Saturday, August 16, 2008



How do I write thee? Let me count the ways.
Yeah, well, I’d rather write them than count them. But unfortunately some things take study and time and laborious exercise in the art of looking at a screenplay from different angles.
Three of them.
1. Angle One: You can look at the screenplay from the broad perspective: the story itself, the whole shebang, the biog noodle. From beginning to end. You can write it in a four-page mini-treatment, the four most exasperating, and necessary, four pages you’ll write ever.
Page One is the action of Act 1, down to and including Plot Point 1, on page 25, more or less.
Pages Two and Three hold the action of Act II, down to and including Plot Point II, in which the central character is at his or her lowest point in the story.
Page Four is action of Act III, down to and including the climax.
This is the overview.
2. Angle Two: You can look at a screenplay from a narrower perspective, the scene-by-scene movement from beginning to end. How one scene folds into the next, carrying with each scene emotion, motivaton, conflict, tension. Each scene is like a little screenplay.
It has a beginning, middle and end. The characters that walk into the scene carry with them agendas that do not match up with or agree with the others characters and their agendas. Thus we have conflict and tension.
So we’re moving from Angle One, the general, to Angle Two, the Specific.
3. Angle Three is where I wanted to get to in this long, roundabout way. Angle three is the in between angle. It’s not as broad as One or as narrow as Two. Angle Three has to do with The Sequence.
A lot of screenwriters write their screenplays using sequences right from the start. A Sequence is a cluster of scenes that usually take place in one general location, or area. The scenes all have to do with a specific event. Or place. Or moment.
Sequences are like strings of interconnected floating barges sailing across the sea of your story.
Each sequence has a beginning, middle or end. The sequence has a specific purpose. Like the opening Wedding Sequence in The Godfather. This sequence sets up the entire movie. We meet just about everybody we need to meet. The Family.
There are chase sequences, and more chase sequences.
In your screenplay you have a number of sequences. Watch out for them. They will save you so much time, make your work so much better. Learn the secret of sequences.

No comments: