on March 9, 2015 in Misc

First off: The weather is sunny!  I’m getting out and about!  Still too busy to do anything exciting, but I’m getting in better shape (as in Layla fit) largely because my old left hip/leg muscle injuries FINALLY seem to be on the mend.  Being my own physical therapist and strengthening and diligently stretching certain muscles have made a big difference.

And now for an update on my screenplay.


I haven’t written many more pages, but I’ve turned out gobs of notes.  More challenging is how my head is overflowing with scenes, dialogue, and characters.  Sure, it’s fun having a movie play out in my head.  But it’s also a little freaky keeping so much of a story in my head BEFORE writing it down.

See, what I’m used to is letting a story flow out novel-style.  That can mean lots of exposition and description I’ll edit down later.  There’s room to maneuver.

But screenplays?  They’re a whole different animal.  They must be so lean that not one unnecessary word clutters any of the 105 to 120 pages.  You can use only a few words to evoke a world of emotions, actions and thoughts.  In the best screenplays, there isn’t even a single excess line of dialogue.  Every detail is significant, tells us something, has weight and heft.

Granted, years ago I wrote three screenplays and one TV script.  But I really didn’t know what I was doing (except for the TV Moonlighting script, which is pretty good).  This time around I’ve studied the art.  I’m carefully crafting each scene before moving on to the next one.

So really, even if my screenplay gets nowhere production-wise (gee, what are the odds?), I’ve gotta say that writing it seems to be improving my storytelling ability.

BTW, one of the best screenplays ever written is The Apartment by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond.  You can find it online at dailyscript.com along with other screenplays. As experts  point out:  sure, it’s a classic film, but the script itself also READS beautifully.

Anyway, that’s it for this week.  Have you ever written a screenplay or short script?  Ever been tempted to?

broken mirror

6 Responses to “”

  1. Now that you know what you’re doing, it’s taking time.
    You could always record yourself speaking out those scenes you don’t want to forget before they hit the paper.
    Never thought about writing a screenplay, although I could handle the bare-bones descriptions.

  2. Helena says:

    Alex – I forgot that trick of saying lines out loud, so I’ll try it. Thanks.

  3. I have never written a screenplay before. I’ve been interested enough in the past to buy a book on how to write screenplays, and even wrote a page or two before I went “nah this isn’t for me.”

  4. Arthur Clarke said he wrote the novel for 2001 BEFORE the screenplay because you have to put everything into directions instead of just allowing the reader’s imagination to fill in the gaps!

    His introduction to the audiobook of 2001 I bought just for his hour long intro explaining how he and Mr, Kubrik teamed up to do the novel and screenplay at the same time!!

    When I had my store, I wrote screenplays for XENA episodes for my young customers who wanted more adventures of the warrior princess during the summer reruns! It was fun in that I didn’t have to worry about the special effects budget!! Best of luck. I am fighting an abcessed tooth which I fought and worked with ALL weekend.

  5. Helena says:

    Michael – That’s smart of you. Me, sometimes I think I try too many things.

  6. Helena says:

    Roland – I never knew that about 2001; very smart of Clarke and Kubrick to team up so early.

    I bet your Xena screenplays were excellent. Have you considered doing fan fiction of Xena or something similar? That’s led to book contracts for some writers.