Friday, May 19, 2006

Number Two in the Books

I finished my first/second draft of “Syndrome” last night. Let me tell you this… its 135 pages of train wreck. I’m pretty proud of it though, it was a big attempt for me to get into something as complex as my idea for “Syndrome,” but as soon as I finished the final scene last night, while talking to Ryley on IM, I realized there is a TON of work to do.

The project is significantly different than the direction I assumed it would take when I penned the first act of the script. The second act, although conceptually will stay the same, has to be changed dramatically so that it better fits with the ending and helps bridge the first and third act.

You see, when I first started writing this I quickly envisioned it as a big conspiracy movie with revolving around a plot to take over the government by military coup by using information retained from a person “sent through time.” The first time I got to page 80 I realized I had no idea what I was writing about and had taken the story well beyond my abilities as a writer. So, I dropped 40 some odd pages and started over somewhat, reconning from an earlier part so to speak. Thus, there is a decent amount of discrepancy and feel through the story as it stands now, little subplot threads and references that need to be removed and cleaned up.

The story right now is much closer to what I wanted to begin with. My original concept was to write about what would happen to someone who all of the sudden just woke up in someone else’s body at some other point in time? I created the character Shaun, his love interest Michelle, and the body of the person he’d be taking over, Max. Then, the idea of the government experiment got in my head somehow and the conspiracy idea and I sort of went with it. Unfortunately, I failed at it miserably. So, I pulled back to my original efforts and moved forward again.

The final twenty pages or so was really hard to write, since I had to convincingly show Shaun beyond the brink of sanity while still being able to provide the final twist at the end in a manner that would have significant impact. While I was able to get the general concept down, my execution is that of someone with a minimal amount of experience, and it shows. I’m not let down though, because this is what a second, third, and fourth drafts are for.

I’ve kind of started to view writing like projects I used to do for “Two Dimensional Design” class back when I was at Savannah College of Art and Design. First you get the concept down on paper. Second you play with the concept a bit, trying out a few different things to see what works. Finally, you put forth the effort to have a complete and finished project. I’m sort of at the end of the first step, getting the concept down.

The working title “Syndrome” will not be kept, since it deals with a story element that was going to play a big role when I was still doing the military coup angle. The revisions I’m going to make to the second act will completely remove this element of the story, since it no longer fits with what I’ getting at. It’s also going to remove a bunch of dialogue I had that tried to explain a legit medical condition called Aspergers Syndrome, which is related to autism.

At any rate, I’ll be printing this thing out and taking the red pen to it this weekend. I’m looking forward to that…sitting on the porch, listening to some smooth jazz, sipping some wine, and just working away. The only thing that would be better would be if I could somehow do that on the West Coast, preferably on the beach.

-Steve

1 Comments:

Anonymous Ryley said...

A screenwriter is usually recognised for his 4th or 5th screenplay. He usually isn't ready until then. I think DRIVE was my 7th or 8th. So, Don't beat yourself up too much if #2 isn't rockin' and rollin'. This is a journey of a 1000 miles and you are only about 100 miles in.

The important thing is to keep walking.

And if you ever want to write on the West coast, take some vaction time...you got a place here. I'm in a bit better situationt han I was last time. Bigger place, money in the bank, and no school.

9:31 PM  

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