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I'm excited you've come along for the ride with me, as I blog about my thoughts and adventures about writing. Take a look around, post a comment or two, and enjoy!

31 December, 2011

New Year's Resolution for 2012

This is not the original New Year’s Eve Resolution blog I wrote. I had this nice, neat, and pretty blog all written out. But it really wasn’t from my heart. It was surface writing. And one thing I’ve learned in 2011 is how much I abhor surface writing.

2011 I will not miss you. You were cruel, and you were unrelenting. You taught me to look deep into myself and I didn’t like what I saw. Jesus stepped in and helped me make further changes.

2011 you taught me how to write from within the center of the true me. You taught me to abhor surface writing, and to hit delete whenever I sensed my fingers typing that which was not my true self.

2011 you taught me about the “Full Armour of God” (Ephesians 6:10-18), and how I must use it every day.

2011 I thought you were cruel, but you changed me for the better and for that I am glad.

2012 What wonders will you have for me? What growth and what blessings await me?

As I stand on the eve of 2012, I look back at my writing. I have 3 completed novels, four completed screenplays, with two in progress, and 4 solid query letters for the work I am ready to market. I’m looking forward to aggressively marketing myself so I can land an agent for my novels, and an agent, or straight to a prod-co (production company), for my screenplays.

2012 I am ready for the major changes that need to take place in order for me to continue to pursue my dream and my passion—my calling from God.

As you prepare yourself for 2012, take a half hour or an hour and look back over what happened in 2011—the good and the bad. See how much growth you went through, and think about what you want to accomplish in 2012. Psalm 37:5 says to “commit your way to the Lord, trust Him, and He will act…”

Pray and make those New Year’s resolutions. They are so worth it.

24 December, 2011

Beat Sheet

I received an email from Amazon Studios alerting me to a contest. They provide the logline, I provide the beat sheet. Top 5 writers get $10,000 and a chance to write a treatment and then if chosen, the screenplay. I received the email three days before the deadline. The clock was ticking and I jumped in without hesitation.

What is a beat sheet? It's where the screenwriter writes down, in Numerical order, the scenes in the movie, with a brief description of each. I had heard of and even read a beat sheet, but I'd never written one. Amazon did state you could write it in outline form, but since beat sheets are the industry standard, it didn't make sense to do anything that would label me as an amateur.

With the exception of some short (5 page) screenplays for a few Creative Screenwriter contests, I had never written a screenplay based on someone else's logline or premise. I had also never written a beat sheet before--but I had examples in my screenwriting reference books.
I know in Hollywood you don't always get to work on your own material, sometimes you do exactly as this contest does--write based on an idea or concept from a studio head, or producer, or revise another Writer's work.

I haven't heard back yet if my beat sheet was picked. I hope so, because they have an amazing producer already attached to the project, and it's sci fi, which is near and dear to my heart. It excites me.
Yesterday I brainstormed an idea for my next screenplay. And wrote out the logline. Today I wrote out the beat sheet for it. I used my experience from Amazon Studios to benefit my writing.
Now I have a solid logline and a typed beat sheet. After Christmas I still have a week off of work and I will apply my rear in my chair 12 hours a day, using my beat sheet as a guide, to crank out as many pages as I can. I'd love to say I'll have the entire thing written, but we shall see won't we?

10 December, 2011

Studying Screenwriting

Saturday was spent working on my screenwriting. But in a different way.
I have the shooting script for War of The Worlds by Josh Friedman and David Koepp (bought it).
I sat at my dining room table/writing desk with it, a copy of Syd Field's Screenplay and Dr. Linda Seger's Writing Subtext. Plus a highlighter, sticky notes and pencil.
My goal: dissect the screenplay. See where it follows conventions, mark areas that I really admire and note why, and look at how it flows, how it handles transitions, creates set pieces, and establishes characters.
I've read the shooting script before, but one thing I've learned from my mfa program, (even though it isn't in screenwriting), is to dissect other writer's work.

When I finished picking War of The Worlds apart. I sat in front of my TV with my notebook and marked up copy of the shooting script, and popped in my DVD of the movie. I need to know how what the writer wrote was conveyed on the screen.

I plan to do the same thing with The King's Speech next week.

This will make me a better screenwriter.
A caveat to new screenwriters. A shooting script is not the same as a spec script.
Shooting script is what they use to actually make the movie.
Spec script is what you sell. It doesn't contain camera directions or anything that could be construed as you telling the director what to do.