Archive for July, 2013

Four Stages To Writing A Screenplay

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

So while it wasn’t done in a day, thats mainly because time is a hot commodity. Add up the hour here and hour there and there you go, though I have no idea what the exact number is.

I finished writing a screenplay today – and felt like it went through a four stage process, so I thought I’d share it.

Of course this is assuming you have some idea for a screenplay, key characters, etc, as I can’t really help much if you dont have the default.

1) Spreadsheet – Outlined the full story by scene and kept it top level, so I could see when to connect chracters, mix scenes around with ease and also see what pace I had things going. Just a top level line or two of who and what was taking place, little detail, no real dialogue unless I felt something absolutely had to be referred to in the scene. This made the story line very flexible and rearrange.

2) Rough Draft it up – Once I was about 95% sure with the structure of the story, I wrote up a rough draft in traditional screenplay format, though with a bit of a shortcut thanks to an App that works ok for rough drafting and convenient for the next stage, even if inadvertently. But by now I already had a good idea on what I wanted to write, characters, etc, and so it was written up quite quickly.

3) Fixings with decorations and hooks – Not only did I need to fix up spacing and format issues, but this read through inspired me to push comedic hooks within the dialogue (such as defining character lines to make them stand out from other characters). And by this point it became a storyline that occupied the rare moment of drifting blended with inspiration. So this is when the story got cleaned up, checked up and some decorations added, particularly in scene detail such as character reaction, movement and dialogue hooks to make sure there wasn’t too much down time or bland scenes that had no reason to be there.

4) Final polish – Then over to Justin for a final read through and feedback, and after taking my eyes away from this script for a week or so (as I’ll be kicking off the next storyline spreadsheet), then I’ll return for a final read through or act through if I’m lucky to have the right people around and thats’ that. It will never be perfect, but thats when its time to get it registered and run with it.

Almost there, waiting for #4. But starting #1 on the next story.

Hope that helps put ideas and writing into perspective from a scheduling task list point of view. Once thats in place, will try and keep posting when possible to look at what we do with the idea. It’s a 90 minute comedy in this case, so its easy going and I’m not too attached to it, which is an advantage. I’m aware the story can always be improved, and an idea is never 100%, but also that this is good enough that I dont need to waste time nitpicking.

Worst Summer Blockbusters, According To Them

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Now playing at a theater near you. Star Trek: Into Darkness, Hangover 3, Fast and Furious 6, After Earth, Superman: Man of Steel, The Lone Ranger, Pacific Rim, 300: Rise of an Empire. Once again, sequels and remakes galore compile the list of 2013 summer blockbusters.

Instead of making a list of worst summer blockbusters, because I don’t plan on seeing most of these, and bar a couple of these and some 80’s or 90’s flops that I actually wanted to see back in the days, I thought about trying a different angle and guiding you to various places on the web who’ve compiled similar lists way before I did and have more of a genuine say on this matter.

Of course, I have seen some of these, for instance a common theme is Transformers sequels (such as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), which a friend of mine really loved and convinced me to give a chance. I’ve been holding it against her ever since. Of course, the reasons I hated it, was actually why she loved it. As I learned on previous posts such as this one, people don’t want a lasting memory or an amazing insight from movies, they just want to be wowed and taken away for a couple hours.

Still, even the most recreational movie goer can attest to the fact that big budget movie doesn’t always equate to success, even when conservatively banking on an existing franchise or storyline remake. Here are some lists from other sites that include their takes.

http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2012/05/the-25-worst-summer-movie-blockbusters-of-all-time/ – loads of usual suspects like Superman III, Waterworld, plus Batman and Robin, along with a lot of DC Comic remakes

http://www.newser.com/story/124332/transformers-2-star-wars-episode-i-and-the-worst-summer-movies-ever.html – Battlefield Earth, which I’ve been told is so bad, I should give it a look one day. Maybe if stuck on a plane with only one film choice on it.

http://entertainment.time.com/2011/07/26/top-20-worst-summer-blockbusters/ – they dig up some rare ones. Hudson Hawk? Wow, and Bruce thought people forgot. Knight and Day, didn’t hear a thing about it. And some familiar ones most lists have, such as Speed 2, Catwoman and Howard The Duck. What I dont get was that people were expecting the latter to be good?

hudson-hawk-bruce-willis-or-bruce-danger-willis

http://guyism.com/entertainment/movies/50-most-disappointing-summer-blockbusters-of-all-time.html – another list, but at least has the nice option to view it all in one page. Many long forgotten flops like Prince of Persia, Da Vinci Code, Miami Vice, The Happening, Superman IV (which was amazingly worse than III), along with commonly shamed movies like Catwoman and Green Lantern.

Now if only one of those movies passed some of their budget over here. Its not like anyone would notice anyway, right?

The Directors Cut – A Short Film In Bowbarr, Carrboro

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

About a week ago, Dead Red Eyes worked on filming a short in Carrboro. As it was a short comedy, most of it took place in a bar. And luckily, the wonderful Amanda of Bowbarr in Carrboro, NC let us do the filming during the day in her bar while it was closed (as long as we were cleared out an hour before opening time!).

It was a hot summer day and so we had to tape up all the windows/doors with black blankets to keep the bright light out. However, these were washed away later on as the rains came down. And it poured. Heavy downpours for hours that flooded most of the town and made many homes lose power for the evening. Yet almost all of the cast members came through – even if it was for a short scene here and there, and for that we are very grateful.

Dead Red Eyes Crew behind the camera

The difficult part was early on, where we made some last minute changes to the cast and story in order to adapt to people’s timings, schedules and potential no-shows. However, once we got rolling, we were able to get through scenes at a steady pace. Scenes were ordered by location, so for instance we’d shoot scenes 5,7,11 and then move to the other end of the bar to do 3,9, and so on. But luckily all the scenes were indoors. Some scenes were “one and done” quick takes, while some had a fair share of out-takes and needed a few versions, in some cases to make sure we had alternate angles, close-ups, etc.

Like Alphabet Soup and The Torment, various actors/actresses from the area were in this short too, whether a brief appearance, such as Rob (who was the main character in The Torment) or Jared, who had a side role in the Torment, but played the main character in this upcoming short. We also managed to get local legend Tom in on the action, playing a key role and wearing a straw hat much to his initial chagrin (he “did it for the film”, and much thanks for that). That being said, he actually did quite like the Hawaiian shirt we had got for him!

Tom behind the scenes

Brian and his colleague did the camera work for the most part, while Justin did the directing. As for me, I helped out with the unpacking, the setup and wherever possible, took loads of pictures such as the ones on this post, and hopefully will be contributing with the background audio / soundtrack, as the edits come together. Plus while I may have escaped from being in any pictures (since I was the one taking them), I do play an extra in some scenes.

Overall though, we had a great time and everyone was in great form. Looking forward to having the final cut ready to show. In the meantime, any ideas for naming this thing?

Behind the scenes at Bowbarr

Writing The Screenplay – Round Two, The Fix Up Review

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

So we drew up an outline to make sure the screenplay kept pace and didn’t go into those dangerous dead-end tangents.

And then we used an iPad app to churn through pages at a fast pace (we’ll be reviewing other apps soon).

We exported to Word and needed to do some tidying up. This was a great opportunity to proof read the whole thing and look for notes where we could add/remove some character, some dialogue, scene description, plot loops and so on.

And it made it quite an easy transition to remember the plot, characters, spot the tangents and un-necessary lines. Also tried my best to not get attached to the script, which was much easier in this case, as it was a comedy. But what I mean by that is not feeling certain things have to be said, certain points have to be made. One valuable lesson I learned is when writing, to keep things flowing and make sure all lines need to be in the script.

So what’s next? Well, now we have a 90 or so page screenplay with a few scenes highlighted. These five or so scenes needed rewrites or better transitioning. And so onto the next stage.

Ideally this will occur in the coming days if I have time and I’ll have something finalized. Then what? On to the next one.