On Step 10 you did your cards.
Now it is time to start writing your movie script or pilot.
There’s very little I can do to help you get there except encourage you to write every day. I wake up first thing in the morning at 5 AM, and do my writing, sometimes I go back to bed from 8 to 10 AM, but for 3 hours, I use the very quiet of the morning to do as much writing done as possible.
Your cards are the scenes or set of scenes you will be writing. So I leave you with this little helpful set of questions.
I got this from John August's Website and I loved it and it has served me so well since I first saw it sometime in 2010. And I suggest you go read it here, and check out his book Arlo Finch, which is an underrated masterpiece. (I have a crush on all things John August, but I seriously think with his books he found his form.) But I digress, here are his suggestions for writing a scene and I can tell you they work.
HOW TO WRITE A SCENE IN 11 STEPS.
1. What needs to happen in this scene?
2. What's the worst that would happen if this scene were omitted?
3. Who needs to be in this scene?
4. Where could the scene take place?
5. What's the most surprising thing that could happen in the scene?
6. Is this a long scene or a short scene?
7. Brainstorm three different ways it could begin.
8. Play it on the screen in your head.
9. Write a scribble version. (Just list it out)
10. Write the Full Scene
11. Repeat as many times as needed.
Enjoy Writing! Do it Every day! even if it's just a page. It is so worth it. When you write from the heart, you will not believe the adventures life will send you on.
Apologies for the interruption. Over the last month, I had to deliver the plan for a nine part Event Series to a Streamer and so low and behold the blogging of the Mozzie system was interrupted.
Step 10 is all about carding - or filling out your cards. Which I still do and take as long as I can planning. The cards to me are the hardest part of the process for me, because you have to pay close attention to all the events.
There should be cause and effect to every card. One Card is not a stand-alone scene. To me, it makes me:
Question the card before, and have an effect on the card after, sometimes a decision made on card will play out in Card 12. Nevertheless, every card has to have a reason for being there.
Now, I know many people use Save the Cat, which I do not subscribe too as I find it limiting. As a creative writer, you should feel free to follow the rules, and break the rules. To believe in systems and disregard them. To throw yourself at your story in a way that makes sense to you. You will own that first draft, slowly, and carefully you will shape it into a story that works for mass audiences. However, that first draft should belong to crazy, unique, unbelievable visionary you. Tell it in a way that hones the storyteller in you and in a way that makes you feel inspired, alive and in the moment.
Therefore, while I do agree that it will need structure as a second or third draft, I normally do not marry one of those structures right away.
Because I believe that, we are all born storytellers. We have been telling stories since we were in caves. We have this gene, or this piece of our souls that was born to tell a story.
So, I say, do it the way that best suits you. If Save the Cat works for you. Use Save the Cat. Alternatively, use Steps 1 - 10 here on this blog. Remember, Do or Do Not. There is no try.
I love doing my cards in the way described below. It is fun, and forces me to think of the story in more unique ways. It is a lengthy process, but it is wildly fun, particularly if you've done all the other steps to bring you here. You have already answered so many of the questions. Using the system described below will actually be fun, and surprising. The only thing I add to the below is that I know that every card has a cause and effect, so make sure you are aware, every decision you make, creates an effect, creates tension or conflict on the card that follows it.
Until you get to the end of course!
Day 4/Step 4 - of writing a movie/pilot with Mozz.
Happy Friday Everyone. I am running late on my post. My writing morning was taken up by a good chunk of just reading about Jeff Bezzos's cock pics and how it will take down a presidency. (PLOT TWIST!)
Today is Friday and you should have a title, a logline, and some 300 words on your project.
The next step is crucial to me. And Armistead often accusses me of spending too much time on it. Because we are on research or world building mode or both.
If your story is based on fact/history, this is where you go off and start researching. But the reality is that for the next couple of days you are going to get very specific about the world in your project.
When and where does it take Place? what is the environment like? the politics. The time period. (I have had to write two scripts for different producers set in the 70s back to back, I'm pretty much an expert on the 70's now!)
Think of how precisely the screenplay for Children of Men built its world. When a character speaks it sounds so real to that world.
I used to play Dungeons and Dragons and then fell in love with Pathfinder. And I think my gaming years have helped me incredibly in building worlds. I want to know the history, the locations, the important places. The name of the corner bar and what it looks like. The lay out of the apartment.
Also knowing your world helps you set the tone of your world. Is your world the snappy action driven Indiana Jones or the bubbly 13 going on 30?
BECOME THE GOD OF YOUR WORLD. Know that world inside out. Know the system of that world inside out. If you are writing about a journalist stopping a conspiracy, don't wait until you have a question about what a journalist would do in that situation, figure out the rules of a journalist's worlds.
Start imagining locations, homes, a story in New York is going to Look different than one in China, one in LA or one is Tennessee. the minute you question where your world takes place the better. I am almost always attracted to movies that take places in worlds that I don't know anything about. I rather see a film about bank robbers in Wisconsin, than ones in New York. Because NY has been used over and over again. But man, Wisconsin, what kind of desperate world does that bank robber live in! You may come from an interesting world. I come from Newark, NJ via Puerto Rico. (I need to write more stories set in those worlds.) However, I did love the world they built for Ocean's 8. I thought the stakes for the film were low, but the world was pretty fun, and the lay out of how things went down. That was all because of the world and character building.
I tend to collect a lot of pictures about my world.
Then put your characters in that world and know where they fit in that world. A character must know her place in that world before she seeks to change that world.
I start with my protagonist. I answer all the questions about him or her. From what they look like, to what music they listen to, what they do for a living and why? Their most painful memories as a child. Your character in the film begins way before the film starts. As a matter story, your film starts at the last possible second in which that story can be told. But your characters they have had a life. Treat them that way.
BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY - WHAT DO THEY WANT? AND WHAT WOULD THEY BE WILLING TO DO TO GET WHAT THEY WANT?
You will be sketching out your character bios. I tend to brief character monologues based on a moment in their lives that is not in the film and sometimes, when you need a moment, that reveals that character that monologue totally influences the moment.
But get to know your main and supporting characters.
Here is where at last you will give them NAMES. which I discussed in the LOGLINE POST.
You are also going to start playing with themes here. What are you going to explore? when you decide on your theme, you will find yourself finding visual descriptions that will help move the story along. I wouldn't make any hard and fast decisions here. when you are writing the project a theme will reveal itself, and my strongest themes have shown up on the second, or third draft. Actually I am about to turn in a production draft of a film that was 6 years in the making. It is in the production draft that I finally hit on the strongest theme. But you get to start asking those questions now.
WORLD BUILDING is where you are going to write up a storm, most of which you will not use, but which will be necessary to tell the truth on the page.
Who was involved?
Where did it take place?
When did it take place?
Why did that happen?
for a visual medium the most important
HOW DID IT HAPPEN?
and also, world building is where you can be DEAD WRONG. And when working on my projects I find that it is best to be WRONG A LOT at the beginning. Allow yourself to be DEAD WRONG now. It will save you pain and suffering and writer's block later.
I'm working on a script right now. And normally this will take a few days. So...
I'M GOING TO GIVE US ALL A WEEK TO GET THIS DONE. I'll see you here next Friday to go onto wow, some actual writing on STEP 5.
THIS IS ALSO THE PERFECT TIME FOR YOU KNOW GREG TO CATCH UP. OR for us to have a conversation below on film topics and shit.
I began a screenwriting challenge with my friends, to see if we could finish a screeplay within a certain number of days.
We're all going to write a script (screenplay).
Don't tell me what it is. Do not share the idea with anyone, as the first rule of magic is self-containment. But for Today --- just for today --- you are going to get a piece of paper, or a word document and you are going to write the title. Just the title. (Don't worry this will get harder later.) But for today, let the crippling fear go and just write the title. Then go off and do something awesome.
74 Christie Street was my first American Address, moving here from Puerto Rico. I remember the small house, and the neighbors, the Portuguese family that lived above us (Maria Barca broke my toe in a tragic rope jumping mishap) and the mixed race young couple, and the first black man I ever met. His white wife had a way of always being angry with him, and he had a way of making learning the language rather easily, sitting in the back stoop, staring at the dead garden in the back, by which he would teach me a word daily.
The apartment was small, and I had no bedroom, back then, I slept in the living room. I suppose this is why I love my aloness now. My early life was a life of constant traffic.
Besides a few roaches, the apartment was bare of anything but a stove and the refrigerator that my father had gotten for the family. In the pantry, there was one book, Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot.
The softcover curiosity was black, with what appeared to be a protruding woman’s face and a single drop of blood dripping from its lower lip; and the tagline, “a town possessed by unspeakable evil.” I had no idea what that meant.
And it was through that book that my journey into English began. I remember how I would keep the book hidden between the couch cushions of the couch that doubled as my bed, and when everyone went to sleep, I would sit there with a flashlight and a Spanish to English dictionary; taking me days to do a few pages, word by word. Even more so because the work had to be do in darkness, and because Mark Petrie was approximately my age. Mark Petrie was my first American friend.
The horror of that translation paralleled the horrors of my immigration story, leaving a safe, beautiful island, swimming in the rivers after school, the lushness of the Puerto Rican plant life (who itself carried its own monsters.) to the soulless empty parking lot that was Newark, NJ.
In my depression and solitude, I doubled down on the book. I had to get to the end of the chilling tale, and I must grasp its meaning. Through this novel, I got my first lesson of what America was, a country in constant battle with its demons. I also fell in love with the story-telling medium.
I recently read Salem’s Lot again, and it was just as exhilarating as the first time. The action scenes were much more effective, of course, now they moved at the speed they were always intended to and not at every three words per translation.
Then there is Ben, Ben is also a vampire, an emotional one that drains the life out of love. He’s in such need of love, as a writer, as a man, that he would latch on to anyone who gives him just the little bit of attention and then, well, then they end up dead.
That Mark Petrie is not dead at the end of the book, well, it is because that relationship had barely started when they set the woods ablaze.
Finally, I’m going to call out Ben and Mark on one inhuman action, when they ran, they didn’t stop by the church to pick up Mrs. Curless, Father Callahan’s secretary, she was praying at the church. No doubt, the woman would be safe and could leave on her own accord, but something about abandoning a woman of God in a town where she would no doubt be entombed in the only place that was safe, made me feel incredibly sad. A Puerto Rican would never do that, those praying ladies are the things that keep us alive.
This edition of the book came “with previously unpublished material and a new introduction by the author.”
Came with two stories, One for the Road, a terrifying little story that takes place shortly after the events of the novel, which let us know that Mark and Ben’s actions did not stem the growth of darkness, but it is the story Jerusalem’s Lot, that really excited me. This short could be its own movie, a period piece King Tale that I would be excited to either adapt for the screen or direct, all on its own.
It was that story that kept me up at night, for several nights. I have read it three times, and delight on the way it scares me. Sending me back in time to that little boy, learning English by reading the Master of Terror.
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