Friday, 9 February 2007

Beware the Stingray

It's in! Or at least - the screenplay is finished and we've submitted it to the AFC's Indivision initiative (strand I) asking for $750K towards the $1.8m budget.

I can hardly believe it's over. To some degree. Phil and I are happy with it, but we've yet to involve distributors, actors etc.

I recently saw some notes for this script dated 1992 and almost none of the same characters were in it. I dunno what to say. Fifteen years.

Thursday, 1 February 2007

After the Fall

It's been hot here in Perth, Western Australia. 104 degrees in the old money. With no aircon and the damp, sultry weather, I'm amazed I got another good pass in on Beware the Stingray.

A pass?

A pass is when a writer goes right through the screenplay again. It's not a spell-checking session. Usually it's a fine tooth comb looking for; structural problems, character inconsistencies and other believability issues.

Phil read my pass and we're going to podcast about it next week. Once we're totally happy with the script, it goes off to our producer (who has already targeted actors and possible financiers etc.) and the rolling stone tries to gather some moss.

So - barring a few minor fixes - Beware the Stingray (final draft) is finished and shoot-ready. Carmelo (of CM Films fame) just gotta raise the $2m now . . . Easy ;)

Which leaves a great vacuum. Y'know the one. You're all apace and then ... nothing but the sound of wind whistling through the trees. The anticlimax is followed by a real Alexander (Downer).

WASA Screenwriting Awards

In this down time, I will work on Yellow (another low-budget sci-fi script) and read other people's screenplays. 47 of them to be precise. I'm one of three judges for the WA Screen Awards Best Screenplay.

Reading screenplays - good or bad ones - is the best way to learn how to write features (there are heaps right here). You may get your technical skills by emulating the author's style, but actually writing screenplays is the only way to get inside your character's head. If you are there for the entire script - and you've got some character empathy - there's a good chance the reader won't yawn and get to the last page of your script without breaking for a coffee.

Character Empathy

Character empathy is a hard one. Why do we care about your main character? Do they reflect something that is human in all of us? Have we gone deep enough? It's what I'll be looking for as a judge - a writer who really immerses themselves in character. Character is plot. Paste that baby above your writing desk. It's a doozy.

Here's mine.