Monday 31 May 2010

"Summer" script writing update 31/5/2010...

On the 28th I finished the first draft of the script, and on the 29th I began on Draft 1.2 - which this time I'm doing by physically writing all over the hard copy of Draft 1.1, on which I'm currently at page 40 (of 128).

It's amazing how much you can change things when you do your first re-write, and you wonder 'was what I wrote before shit?' - but then you remember that the very first draft is almost an exercise. You've gotta get the foundation laid and the walls placed before you can put the roof on and turn it into a home ... if I dare to stretch this metaphor.

You find all the stuff you can do without, and all the lines of dialogue that can be condensed to half their length or even less, and what's more, lay in the more intricate ideas that resided in your notes and layout, but which were too fiddly to insert on the very first pass.

After the sometimes cautious experience of the first pass, you can - with draft 1.2 - proceed onto firmer, more confident, more focussed and even experimental ground.


What's more, I've already got the seed of a new idea for a new script - which I'll refer to for now as "the mystery script".

Flavours of the Month: May 2010 - 500th post spectacular!

There have been many vibes this month, which kicked off with a nostalgia fest - digging into the slave drive (before it conked out and subsequently replaced with data intact) and going way back to 2003 and 2004 to watch experimental shorts "Back in the Day" and "Experiment in Exposure" as well as my fake-blood-soaked "my NIGHTMARE".

I laughed my arse off at the "Wasssabi" episode of The Annoying Orange, and thoroughly raised a bemused and amused eyebrow at 'the worst wedding DJ ever', both on YouTube.

Following on from Iron Man 2, there's been a lot of AC/DC filling the audioscape of my bedroom this month, and the bathroom when I was decorating it, and speaking of odd jobs around the house I ended up shovelling two tonnes of gravel.

The General Election happened, and it lead to a crescendo in my political interest - which was thoroughly obsessive in the months and even years leading up to the election, but which has somewhat vanished now - not from disappointment or a jaded sensibility, but rather the result of an intense period of obsession leading to the need for a decided break from the world of politics.

I've also been digging out DVDs from my collection that I haven't watched in a good while (in most cases several years). The titles have ranged from Japanese zombie flicks to Italian slashers and 1940s noir films among others. Plus, with two of my favourite shows coming to their respective conclusions (24 and Lost), I've gone and gotten myself into season one of Prison Break.

It's been a good month for gaming too, what with Alan Wake finally getting released (a thoroughly high quality game - despite a few minor flaws), and the coming of Red Dead Redemption - an expansive and involving wild west sandboxer.

There was even a heat wave for a week this month, which was frustrating (I don't do heat, and I'm not a fan of summer), but nevertheless we did get a couple of rather tasty BBQs out of it.

Finally, this month saw me turn 26 years young ... for the optimists ... and for the pessimists, I've only got 4 years remaining of my 'teenage twenties' until I hit *gulp* 30.


Oh yeah - this is my 500th blog post - hazah!

Thursday 27 May 2010

"Summer" script writing update 27/5/2010...

A week ago the computer on which I write my scripts conked out (slave drive issue), but it's fixed now so I got back in the saddle and bashed out a few more pages - I'm now on page 124, with one page of bullet points left to go until the first pass is done.

Then, naturally, a thorough second pass where I will bash it into nearly match-fit shape.

Feels good to get going on it again. With the computer having been out of service for a week I've not been able to write ... perhaps the break will prove beneficial though.

Monday 24 May 2010

Cop Out...

Limping into UK cinemas long after its February premiere across the pond, us Brits finally got our mits on Kevin Smith's latest offering (albeit he wasn't the writer, just the director). I have to say I was a bit disappointed by it ... there was an air of 'most of the best bits are in the red band trailer' about it, which is a shame, but then again there are a range of other jokes that serve you well throughout (the monocle gag really tickled out funny bone).

Plot-wise though, the film feels a bit threadbare. Side characters are more often than not relegated to two or (if they're lucky) three minor scenes, and the central conceit (a baseball card) feels a bit flimsy.

I enjoyed myself, don't get me wrong, but Cop Out felt like it was cut-short. The script felt it had been forcedly diluted, and the running time felt like it had been forcedly trimmed and trimmed and trimmed. A couple less side characters, a stronger central conceit, and a few more full-on guffaws would have been really nice and taken everything up a couple of notches.

Seeing Cop Out was a fun time, especially on a sweltering Sunday (providing us with much needed darkness and air conditioning), and I'll naturally check it out again ... it's just that it felt like a light snack rather than a full meal. In terms of Kevin Smith's career it's a good step up on the ladder, he's been able to try out new things and new territory and direct a feature script that wasn't his own ... but I do wonder about what the movie would have been like if Smith himself had penned it.

A good time, but sadly not great.

Hot Tub Time Machine...

It's been a couple of weeks since I saw the flick, and that's not a reflection on the quality, I just didn't really know what to write about it - it's a tough flick to wax lyrical about, you know? American Pie meets Back To The Future is a good, off-the-cuff summary of it's basic vibe, and while it's not as 'this could be insanely great' as the trailer suggested when you first saw it, HTTM is a good, fun time.

Plus, as is my rule, it's automatically worth seeing because John Cusack is involved - a dude who's always a joy to watch who can always bring a sort of hang-dog pathos to his roles, even the more daft ones like the opportunity-making, bill-paying 2012 (I'm not judging, I say fair play, it's how the Hollywood system works) or indeed Hot Tub Time Machine with it's free-and-easy 'for shits and giggles' vibe.

A fun flick to see with your mates, and ideal 'cheer-me-up' material ... plus you can roll around in some 80s nostalgia, and quite frankly, who doesn't love a bit of 80s nostalgia?

Saturday 22 May 2010

"Summer" script writing update 22/5/2010...

I'm on page 116 - but I've had to come to a temporary halt, thanks to a combination of a computer fault (currently trying to resolve it; long story involving defunct slave drive that I no longer used and a possible "boot device order" issue - awaiting instructions from a computer-minded chum as I type), a sociable weekend, and Red Dead Redemption.

I was doing a bit of writing yesterday (about 24 hours ago now), but no sooner had I started than the slave drive went kaput, thus stopping me from using my computer - on which I am writing said script - with the perfectly fine master drive ... like I said, it's probably a "boot device order" issue, but I'm awaiting further instruction - because I certainly don't want to screw anything up.

Off to see Cop Out tomorrow though, and this afternoon it's a family BBQ ... and while the weather is nice, I'm not a fan of the heat at all. I'm an Autumn/Winter kinda guy ... Spring is okay, but Summer is more often than not something (for me) to be endured.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

"Summer" script writing update 19/5/2010...

I'm now up to page 111 - the last couple of days have provided a real flow to the writing, and a few tips I dug out of The Guerilla Filmmaker's Guide Book have given me further focus in my writing.

Ideas for the second draft have also been coming to me thick and fast, so there are notes everywhere concerning changes I'll be wanting to make.

I have to say that the last few days of writing have been the strongest so far during the time I've been writing this script (which I started on April 25th), and I've really been able to focus the storytelling and pacing, so I'm very pleased by that. With each script, and with each draft, you learn something new about the processes of script writing.

So all-in-all it's continuing to go well, indeed it's now going very well, and I feel particularly strong after a session last night, which I feel had my writing on this project at its best yet and at its most personal too.

Saturday 15 May 2010

"Summer" script writing update 15/5/2010...

I'm now on page 83 of the first draft of "Summer". Been having some good sessions of late, there's still plenty left to write though - and then after that I'll be pouring over the entire script from start to finish making notes along the way and figuring out how I want to mold the script in the next draft.

Right now I can't really see the wood for the trees, but once the first draft is done I will have not only gotten down the firm foundations and a pretty solid overall structure, but I'll also be able to see the wood itself ... to continue this metaphor.

Saturday 8 May 2010

Blog update 8/5/2010...

Quick note to say the "About Me & the Blog" (aka Biography) under the "Biography & Targets" bit on the right-hand-side, has been updated.

"Summer" script writing update 8/5/2010...

I had a good stint of writing every day up until (and including) May 1st. Then I got distracted by the cinema, painting & decorating, shovelling gravel, and the General Election ... as such I've ended up having a week away from Final Draft - but today I was back in the saddle.

I had to get myself all geared up again and remind myself of where I was and how some of the small side characters ticked, but I was able to get back into the groove and managed to get my average amount of pages done per writing session. As it stands I am now on page 40, and while I usually do an Act at a time, before re-drafting each respective completed Act and then moving onto the next new Act, so far this time I'm just going from start-to-finish. So it currently seems.

I'll see how it goes, but if I get into any re-writing at the moment it's to remind myself of where I was (such as today) and get some re-writing done whilst I'm there (and by "there" I mean a few pages back from my point in the script) ... or when I think back to something that I've written, and already have an idea on how to improve it, I strike while the iron's hot.

First drafts are always an awkward thing, you're laying new ground the entire way ... all the while a seed of doubt in the back of your head questions everything you write, but you must ignore this whisper of doubt and keep pushing forward. A first draft is always somewhat sloppy, and while my first drafts are always actually first-and-a-half drafts, that's just the way it is. When you come to re-write for a new draft you can trim and cut out all the naff stuff, and replace it (where necessary) with something leaner, meaner, cleaner and any other suitable word sounding like "eener" ... at which point everything starts to feel really good, and your confidence in the script is kicked up a notch (BAM! ... ... Futurama reference there...) and each bit of re-writing polishes it and brings forth the shine you saw in it all the way back when you were planning it out on scraps of paper.

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Iron Man 2...

Iron Man was a bit of a surprise, a romping stomping superhero flick with a comic smirk and Robert Downey Jr on top form as the boozing, gambling, seducing playboy Tony Stark. So when the trailers for the sequel surfaced (particularly the second), everybody went bat-shit crazy with anticipation - the kick ass AC/DC soundtrack in the latter certainly helped give you a boost of excitement.

The movie itself however - while maintaining the quality of the first movie, as well as the style and humorous streak - doesn't live up to the giddy hype of the hard-rocking trailer. The first flick's plot had a direction to be heading in at all times, and the structure of the plot was more even ... the sequel doesn't have either. Iron Man 2, at times, drifts off into certain directions that don't quite convince, or are left somewhat undercooked, and you can occasionally feel adrift in the plot.

The balance of action is mostly shifted into the second half, so the first half can become a bit quiet. Indeed when all the action kicks off, you've gotten used to the slower pace, and then find yourself blind-sided by all the arse-kicking robot action, which is tip-top by the way ... that said the final ruck does feel oddly short-lived.

It could also do with a bit more AC/DC throughout, I've gotta say ... but before I make this sound like I disliked the movie, I must say that I still rather enjoyed it. Sure, it didn't convince like the first movie, but I was invested throughout, enjoyed the characterisation and the rough-n-tumble was a ruddy good time.

If only the plot was a bit more balanced and focused. Iron Man 2 is an enjoyably solid effort that never quite lands the killer blow, but I look forward to seeing it again when perhaps I'll be able to view it more on its own terms, rather than in comparison to the first flick which was the surprise hit of 2008.