Thursday, 14 April 2011

"Allen Bridge" blog #02...

The writing process proper has begun, and I'm now onto Page 7.

It might not necessarily sound like an awful lot if you're not a writer, but a day's work of writing on a screenplay is supposed to be within a target of 5 to 10 pages. Plus the first session of writing on a new screenplay sucks - you've built up this head of steam during the planning stages, but that was with the mindset of mapping it all out ... not actually having to put fingers-to-keyboard and actually include detailed action and actual dialogue.

Much like during my school and uni days when I would start on a new essay, the first session is always a real slog to get the juices flowing - with an essay it was always that first page, with a screenplay it's always that first 10 or 20 pages, particularly the first 5 when everything you write feels - to you anyway - to be a real let down, and you're struggling to translate your detailed notes into an actual scene with a tight flow.

However, come writing session two, you're beginning to feel it a little bit more as you revise portions of what you'd written in that first, nervous and uncertain session. While it's still decidedly first draft (and first drafts are always going to not live up to a writer's own expectations, nor should they), it's starting to gain a suitable shape.

As such I now stand with the first 'chunk' written to a very first draft ("Draft 1.1" as I call it) standard ... 'chunk' referring to a particular portion of the mapped-out plot of the entire script. It's not an individual scene, rather it's a collective term (in this case the term for this chunk is "Opening") for a collection of scenes which follow a particular task for a character at a certain point in the script, or a certain sequence of events. This is how I personally think of it in my head anyway, and it's what works for me.

The early stages of writing a new screenplay are always fraught with start-stop typing, an uneasy sense of forward momentum, and a sense of disappointment - purely because it's the very first draft, and the very first draft is never exactly what you want it to be ... you only attain that sense of satisfaction when you're onto your 3rd, 4th, or even 5th draft. But of course, it's during that 2nd draft that the real elbow grease gets broken out, and an unsteady first draft begins to shape into what you'd always imagined in your head ... like a child learning to ride a bike with the stabilisers off, you've got to get off to a shaky start before you can get to the point where you're zipping around corners and popping wheelies.

But that's all to come - chunk number one (to draft 1.1 standard) is done ... now for however many more chunks there are on my script layout.

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