the example being Roman Polanski’s Chinatown. I found a great quote… “Great conflict is not good vs evil, it is good vs good”, I’m not sure how most would interpret that, but I like to think my main character will have to make some tough decisions, and not all of them being overtly for the better or worse of mankind, perhaps the grey area is a nice place to settle with moral choices. The motel scene in Silver Streak also gave a terrific example of creating chemistry between two characters, without out being to “sledgehammer across the back of the head” about it.
Creating a scene, the use of TIME and PLACE, how to use a flashback and how to enter and exit a scene has all been covered. It’s nice to be making distinct progress with my notes, I feel myself getting more and more ready for when it comes time to begin mapping my story.
I think the most important recent development happened just yesterday. A random thought that lead to a possible beginning of my screenplay. It occurred when I was walking to work, it had just gone 10 30 AM and the sun was shining brilliantly with a refreshing iciness in the air. I had just pressed play on Splendor by M83. I was travelling my normal route, but a quick throwaway thought told me to use an alternative path to work, which lead me down a trail of thought that ended with my revelation. Would the route be faster? Probably not, would I see something life changing if I went that way? Probably not, what if a film made an entire plot on the choice of one character being split down the middle into two opposing stories running in two parallel universes, one where they made a choice and one where they didn’t? They did do that movie; it’s called Sliding Doors… NO! This could be more radical then perhaps? One story is of a character reacting positively to the world and another story is the same person in the same world reacting deeply aggressive towards everyone around them. Could this work for 90 minutes? Would the two stories end in the same place?
After all this frantic thought, I smiled to myself and thought about the actual story I have had in my head through all this. What a way to start my screenplay, my character plans out a story as frantically as I did, desperately trying to make sense of it all before losing it entirely in a jumbled up mess of love interests and sub plots. This may make no sense to you the reader. But the point of all this is, its starting to make sense to me.