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Monday, December 27, 2010

My Journey to the Big Screen - Part 1

Why is a writer discussing the big screen? Well, because every movie you see on the big screen existed first in the mind of a writer. And while writing a screenplay is a specialized field of writing, any writer who has mastered the art of the written word already has a head start to learning screenplay writing.

A screenplay is the script for a movie. It includes the story, set instructions, and camera work. In the end, if it sells, it is a visual representation of your written story on a really big screen that lots and lots, hopefully, of people will go see. Exciting, right?

It has become very exciting for me recently, because after the first of the year, a friend and I will be writing a screenplay together. Before you ask, no, I’m not trained at writing screenplays - yet. That would be my friend’s area of expertise. I had an introduction to screenplay writing, a few screenplay writing assignments, in my Christian Writers Guild training, but outside of that, I’ve just read a few. I have been screenplay crash coursing through a stack of screenplay media my friend gave me in hopes that I can at least use it to follow along from the theory and structure perspective.

My friend asked me to be her partner on this journey not for my screenplay experience but for my story-telling experience – the emotional impact I seem to have the ability to invoke through writing and the humor elements in some of my writing. Things that would write well into a script – dialogue, action – and connect an audience.

Writing a novel is a series of scenes. Writing a screenplay is a series of scenes. The biggest learning curve for me will be hammering and chiseling those scenes to make them fit into the formal and condensed structure of a screenplay. So I’m starting with baby steps. Scenes I know – I will start there.

See you at the movies some day, but until then, keep checking my blog to follow my screenwriting journey in 2011.

Here are some of the media I am using for my screenplay crash course:

Syd Field's Screenwriting Workshop DVD Learning Series

Screenwriter's Bible

Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

How to Pitch and Sell Your Screenplay

Movie Magic Screenwriter Screenwriting Software Version 6