Trainee Writer

Adventures of a screenwriter in training…

Screenwriting Basics #2 – Sluglines and Action Sequences


3771819483_a7e0db754a_zBe honest; when you saw the word ‘sluglines’ is this what you imagined in your head? I hope not but, if you did, allow me to suggest that you make a quick pit stop over at part one of this tutorial series? It’ll take you but a moment to read through it, and it’ll give you the intro to the terms we’ll be using throughout the series… which is kinda useful, right?

So… in this lesson I’m going to be teaching you a little about sluglines – the lines of text which tell us where a particular scene takes place – and action sequences which, frankly, covers just about everything else you see on the screen that isn’t dialogue. Seriously, dearest Trainee Writer, this is the big one. You’re going to be using these things a lot, so let’s get on with it.

Slugline Structure

Unlike the trails left by actual slugs, the sluglines we use in the language of film are actually completely straightforward and come in three parts. Actually, come to think of it, most things in screenwriting come in three parts. Yes, we’re going to pick that conversation up in future, too. It’s a doozy, though, so stay tuned…

The first part of the slugline is very simple; it tells you what kind of location we’re in. Most of the time, this is going to be one of two options: Interior or Exterior. When we use them in a screenplay, we tend to just abbreviate them to INT. and EXT. – the shorthand makes for a much easier read which, ultimately is always our goal.

The difference between the two should be fairly self-explanatory; an interior location is one that takes place inside a building, while an exterior location is outside. As I said, simple, right?

The second part of the slugline is the location itself. This part, again, is very straightforward. It’s where we are. A warehouse, a dog track, a church, a park, a house, even a particular room of said house. As long as your INT. or EXT. match up with your location – you know, you’re not writing INT. A FIELD or something – then you’ve got this one nailed.

See how simple this is so far? That’s what we’re going for. I’m not going to bog you down in unnecessary complications on this journey. I want you to be able to read these tutorials and get going. Although, to be honest, I’m probably burning more words than I should be. Ah, well. If you’re a writer and you’re not a little verbose, I’d be surprised. Although, ironically, that’s actually not a good thing in a screenplay always. More on that later, too!

Let’s wrap up our slugline by talking about the third part: the time. This can be simple, or it can be complicated, but here’s the most basic way of doing it: use NIGHT or DAY. If it’s supposed to be light outside, it’s daytime. Dark is night-time. Simple, right?

Now, there are other ways of doing this. You can be more specific as long as you’re consistent and the information is vital to the script. Is it DAWN? Is it DUSK? It could be. Does one scene immediately follow another? Then it’s CONTINUOUS. Is this scene in the same location as the previous one but at a different time? Try LATER and variations of it. Maybe you’ve lucked out and you’re writing an episode of 24 or something in a similar, ‘real time’ vein… you could even specify the exact time. There are no hard and fast rules here, but as a Trainee Writer, I say keep everything simple. Baby steps, you know? Stick to DAY or NIGHT for now and the rest will follow. I promise, I’ll get deeply into when the other variations are appropriate down the line, or you can feel free to ask me in the comments section.

So, what does the complete slugline look like? This:

Frozen slug

Yeah, I went back to my graphical well. Sue me. (Please don’t sue me.)

Seriously, though… how easy was that. Try writing one of your own. See how simple that is? Dearest Trainee Writer, you just started writing your first scene. Awesome right? Good job!

Ready to move on to writing an action sequence? I’ll bet you are! Let’s do this.

Action stations

Remember what I said before? That writing action is the bulk of writing a screenplay? Master that and the rest will follow. I promise.

An action scene describes EVERYTHING that happens in a scene that isn’t someone talking. Think about that. If a character walks across a room, opens a jar of pickles, punches a cop, drives a car or turns into an alligator… it’s an action and you have to write it down. But here’s one caveat that I’ll have to really cover in detail at a later date: only write it down if it’s important. If it doesn’t matter than your character opens that jar of pickles, don’t write it down. Simple enough, right?

You also use action to introduce characters to a scene. This is an important thing that many writers will continually get wrong that I want to address while you’re still a new Trainee Writer. If it’s the first time a character appears in a script, you capitalise their name. If it’s the second, tenth or thousandth, DO NOT CAPITALISE THEM.

The reason for this is for the benefit of your reader. If a name is capitalised, it draws attention to the fact that you’ve introduced someone new that they need to add to the casting breakdown if they decide to buy from you. It doesn’t matter if this character is your lead, a supporting character or the waitress that appears for one scene, when they appear for the first time, you have to call that out.

The other key thing when you introduce a character, and only when you introduce that character, is to give some kind of description of who they are. Don’t be too specific if it doesn’t need to be specific. When I started to write screenplays the rule of thumb was that you always write the character’s age and a physical description every time you introduce them. Frankly, this is becoming obsolete and many writers don’t realise it. Yes, I’m trying to start you ahead of the curve again. Instead, try to write what the character actually is. You don’t need to state a gender unless their name is gender-neutral or the character is somewhere on the non-binary scale (most screenwriters won’t tell you about

You don’t need to state a gender unless their name is gender-neutral or the character is somewhere on the non-binary scale (most screenwriters won’t tell you about this, because it’s so new as a concept for society. I’m trying to keep this progressive!)

You don’t need to tell us the character is ‘pretty’ or ‘attractive’ – this is the movies. Everybody is pretty unless you state otherwise! You don’t need to say that a character is tall or fat or Asian or Jewish, either, unless it’s relevant to your plot.

Keep it simple. Just tell us their name and a few personality traits, along with their actions. For example:

  • This is DAVE; clumsy and impulsive, he’s carrying a traffic cone.
  • Meet JANE, a carefree schoolteacher trying to juggle textbooks and coffee.

Why do we do this? In the past, there was an almost overbearing trend of casting on the page. Everyone was 19, white and blonde or 85, black and walked with a stick. It never had any bearing on their character, though. Dave is clumsy and impulsive. Why tell anyone if he’s black, white or Martian or how old he is if it’s not absolutely vital? If you’ve said he’s a 25-year-old tall white guy, but the guy who can play the role best is Kevin Hart, why would you rule him out at the script stage? Leave the possible casting for your roles as open as possible. Same with Jane. If you give her a wooden leg and tell us she’s overweight, you’re limiting the casting pool. Without that description, maybe that’s the perfect role for Jennifer Lawrence. How many overweight, one-legged schoolteacher type actresses can you name? I’m waiting…

We’re trying to sell these screenplays. Don’t put up unnecessary roadblocks.

I guess we should talk about the actual exercise of writing action. Here’s what it looks like:

labor day action

Notice how it looks like prose but… badly written prose? Well, that’s kind of how it is, but it’s a fantastically written action passage. We’re trying to tell as much story as we can, in actions, in as few words as possible. That means we have to cut corners sometimes. Short, even abrupt, sentences peppered with descriptions. Describe as much as we can as quickly as we can.

The other thing to notice is that we always write in active verbs. Everything is happening now, not in the past-tense. Notice how the hand in the example above ‘goes’ through the closet? The clothes ‘are’ worn and a little dated? Imagine it like this: you’re watching the scene happen, not telling your friends about something you just saw. Take a look at this GIF:

giphy

Think about how you would describe that in prose, or if you were telling a friend about it. “Batman glided to the ground, lowered his cape and stared menacingly” or something similar, right?

Well, in a screenplay, we’d describe it like this: “Batman glides to a the ground, halting abruptly as he wraps himself in his cape and stares menacingly..”

It’s a simple change of tense, but see how that one tiny detail makes everything seem way more important, immediate and urgent? Try it yourself. Pick a movie scene, and write it in past and present tense and see which one you like the best. See which version you can imagine in your head.

And with that, I think I’ve covered most of the basics of how to do sluglines and action sequences, but – as always – if you have questions or if you’ve spotted anything I’ve missed, let me know in the comments below, or hit me up on Twitter (@chasinglamely) and I’ll try to answer as best I can.

Thanks for reading, and have a productive week!

signature

July 29, 2016 Posted by | Ideas, lessons, screenwriting, Theory, writing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Screenwriting Basics #1 – Layout, Format and Elements


hardatwork

Does this look familiar? You’re sitting in your curiously lavish apartment, wearing the jeans you’ve owned since you were fifteen (but refuse to throw out because of the memories) whilst your faithful dog stares at you expectantly, as if to say “you told me you were going to be a screenwriter, but your laptop isn’t even on. Come on, man, make with the typing already.”

Probably not, but I couldn’t find a free stock photo of the reality, which is probably of you, the Trainee Writer, sat in either a dingy coffee shop or your living room; laptop open, cursor blinking, pile of screenwriting books at your side and a dream of writing down your big idea… and wondering where to start.

Well, fear no more, for I was looking for something to teach this week and decided to fire out some screenwriting lessons for absolute beginners… just in case one happens to stumble across this little blog of mine.

As you’ve probably deduced from my extremely creative and catchy title, we’re going to go right to the very beginning and talk about the layout, format and elements that make up a screenplay. We’ll talk about what they are, what they do and how to use them.

Margins of error

I’m going to start by talking you through one of the absolute most common questions I see new Trainee Writers asking: “how do I set up my margins for a screenplay in Word?”

Simple answer? You don’t. Back in the olden days, when your choices were to spring for the cost of buying Final Draft or just forcing your way through with your custom margins in the copy of Word 98 that came with your PC, it made sense for the Trainee Writer to spend their time fiddling with these things (and, if you still want to, you can Google those measurements – have fun!) but, honestly, it’s really not worth it anymore. There’s so much great screenwriting software on the market – both commercial and free – that you really don’t need to ever dust off that copy of Word For Dummies to do this.

Let me get you started by talking you through some of the products that I’ve used and would personally recommend. You should feel free to do your own research, but these are the three that I’ve used personally:
final-draft-9-box-writers-store_medium

Final Draft has, for the longest time, been the absolute industry standard in the movie business. Anyone who wants to be taken seriously as a professional screenwriter owns a copy. That doesn’t, however, mean that you have to rush out and buy it. You’re a Trainee Writer. You’re learning. Just as nobody ever learned to drive in a Formula One car, you might not want to learn to write screenplays using the top-line software. After all, if you get to page ten and decide this writing thing isn’t for you, that’s an awful lot of money you’ve just thrown away.

Here are the basic, though: Final Draft is the best there is. When you’re ready to commit to this as a serious career pursuit, and I really hope you’ll decide that it’s for you, then you can buy it very easily by clicking here to make a purchase. The current asking price is $249.99, but this is my personal go-to as a writer. I’ve been using it for nearly a decade and, even though I’ve tried almost everything else at one stage or another, I always come back to Final Draft.

Celtx-logo

Celtx started out as a small freeware project designed for Trainee Writers like you and me. When I started using it way back in around 2004/5, it was the best free screenwriting software on the market. Versatile, easy to use and small enough to run easily on any of our antiquated PCs of the day. In fact, Celtx 1.0 is such a favourite that I keep the install file on me at all times (it’s saved on my phone’s memory card) just in case I’m not near a laptop of my own and need to throw something on the page.

Thankfully, they’ve now rendered my methods terribly old-fashioned, by switching to an effective and free cloud-based service. If you want to give them a shot, go sign up at Celtx.com and see it for yourself.

writerduetlogowonly512

WriterDuet is my final recommendation. It’s a rapidly up-and-coming contender in the screenwriting market and offers full compatibility with Final Draft, which is a huge plus. It’s completely free unless you want some subscription-based extras, and the developer, Guy, is an incredibly friendly chap who can often be found sharing his insights – as well as offering first-hand, first-class customer service – over on Reddit’s screenwriting subs. One of the great benefits of WriterDuet is that it allows for collaborative working, with multiple writers able to simultaneously view and amend the same script. Very useful if you’ve decided to work in a partnership with someone!

WriterDuet can be found by clicking on this link and signing up to the service.

Okay… software advice out-of-the-way – and I should now have convinced you to avoid the horrors of using a word processor – it’s time that I broke down each of those individual elements. So let’s…

fade-in

For those who have seen these mysterious words before, that’s usually the first thing we see when we open a screenplay. It tells us where the beginning is and should be immediately followed by a Scene Heading, which is most often referred to as a ‘slugline’ by most writers. Have a look at this example from the screenplay from Frozen, as written by Jennifer Lee:

Frozen slug

If you’re not yet used to reading screenplays – and I highly recommend you read some, because you really can’t be a screenwriter until you’ve read an awful lot of them – then this (and every) slugline gives us three very important pieces of information.

EXT. tells us that this is an exterior scene; that is, it take place outside. A scene held inside would be marked as INT. – shorthand for interior.

The second part tells us where we are exactly: the ‘snow-capped mountains.’ It doesn’t matter if we’re in an office, underwater, on the moon or over the rainbow. It’s vital information and it always forms the second part of a slugline.

Finally, you’ll notice that there’s a dash followed by the word ‘dusk’ – the third part of a slugline gives us the time at which the scene takes place. It can be day, night, dusk, dawn, morning, afternoon… whenever. I’ve seen screenplays use the exact time in the slugline. As a Trainee Writer, though, it’s best to keep it simple: stick to ‘day` and ‘night.’

You’ll notice, and this is very important, that it’s written all in capitals. A slugline is ALWAYS capitalised.

Let’s get into the heart of the story: the action. This sample comes from Jason Reitman’s script for Labor Day:

labor day action

That’s a small sample of what we call ‘action’ – we use it any time that we describe what’s going on in a scene and it’s the screenwriter’s best friend. This is what you’ll be writing, ideally, around 70% of the time. If anybody in any scene does anything, this is how you tell your reader. Characters are introduced in action lines, too – something that will be a little alien to you if you’re coming at this form the angle of being a playwright or writing long form fiction – with their name capitalised and vital details given. But I’ll explain how to write each of these elements in a future installment dedicated to the art of writing the action sequence.

Next on our list of screenplay elements is the one most people get excited about: the dialogue. Let me show you this sample from the wonderful Pixar animation Inside Out, written by Pete Doctor, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley:

inside out dialogue

For those who haven’t seen the film, or even passingly aware of it, Fear, Disgust and Anger are characters in the movie who live inside the head of a little girl and control her reactions to everything… it makes sense in context. Anyway, notice that Character names, which are listed as ‘character‘ in your choice of elements, are capitalised, whereas dialogue – marked as such in the elements drop down – is written similarly to prose. You’ll also see ‘parentheticals‘ listed in your drop down menu. These should be used sparingly, between character names and actual dialogue, if – and only if – it’s essential to indicate that the dialogue is said in a certain way. Please, please, please don’t use this unless it’s not completely obvious what the intent of a line is. Actors hate it. Directors hate it. I hate it, too.

Like action scenes, I’ll be dedicating an entirely separate post to the art of crafting dialogue in the near future. When I do, that’ll magically become a link to the page, too. You know, for ease of navigation and all.

There is one other element you’ll see listed in your drop down box that you will actually use when starting out. That one is transition.

Transitions should, like parentheticals, be used extremely sparingly. There isn’t an image from a famous screenplay that is going to make this any easier for you to understand, but it does exactly what the name suggests: it denotes the style of transition from one scene to the next. These are also always capitalised, and common transitions include ‘CUT TO:’, ‘FADE TO:’ and ‘FADE OUT.’ The meanings of these terms should be fairly self-explanatory, but I’ll go into it in a little more detail when we get further into these lessons.

That should cover all the basic elements of the layout and format of a screenplay. You’ll probably be wondering what certain terms in that elements drop down box mean that I haven’t covered. Depending on which software you use, you’ll have options like ‘shot,’ ‘act break,’ and ‘cast list’ among others. Ignore them – for now. They’re used in very specialised parts of the writing process and I’ll cover those in due course. For now, stick with the ones I’ve just highlighted and make sure you understand what they’re all for.

If you have questions, I’ll answer them in the comments below or on Twitter (@chasinglamely is my username) and see where we go from there. I next week’s lesson, I’ll be covering the use of sluglines and action in more detail, and as a bonus for the intermediate writers (and to give the new ones a bit of a head start) I’ll be teaching you how to make your action sequences and sluglines really tight in the process.

Until then… happy writing!

signature

Kriss

 

July 22, 2016 Posted by | lessons, screenwriting, Theory, writing | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Letting Trends Set You


Okay, so it’s been a little while since I updated this little blog of mine with any kind of insightful hints and tips into the craft of writing and – as usual – it’s been birthed by my recurring and endless struggle with writer’s block.

So in today’s long awaited post, I’m going to be exploring some ways of finding inspiration through social media. Actually, I’m going to be doing it from a single source of social media (a social medium?) that we all know and love to hate: Twitter.

funny-twitter-facebook

Now, even though I haven’t blogged about this myself (because, as anyone who has read my blog *ever* will attest, I update about once every four years) a lot of the expert writing teachers are strongly recommending that all aspiring writers flock to Twitter. It’s supposed to teach us about engagement, character voices, brevity and all sorts of things that I’ve forgotten are things. Basically, the message is ‘tweeting good’ and you should take this opportunity to follow me on Twitter so that you can receive great insights like this from me on the daily:

Yep. Insights.

So why am I talking Tweeting today? It wasn’t actually to shamelessly plug my own feed, surprisingly, but to point you to the one handy tool that can help the blocked writer find inspiration: the list of what’s trending.

Now, as most of my audience is probably aware, a lot of what Hollywood does (or the publishing industry – I don’t want to forget the budding novelists) is trend-based. They’re either trying to follow one or set one at all times. Now, obviously, unless you’re a super-powered self-publishing novelist, your chances of getting your work out there whilst a trend is ongoing on Twitter are approximately similar to my chances of persuading Mila Kunis to let me film her playing NES atop Mount Everest. That doesn’t make them useless…

Most writers are familiar with the concept of a ‘word prompt’ contest; Writing.com offers one almost daily and the basic concept is this: Every day you get a word. You write a short story, or poem or haiku or ransom note based upon that word. Winner gets plaudits.

Think of Twitter like the world’s biggest word prompt generator. Instead of getting one a day, the trending function gives you unlimited, ever-changing prompts every second of every day. And you can use these to inspire you to write your way out of that block. Don’t believe me? Let’s see what’s trending right now, and we’ll see if we can’t find some loglines in there…

Trends

What should be immediately apparent is that you can’t and won’t be able to use every trend to generate an idea. For example, Pokemon and Shutter Island are existing properties. I don’t own the rights to them, I can’t use them outright… but maybe we can take Shutter Island as a concept, not a property, and do something. Things like “Bellator 158” are okay to discard out of hand, though. Unless you have a great sports movie in mind, of course. MTV Hottest, likewise, doesn’t spark anything great.

So what does that leave? Let’s take a look.

Life Lessons In Five Words sounds for all the world like it has the potential to be some kind of romantic comedy or romance novel; think “Silver Linings Playbook” or similar. Let’s think about it some more; what might those five words be? We could look at the trend and see what people are replying with, but that’s cheating our creativity. Let’s pick those five words:

Live. Love. Laugh. Dream. Believe.

I think those are five strong words we can use. They would even be title cards if we played five acts, or leitmotifs to draw from. So where’s the logline here? How about this:

Life Lessons In Five Words

“A cubicle worker is inspired in a journey of self-discovery by a cryptic five word note that he receives in his father’s will.”

I can see that movie. I already know how that could go. It feels almost like the beginnings of a Nicholas Sparks book, doesn’t it? Let’s try another…

Unmade Film Prequels could be interesting in some ways. Obviously, this goes back to the rights issue: we don’t own any film franchises, so how can we write prequels?

Well, simple. An idea isn’t something that you can own. Just because James Bond exists, doesn’t mean that a similar idea like The Bourne Identity can’t. So, let’s think of a film and figure out what happened before it, and how we can make that idea into something original.

Let’s try Rocky out for size, just for the simple reason that it’s a movie that everyone knows with a simple premise: An unknown club boxer gets the chance to fight the heavyweight champion of the world and win the heart of the girl he loves. But what happens before we meet Rocky Balboa for the first time?

Think about what we know about him: He’s a small-time club boxer, he’s involved as some kind of enforcer for a loan shark, he’s a labourer. He loves animals. That’s a lot of unanswered questions to work with. Why did he become a boxer? How did he get involved with the mob? Why does he love animals so much? Rocky’s backstory could be a great movie.

So, let’s turn this into a logline:

Unmade Film Prequel: The Boxer

“After witnessing his father’s murder, a young farm hand trains as a boxer in an attempt to infiltrate the mob family who killed him.”

This character isn’t Rocky, but I’ve taken just a few unanswered questions from his past, given them an answer and spun a story from it. It makes sense in the context of who Rocky becomes, but it’s original enough that nobody can sue for it.

Now, I’m going to semi-skip “Turkey” for good reason: they’re currently having a bit of a sticky political situation (a coup which might eventually be a movie in its own right) but I will say this: there’s one hell of a Christmas or Thanksgiving comedy that could come from that as a name itself…

Finally, because I’ve now written more words in this entry than I ever intended, let’s circle back to “Shutter Island.” Now, obviously, that’s already a movie: an outstanding mystery-thriller set on a psychiatric facility on the eponymous island. That doesn’t mean that’s all the title has to offer. It’s time to channel my best Ted Mosby impression.

“Kids, way back in the day, we had this wonderful invention that we called a Dictionary, which was sort of like spellcheck but with some work involved. A Dictionary told us what words mean. It had a companion book that was also useful, called a Thesaurus. That told us what words were similar to the words in a dictionary. Together, they allowed us to do more with the English language.”

The kids, naturally, shrug at this point and return to Pokemon Go. But we’re going to go old school: we’re going to put the words ‘shutter’ and ‘island’ into a dictionary.

So, we learn that a ‘shutter’ can be a cover for an opening, a person who shuts (or closes) something or it’s a mechanical part of a camera lens. Those are things we can use for inspiration. And an island? Obviously, we have the geological definition of land surrounded by water. But it’s also something isolated, it can be a kitchen work surface, something a fuel pump sits on or a clump of woodland. That’s a lot of possibilities from two words. Maybe there’s something interesting about a man who photographs fuel pumps? Perhaps there’s a story about a hidden island in there. Interesting places to start. Let’s see what our Thesaurus throws our way, shall we?

So, a ‘shutter’ could be replaced with a screen, a cover, a shade or a curtain… all things which we use to hide things. Suddenly we’ve got a theme developing. Maybe our guy who photographs fuel pumps is doing it to solve a mystery? That’s certainly interesting. Can we add to that? I think we can.

Take a long look at some of the synonyms of the word ‘island’ and remember, we’re not necessarily taking them at what they mean in context.

Key. Refuge. Haven. Shelter. Retreat. Bar. These are all very evocative, versatile words. Maybe that fuel pump thing isn’t the most interesting thing we can do with the word ‘island’ after all. What if we take our photography theme and our mystery that needs solving and find a logline that looks a little like this:

“A photojournalist investigating a mysterious murder takes shelter among refugees in the aftermath of a tsunami.”

Yes, it needs work. It’s imperfect. But there’s a story there. You know that one of the refugees is going to be the killer without being told. You know that he’s got all kinds of difficulties to prevent him solving it. It’s a beginning.

And a beginning is the one thing every story has in common.

Try it for yourself, and let me know in the comments (or on Twitter) if you manage to make this work for you. It’s worked for me – my block is gone (for now!) – and now I have a whole bunch of new ideas to work on.

Keep writing, keep smiling.

Kriss

July 16, 2016 Posted by | Ideas, lessons, screenwriting, specs, Theory, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Review: BiZ Da Troof – “All Night All Day”


Something that I wrote for TheCarmineProject.com – enjoy!

thecarmineproject

A native of Cincinnati, OH, BiZ Da Troof has been in the game for a long time; unlike those who like to make the claim to boost their reps, BiZ has genuinely been hustling since an early age (the bio on his website, BizDaTroof.com, mentions him raking in the cash in pool halls from childhood) and has worked hard to earn a place in the music industry and it isn’t hard to appreciate his talent.

All Night All Day is a prime example of what he’s all about; a no frills, no BS, honest-to-god hip-hop tune. No big talk about drugs, guns and pretending to be ‘from the streets’ that have become the staple of many a milquetoast mainstream pretender to be found here; this is perfection in simplicity: a catchy beat, tight lyrics and effortless performance from a man who has clearly worked hard to perfect his art.

While

View original post 241 more words

April 27, 2014 Posted by | writing | Leave a comment

Teaching your characters to drive…


Ever watched a movie and thought ‘that would never happen?’ or wondered why a movie that sounded so amazing from the synopsis or looked so great in a trailer failed to deliver? Chances are that somewhere along the line, somebody forgot to sort out the character arc of one of the lead or key supporting characters.

 

Our characters are the tent poles upon which everything else in our scripts needs to be hung. Everything about them – their personalities, their desires, their personal journeys – is vital because they hold our entire story together. So today, I’m going to teach you a little bit about character development and how it relates to story; I’ll start with the basics (a nice refresher for those who have been doing this a while) then throw in some more advanced things to think about and pay attention to. The goal of all of this is to make your characters more compelling and add depth to your cinematic world.

 

So where do we begin? Let’s start to build a screenplay from the very basics: turning a concept into a plot using the characters. Let’s look at a highly-clichéd example – the teen rom-com. We’ll keep it as basic as possible, because (I assume) we’ve all seen at least one of these movies in our lifetime. So let’s tell the age-old story of the nerd who fell in love with a cheerleader.

 

Right from the start, we have our two characters that we’ll keep as stereotypes (for now) to keep this easy to follow. NOAH is the nerd; he loves math, video games and is obsessed with the TV show Firefly. BRITTANY is our cheerleader. She loves clothes, shoes and tormenting people, and is dating a quarterback. Because that’s, like, her job or something.

 

See what just happened? I added a character. TYSON, our quarterback, is necessary because he’ll serve as our antagonist. He, as Brittany’s boyfriend, is the obstacle standing between Noah and what he truly desires. And yes, he’s a stereotypical jock. He likes beer, girls, cars, sports and shoving nerds into lockers. Lovely.

 

These are our three leads. They’re very, very typical of this kind of movie, so nobody will criticize you for using them too much. It’s not original (yet) but there really are no truly original stories anymore. So how do we make them all more interesting?

 

Let’s start with Noah. Yes, we already know he loves math, video games and Firefly. But he’s going to need more than that to a) make the reader/audience like him and b) to get the girl. And that’s what we’re rooting for, right? So let’s make him a bit cooler. Noah also speaks Chinese, plays bass and has a passion for restoring classic cars. In fact, when he’s not doing homework, playing video games or watching Firefly reruns on SyFy, he’s most commonly found in his garage, either working on the ‘68 Mustang he’s been rebuilding from salvaged parts or jamming with his band. Bands are always cool, right? And I vaguely remember that a certain someone loves cars…

 

That’s right, Tyson. See, in a love triangle situation, it’s far more believable that our hero will steal the other guy’s girl if they have something in common. I mean, she obviously has something in common with the guy she’s with, doesn’t she? So it makes sense they’d have at least one thing – other than her – in common too. Tyson loves classic cars. In fact, his old man bought him a Chevy Camaro as a gift when he got his license. But we need to give Brittany a reason to want rid of Tyson, otherwise Noah’s the bad guy for trying to steal his girl. So we make them different. In fact, we take some of Noah’s attributes and give Tyson the polar opposite ones. Noah loves math, Tyson only uses it for working out his passing average. Noah speaks Chinese, Tyson barely speaks English. Noah likes Firefly, but the most intellectually stimulating show Tyson has ever watched is Sportscenter. Noah is a nerd, Tyson hates nerds. They might be able to talk cars, but these two characters are already set up to hate each other.

 

So where does that leave Brittany? Well, ultimately, she needs to have more in common with one guy (Noah) than the other (Tyson), but it’s important to reveal this slowly. She might be impressed with Tyson’s Camaro, for example, but her favourite movie of all time is Bullitt. So a ’68 Mustang will probably get her a little hot under the hood. She might like football, but she’d rather play Madden than the real thing. She likes beer, but she can always introduce Noah to beer later. Firefly? She owns the box set. And she won’t find Noah’s habit of switching to Chinese mid-sentence as annoying as others – not just because of this, but because her (adoptive) parents are Chinese. She speaks it fluently.

 

So now we have three characters with a lot more depth than just their stereotypes, and we’ve even found some originality in there. It’s time to break out our trusty index cards (what? You don’t own index cards? And you call yourself a screenwriter! Buy some!) and see what scenes we can get from these character traits.

 

Scene Ideas

 

Let’s see what scenes these character traits give rise to; once we’ve got possibilities, we can begin to organise them and thread them all together.

  • Tyson catches Noah admiring Brittany from afar in the hallway and stuffs him into his locker.
  • Noah is practising with his band, as they’ve got a big band competition coming up. Unfortunately, he’s distracted thinking about Brittany and he opens up to his bandmates about it. One of them, his best friend LISA, is clearly torn about giving him advice because she has a thing for him.
  • Tyson gets wary of Noah’s growing relationship with Brittany and goes to pay him a visit. He finds Noah under the hood of his Mustang and is quietly impressed with the nerd’s ride. Not impressed enough, however, to stop him warning Noah off and dropping the catch – and the hood – on his head.
  • Noah and Brittany get teamed together on a science project; she insists they do it at his house because she doesn’t want him to know where she lives. While working on it, she begins to find out the things they have in common – similar music tastes, cars, etc. These study dates slowly become more and more like regular dates when he impresses her in small ways.
  • Noah discovers that Tyson has cheated on Brittany with her best friend, CANDY, and decides to tell her. She accuses him of making it all up to split them up.
  • They attend the spring formal; Tyson has Brittany as his date, Noah goes with Lisa. Noah is still too distracted by Brittany for Lisa to win him over. Lisa and Noah argue, Lisa leaves, Noah follows but finds only Brittany, who’s looking for Tyson. While Noah and Brittany argue, they turn a corner to find Tyson making out with Candy. Brittany slaps both of them and storms off. Tyson storms off in the other direction, leaving Candy and Noah together. Candy asks Noah if he wants to make out in a throwaway gag and he walks off to resume his search for Lisa, leaving Candy confused.
  • Outside the formal, Brittany and Lisa collide in the parking lot. Lisa lectures her for breaking Noah’s heart, Brittany figures out that Lisa is in love with Noah and (in the process) that she’s in love with Noah, too. She even learns that the way she treats people is awful for good measure. Awkwardly sowing a seed of friendship/rivalry between the two.
  • Brittany and the popular girls tease Lisa for being, well, unpopular in the girls’ bathroom.
  • At a band practise, tensions arise when Lisa finds it hard to play a song that Noah has written about Brittany. Noah yells at her, she storms off and the drummer, WILL, tells Noah to wise up and realise that she’s into him and it’s not fair to ask her to play songs about Brittany.
  • In a big final showdown, everyone is in crisis. The band are backstage for the contest but Lisa hasn’t arrived. Lisa is busy working herself through to the point where she realises that it’d be selfish not to go and Brittany is cheerleading at the big game. This leads to the big resolution, where Lisa arrives, the band go on and Brittany realises that she’d rather be with Noah than at the game, telling Candy to take the head cheerleaders job she always wanted because she realises popularity isn’t everything, etc. Brittany heads to the band contest and arrives just as, at Lisa’s suggestion, they play the song Noah wrote about her. The crowd go mental, the band win the contest and Lisa drags Brittany onstage to be with Noah, leading to the kiss of destiny.
  • A big aftermath scene shows Brittany and Noah having their happily ever after, Lisa and Will dating and Tyson getting his just deserts when he finds his now-girlfriend Candy making out with a random nerd. Probably at prom or something.

 

You’ll probably notice a few things while reading this: A) This isn’t a complete plot. B) I haven’t made use of every character trait I mapped out and C) this isn’t in any kind of order. The idea at this point isn’t to have a complete plot, but a set of scenes that I can write to get myself moving. The left-over character traits give me things that I can use to make up the scenes that string them together. And the order? That’s the joy of index cards – you can switch them around until they do make sense!

 

You’ll also notice that in the process of scribbling this together, I added three new characters: Lisa, Candy and Will. All three of these characters add key elements to the plot which serve to drive the action along.

 

Lisa serves to both provide a character that can give Noah advice and to provide a reflection on the main romance by way of her (rather complex) feelings for our hero. It’s also vital that he have a female best friend, as it gives me options down the line – she isn’t just there for him to talk to, but he’s comfortable enough with her to ask her for girl advice and we can use her to show how he interacts with women he knows versus those he doesn’t.

 

Candy serves as Brittany’s antagonist, but from the unusual position of also being her best friend. The way their relationship fluctuates gives Brittany’s world depth – she’s her partner in crime, her confidant and her sidekick one minute, while the next she’s proving the very caricature of the difference between the two worlds. Her purpose is as much to provide Brittany with a rival as it is to highlight the superficiality that Brittany is moving away from by remaining fairly constant while Brittany changes.

 

Will, meanwhile, serves as the voice of reason at the times when Noah needs it most. He’s almost the voice of the audience, telling our hero the things we already know when it becomes vital that he knows it. Simply put, he’s there to pull Noah’s head out of his arse. Also, he serves the purpose of softening the blow for the viewers who will inevitably begin to root for Lisa a little; he’s not the guy she initially wanted, but he was the one paying attention to her when nobody else did and he’s clearly a good guy. They work together well enough to satisfy the audience’s desires and tie off a loose end in a simple, effective way.

 

Just knowing the purpose of these three characters isn’t enough reason to have them there. Yes, it’s important that they serve a purpose, but they have to be fully-formed in order to fit into your finished work. It’s just as important to both your character and story arcs that you make them fully three dimensional.

 

I’m not going to go into as much detail here on these characters as much as I did with the three leads, but I will tell you that you need to go as in-depth with your supporting and minor characters as you did with your leads. Even the tiniest discrepancy is enough for someone to say ‘I’m not buying that’ and move onto the next script.

 

Another important character point that helps drive plot is the concept of background. You’ve undoubtedly heard people talk about background before, and specifically about how you should know what each of your characters was doing immediately before you started telling your story. And they’re right – that can make all the difference between an average script and a great script. But let’s take that one step further. I’m of the opinion that you should also know what each character was doing immediately before they entered each scene.

 

Did Brittany stop at the Drive-Thru for a coffee and a McMuffin between the game and the band contest? Probably not. But what if she did? That changes the emotions of the scene entirely. And knowing these little details are tools that you, like the great writers, should be willing and able to use to add depth to your script. Always remember: the characters need to feel like real, three-dimensional people. And real people have lives of their own even when you aren’t around to observe them. So should your characters. Always be thinking about what could have happened off-screen that can improve the way a character comes into a scene.

 

I’ll cover the lone concept of plot more thoroughly down the line, but for those of you having character trouble that’s holding you back, I’ll give you a quick checklist to iron out the snags.

 

Character Checklist

 

For each character, do you know:

  • Their goals. Short- and long-term?
  • Their complete backstory?
  • Their likes and dislikes?
  • What makes them special/unique?
  • How they speak?
  • How they change?

 

If you can’t answer all of the above- for every character – then you need to work on that character.

 

One final thing to remind you – it’s vital that, like a puzzle, you know exactly how your characters fit together. Why would the depressed, psychopathic goth chick and the rich, handsome pretty boy fall in love? Why are a cat and a dog best friends? Why do the aliens want to work with us instead of killing us? They must have something in common. And if they don’t, your whole plot just fell apart in much the same way those relationships would in real life. People don’t just bond arbitrarily, they bond based on having something – anything – in common.

 

I’ll undoubtedly be back with more on this, but until that day comes…

 

Happy writing.

 

Kriss

May 23, 2013 Posted by | writing | , , , , | 1 Comment

Frustrating Firsts


Remember the first time you typed the magical words “FADE OUT”? That feeling of accomplishment of having finished your first script and feeling ready to take on the world? Amazing, wasn’t it? So, for my first blog post in far too long, I want to address something that’s been bothering me of late – the debut screenplay.

Why has this been bothering me? Because in the 21st century, anyone with a laptop and a bootleg copy of Final Draft has decided that they’re a screenwriter, and they expect that their first 90-page (or, more usually, 72- or 175-page) effort will sell immediately and they’ll be catapulted to the Hollywood A-list. And it happens once per million scripts. In fact, your chances are only mildly slimmer of winning the lottery than they are of selling a debut script.

As a big internet trawler (it’s not ‘procrastinating,’ it’s research), I come across a lot of forum/discussion posts by folk who’ve written their first script and are asking how to sell it. Don’t waste the effort is my advice. Just open a new window, type FADE IN and start again. Even starting the post with “I’ve just written my first script, it’s AWESOME and AMAZEBALLS! Now, how do I get it to Tom Cruise?” is a massive waste of effort. Tom Cruise isn’t going to read your first script unless, if you ever become ‘lucky’ enough to make an impact on this business, become a major director and slowly befriend him, you decide to show it to him as a bit if a laugh twenty years from now.

See, your first script is a lot like those other milestone firsts in life: the first step, the first kiss, the first car, the first home, the first time you had sex… all felt like they were awesome at the time, right? Except you fell over after your first step, the first kiss was sloppy, awkward and too wet, the first car was a rust bucket that cost you £200 and you only got 100 miles out of and the first home was actually a dingy, damp room in a house that you shared with a crack addict and an unemployed musician who was “just working at Starbucks until I find a new drummer, man.” And the first time you had sex… well, I mean, I was pretty awesome the first time, but I know for most people it was probably the most exciting thirty seconds of their life before one of them had to use the time-honoured phrase “I’m sorry, that’s never happened to me before…”

See, it is a truth, universally acknowledged, that the first scripts every screenwriter – aspiring or successful – ever wrote was terrible. Mine would be charitably describable as a steaming pile of dog shit on a hot day. Most people have similar experiences to relate.

So kids, don’t sweat the first script… just get it done, put it in a draw, and use it as a learning tool. Zepplin wrote a lot of crap in the early days, too. And there’s a reason you’ve never heard any of it. The first five scripts (minimum) are your apprenticeship. They’re where you apply the lessons you learned from the last screenwriting book or blog you read. Sure, if the premise is good, they might one day see the light of day in some form; maybe you win an Oscar, remember the script you wrote about the Clown with AIDS when you were nineteen and decide to play with it again. I don’t know. But selling takes time. Don’t panic, don’t worry and – for the love of Christ – don’t go on the internet telling people it’s the greatest thing since Citizen Kane. Those of us who know better just treat such claims with mild amusement – and that includes every experienced writer, director and producer on the circuit.

I’ll be back very soon with an update on the irons I have in the fire, but until then… look after yourselves, and each other. (Springer ending!)

Kriss

March 28, 2013 Posted by | lessons, screenwriting, specs, writing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest Blog: “Tips for Creating an Author’s Website” by Lauren Williams


If you’re an author, having your own website is an excellent way to promote your work, develop your personal brand, and connect with others. It’s just about essential nowadays, and with so many helpful website building tools, it doesn’t have to be incredibly difficult, either. Your website is a direct reflection of you and your work, so it pays to take the time to get it right. Here are some tips to help you create a successful author’s website.

Biography

One of the most important pages on your website is a biography page. This is where people will get to learn more about you personally. It will help them understand who you are and what the motivations and values are behind your work. Take time to craft a bio that provides a clear, concise look into your life. You don’t want to go into extreme detail, but mention things like where and how you grew up, how you came to be an author, and what your life is like now.

You should also mention all of the professional honors, awards, and designations you’ve received, which may or may not be its own separate page, depending on how many you have.

Photo

You should include at least one professional photograph on your website, because people want to be able to put a face to your name. You don’t have to plaster it all over the site, but one discreetly placed photo on your bio page is appropriate. If you’d like, you can include a few more personal photographs to represent yourself, but make sure all your photos go with the image you want to portray to the world.

Contact Information

Provide a page with contact information, which will generally include an email address and a mailing address. If you want, provide a contact form so that people can email you directly from your site; this encourages more feedback from visitors.

Book Pages

Unless you have dozens of books, it’s a good idea to make a separate page for each book you’ve written or collaborated on. On each book page, describe the book and provide brief commentary on something like your personal vision for the book. Include information on where the book can be purchased, along with a direct link if applicable. People want to learn more about your work, so give them some information they can’t find elsewhere.

You may also want to include a separate page that will talk about or tease your upcoming releases.

Mailing List and Social Media

On the homepage of your website, include a box where people can input their email addresses to become part of your mailing list. This way you can contact people when your next book comes out! On your homepage or your contact page, you should also include links to your social media, such as a direct link for people to like or follow you.

There are many ways you can organize your author’s website – just remember that it should be an informational site that can act as a sort of portfolio for you.

Lauren Williams is a freelance writer and published author.  She enjoys journalism and creative writing as well as fiction novels.

November 20, 2012 Posted by | Guest Blog, writing | , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest Blog: “Pilot Season” by Serge Kozak


The Pilot Season, what is before and what follows 

Pilot Season is usually the time of the year, when all TV series promoters produce prototypes of their new series, called “Pilot”.

What  actually is the development cycle of a TV series?

It starts in autumn, when a writer/producer with good reputation presents his or her idea for a new series to the network or studio.  If the latter like the idea, they decide to make a Pilot. The writer/producer works out the script of the Pilot. If they like the script, too, they start preparing for shooting the Pilot.

In the first months of the new year, a casting director is chosen to breakdown the script. The breakdown contains: the names of the producer, writer and director of the Pilot; the studio; the type of show (drama, sitcom, action, etc.); when and where the shooting will be; description and requirements of the roles to be cast. The casting director should find the regulars, co-stars and guest stars, about twenty actors altogether for a pilot. This happens in about ten weeks.

Then Pilot season comes, usually January to March, even June of late, which is the hectic casting time for all actors.

The order of auditions is as follows: pre-read with the casting director, callback for the producer, a second callback for the producer to make the final choice of actors. The studio and the selected actors then start a “test deal option” – a detailed negotiation between the actor’s agent and the business department of the studio, leading eventually to a contract of usually five years. This contract will be signed before the actor goes for a test before the executives in the studio.

This great audition is the moment of truth; there is no second chance for the actor that fails it, not even for the great ones. If the executives fall for the actor, he/she will go to the last, the network test before the executives of the network that will broadcast the show.

There are usually three or four actor competing at this stage, a very ugly but frequent situation. The winner however can count on at least $50 000 for fourteen days of shooting the Pilot. If the “actor’s option is picked up”, i.e. he/she is taken for the role in the series, big money is following – from $15 000 upwards per episode.

When a Pilot is ready, it goes to the network/studio along with the other pilots produced in the same time. Then a decision is made whether and which pilot will go to series.  This decision is announced at the so-called Up Fronts, a magnificent media event in New York in May, where the general public and the actors themselves come to know what the new season will look like and who will be in it. Series production starts in July or August.

Many pilots never reach the phase of series. Pity for the efforts and hopes.

Pilot Season is the event and time of the year that many actors build their life plans around. They all have to take part in it if they want to have a chance to end up on the TV screen. For families with children actors this could be a frustration, even a tragedy, when children are taken out of their common environment and forced to compete like the elders. That however is the price paid for early success.

Serge Kozak is the founder of Edictive, a studio management software and film marketing company.

October 6, 2012 Posted by | Guest Blog, networks, screenwriting, specs, writing | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Development Diary] Lowering The Bar – #1


Before I go any further, let me preface this by saying that yes, I know, I said previously that I was going to spend 2012 tying up loose ends and finishing all my unfinished scripts. And that genuinely was my intention until I was tipped off on an exciting new opportunity.

Developing for the web is something that I’d previously considered; one of my unfinished projects, Housemates, was designed with the web in mind as something that I could produce with friends as a showcase for all of our talents. But the opportunity to do it, have it seen by a mass audience and be paid for it was too good to turn up.

This particular opportunity presented some very interesting challenges; the site that will be hosting and producing the show, ChannelFix.com, is based in the Philippines, which meant that I had to produce something that could be filmed over there but their target audience is for the American 18-30 market (give or take) which meant I needed something that could appeal there. Not the easiest set of parameters to write to. And it had to be low-budget.

Given carte blanche to pitch them whatever came into my head, effectively, I pitched two shows; the first of those shows, Lowering The Bar, is in the later stages of the writing process, which made it a great time to write a development diary to tell you how I got where I am with the project now.

Because I had to make this show to such a narrow set of guidelines, I decided to go with what I knew (to an extent) and pitched a show about a guy who arrives in the Philippines with a couple of his frat brothers to save his uncle’s failing bar.

It’s a sitcom, which means that it needed potential for conflict, which always comes from the characters and the situation. A group of American tourists is always great comedy fodder, so that was always going to make things interesting. Put them in a foreign country with its own language and culture for the long haul and you’ve got endless material to play with. Throw in a bar and a beach and you’ve got great settings for them to get into mischief. But it always comes back to those characters. Let’s meet them:

Scott – Our lead, early 20s and a former business student. He’s there to make the business a success and to reconnect with his family, but he’s hiding a secret from his alpha friends – he’s gay.

Mike – Also in his early 20s and was an engineering student. He’s calm collected, smooth and suave. He loves the ladies but wants to expand his intellectual horizons too. He loves to fix things – either literally or figuratively – and approaches every situation in a careful, considered way.

Tommy – the stereotypical frat boy, Tommy comes from a wealthy background but lacks intelligence. The fact that he graduated from college with a marketing degree is a mystery to everybody. He wants to party and get laid, his stupidity will get him (and the others) into trouble and he has a far higher opinion of himself than he should.

Riley – You can’t have conflict between guys without throwing a girl into the mix, that’s just the way life works. So enter the ridiculously attractive, super-snarky and highly intelligent bookworm Riley. Riley is Scott’s cousin, it’s her dad’s bar and she’s staying for the summer. She wants to have fun, but she also knows that she needs to keep an eye on the boys to stop them from burning the bar down!

Now, I’ve been lucky enough (he says, ironically) to work in various bars for the last few years, giving me plenty of experience to draw upon for stories here, but the most important part of writing comedy is to collaborate. That’s why I’ve been workshopping this at Zoetrope among friends, including my favourite comic genius, Shaula Evans and one of the finest unsigned writers I’ve ever come across (a 2009 & 2011 PAGE Semi-Finalist, 2010 Finalist) Jen Zinone. If we get a full series, hopefully those two fine minds (and others) will come aboard to write episodes for you to enjoy!

So, what more can I tell you? Plenty, but I’ll save it for next time when, hopefully, I’ll have a final draft of the script in pre-production in the Philippines and I’ll see if I can;t wrangle some notes, pictures and tales from the set for you to paw through!

In the meantime, don’t forget that the workshop here is still open for business and, if you want to track me down on Zoe, maybe you can join the LTB team!

Until next time…

x

March 7, 2012 Posted by | Development Diaries, networks, screenwriting, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2011: My Year In Review


Greetings loyal readers and a very belated Happy New Year to you all.

Having not posted for several weeks, I felt it important to get back on the horse, so to speak, and take a look at the things I’ve done to advance my screenwriting career in 2011. I’m ashamed to say that it won’t be such a long list as I anticipated.

The early part of the year was spent wallowing in self-pity as attempt-after-attempt to get Holland Park off the ground as an independent pilot failed in 2010. A group of friends and I had been working our collective arses off to make it happen but, alas, our struggles to find funding for it gained near-epic status. Despite it being the project I’m most proud of, it’s also been the slowest to build any traction on. Proof, if any writer ever needed it, that even the best-received projects can struggle to get going.

Still, in 2011 I’m pleased to say that I completed one of my projects, Improper Representation, which represents the kind of project I’d like to be pitching at cable networks in future. After querying this show to just about every agent in town, I received only one read request on it. Although the feedback on it was favourable, I was rejected on the basis that ‘nobody is making industry scripts right now.’ Apparently, there wasn’t even enough there for it to be considered a good spec. Disappointing, but I soldier on.

The bane of every writer’s life is the incomplete pile, and this year I’ve added my fair share of projects to that one. As Trailer Park Blues goes into its third year of awaiting completion, The Warden and Unconditional Love enter their second. Grand Theft Auto, though certainly my most lucrative property, is also entering its second year as I hit the wall with it creatively.  To my feature list, however, 2011 has seen me add the projects known as Invisible, which I’ve more passion for than the amount of work I’ve put into the project would indicate, made the ‘in-progress’ pile. I’ve also got another feature in progress that should, hopefully, see daylight before the end of 2013. If I can knuckle down and get the script written.

In my TV pile, Outbreak just hit its sophomore year as a work-in-progress and is one that I desperately need to get to completion point in Q1 of 2012. It’s strong enough as a concept to make waves in the gaps that will open up in the fall of 2013, but that genuinely puts time of the essence now. What Happens In Vegas took its place on the pile in 2011, too, and is one I’d hope to have completed by the end of the year. Housemates continues to sit in the box despite being probably my easiest project to bring to completion. I’d hope to make that happen by September. If I can’t, I’ll have missed my window for another year.

Finally, a late addition to my incomplete pile in 2011 was my novel, King Of Hearts. Yes, I failed NaNoWriMo quite spectacularly, but I’m determined to get the book ready in the next few months. In fact, since the cover art is now ready, it’d be foolish not to. I aim to make the book my top priority this year, as the market for a self-published author right now  is as hot as it has ever been, and it’s getting stronger. I’ve got my eye on the NYT Best-Seller list.

On top of all of this, of course, came the launch of my – this – blog and the contest, which has had some magnificent, if not quite up to par, entries thus far. Apologies if I’m yet to get back to you, by the way, as my backlog really is ridiculous now. The door for entries should be considered closed for the time being. It was this development to the blog, however, that got me a little work doing script development as a freelancer, so that’s one step forward.

So, goals for 2012:

  • Finish my book.
  • Write at least 1,000 words. Every single day. On things that aren’t blog posts or forum discussions.
  • Turn my ‘in progress’ pile into a ‘complete’ body of work before I start a new project.
  • Blog at least once per fortnight, if only to stop Amazon.com moaning at me for not providing regular content updates.
  • Be more active on Talentville, TV Writer, American Zoetrope and, indeed, in my own workshop.
  • Sell something.

Well… They seem reasonable. We’ll have to wait and see how I get on, I suppose.

Until next time,

Kx

January 13, 2012 Posted by | writing | 2 Comments