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.