Monday, August 14, 2006

Observations: Express Yourself

I've mentioned a few times that I'm an aspiring writer. Sometimes it's a quick short story. Sometimes its a blog post. Sometimes something completely unrelated. My passion, at least at the moment, is in writing screenplays.

Sure, there are a billion people out there who write screen plays, some of those people are actually good too. Most of those people would like to write screen plays professionally, and actually make a living off of it. However, the likelihood of that happening is about as good as it is for someone to make the NFL, or NBA, or some other such professional sports league. It's not that you're bad, it's that there are other people that much better and there are only a certain amount of spots available. Catch my drift.

While my dream would be to "make it," the reality is that I won't. However, that doesn't stop me from keeping on at it. You see, I have the luxury of writing for fun, something a professional doesn't always have the chance to do. They have to write to make a living. I don't. I do other boring stuff with computers to get my money. For me, this is a hobby, a glorified one, but a hobby nonetheless.

I've always been someone who likes to express themselves. Whether that's with images, drawing, pictures, painting, talking to much, whatever, I do it because thats the type of person I am. It doesn't hurt that I actually have talent when it comes to doing some of those activities. Writing, for me, is just one of those outlets. It allows for me to create a story, a whole world, that I can control. I'm able to say the things I want to say the way I want to say them. Its something that I find few other mediums allow me to experience.

I've been "writing" of some sort for a long time. I remember competing in grade school in a short story competition. I was one of three finalists in all of the second grade. I finished second to a girl who wrote a story about a magical bird who could talk. My story, on the other hand, had to do with David and Goliath, sabotage, intrigue, excitement, action, drama, and good triumphing over evil. Her story had a bird who could talk. I had dialog between several characters. She just had narrative prose with no conversations. I was pissed. To this day I still think I came in second because I had some sort of violence in my story and she didn't. Plus, the look my teacher gave me when they announced the winner just screamed "this was fixed." Nonetheless, that was my first experience writing, I never really stopped.

Right now I'm adapting a short story I wrote into a screenplay. I'm sure eventually I'll talk more about it, if I haven't said something on a previous post, but I really think I've got something. As I import scene by scene into Final Draft i just keep saying, "I can't believe I wrote this." Whether that means anything or not, its a big step for me. This story was a leap, from immature to mature. It's a story I had to work at to find. I knew what I wanted was hidden in the depths of current events, waiting and crying to get out. I took my time, letting it simmer, milling it over in my head, doing the proper research to figure out who the characters would be, how they would react, and most importantly why they would react. Then, I started writing.

Unlike in the past I didn't jump right into the script. Instead I did this as three separate stories. At points these stories do cross, but for the most part that are independent of each other. Each story has it's own characters who have their own difficulties and reasons for doing what they do. I didn't know how to combine that all together form the outset, so I did it the way I knew how, separately.

Once complete, I merged them together. Some of the times it fit nicely, other times it caused problems. There were continuity problems, contradictions, and other such issues, but I kept at it, still working on those problems in shorty story form. It took three drafts but I finally got it right and started to import it into Final Draft last week.

So far I've got 70 pages in script form. Based on how it's transfered over from short story so far I anticipate this coming in around 120-130 pages, big for a script, but not big considering its first draft and it's a pretty complex story. Its been fun to see how things change once I put them into script form. A scene loses extra lines, I've got to point out what characters are speaking what languages, and to whom; things you just don't need to worry about when writing in another form.

It's been rewarding so far, and something that makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something. I won't rush it, actually I won't even write tonight. Instead I do it when I want to, when I feel the need to, and not simply two hours every night like I have in the past. I'll most likely get it finished this weekend and print it out Monday next week. It should be interesting to see what the overall product comes across as when someone else takes a look.

Until then, take it easy.



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