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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.

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