The Screenplay Part 6: Getting to know you
Remember that scene in series 1 of Spaced? The one where Tim (Simon Pegg) and Daisy (Jessica Stevenson) get to know one another in a cafe, only for Daisy to begin sobbing about her living situation. That’s kind of how its been with the latest part of the planning of my screenplay.
I asked my main character (William) 100 questions. Some general, others deeply personal.Questions of intimacy, occupation, childhood and adolescence came up. I guess I just wanted to get to know who it is I would be writing about for the coming year. Some of the results were really surprising. For example:
He prefers a cure as opposed to prevention… Believing prevention doesn’t allow us to try anything dangerous
His favorite book is The Odyssey
“Workers work, Dreamers Dream, Soldiers soldier on… What the hell am I meant to do?” – William
Its interesting in creating a character. I have poured so much of my self into him, his music/film taste and some of his morals match my own. Although when I write a characteristic or a memory, or a viewpoint that he has that I don’t share or even agree with, its strange to see him becoming someone else besides me.
I also sketched out a four page blueprint for what scenes I would like where and how the story will progress. Interesting scenes came out of past film ideas, my own personal experiences, ideas I knew I wanted to include in the story. Although its just a crude plan, it holds the foundations for the entire story.
I have also been doing some really interesting reading this week. Jason Lee’s The Psychology of Screenwriting has been throwing around some interesting thought on the theory of script writing. Here is a nice little excerpt from chapter ‘The Psychology of Character’:
“The essential thing about character is their motivation. Why do they behave the way they do? If they are the protagonist they need to be the one who feels the most – the one who feels the most agony , who suffers. “
Things are coming along nicely. A few more character bios, break downs of every scene and perhaps conferring with a fellow cinephile on the full story trajectory might help. After this, after I know my characters, setting and story, It will be time to start the screenplay. The pace may have to be quickened, but I guess Rome wasn’t built in a day…