MY SCREENWRITING JOURNEY
This was the year that I started writing my very first screenplay, “Wood Road Revenge,” which later became, “Retribution.” A thriller about a young female whose boyfriend was killed while they were in high school and someone is reminding her of the occurrence now that she’s in college. And when you’re 22 or 23 years of age you think that it’s the greatest idea ever written. And believe it or not, I really thought that I could procure an agent off that piece of crap. And why was it garbage.
When I first writing my first script, I had not real plan. I just looked at a blank of paper sheet and started writing. Hoping that something will happen eventually. But it’s my reason I over told a story that should have been shorter at times, and didn’t provide enough information when I should have made it longer. That’s what happens when there is no plan associated with putting your script together. You can afford to write and find your way with a novel, not a screenplay. Scripts are tighter, and it must move along as seamless as possible. Basically what I’m saying is, don’t free write a script hoping to sell it.
And when I say gargabe, understand that garbage is subjective, but not when you write a screenwriter. There was way too much action going on in the script. And by action I am not referring to the action you see to your left of the soldiers. No, I’m talking about the action lines in the script. No more than four lines of action should occupy your script. In my first script I had up to an entire page of descriptive action. Classic rookie mistake! I didn’t know this until I researched the does and don’ts of screenwriting.
Here lies my next issue, which was character. And no, don’t be misled by the Supermario Brothers and Luigi cartoons. I am talking about the character of introducing as well as creating a character that means something to the plot of the story. You want to build characters that people can relate to. But all I did was have a story, then kind of fill in the gaps by making people move along with the story. But now that I have more experience I would have never watched these characters in film in theater.
Here is the last aspect of why my first film script did not work well; dialogue. Look at the picture to the left, I have no clue what she is saying to him, but his reaction gives you so many ideas of what the conversation could be about. But there is emotion in the scene. My dialogue was quit cliche. Very typical things you would expect people to say in moments throughout the script. The conversation was interactive, in an amateurish sort of way. It was like watching a parody of a thriller movie.
Now here we are in the present tense. I have written nearly ten screenplays since then, with two being made into short films (First Day Fears and Freedomless Speech). I also self-published a novel and book of short stories this past winter. Oh, not to mention the two blogs I started as well. And I notice a leap in the way I wrote then and now. I even have greater insights into the world because my eyes were forced open by the occurrences around me. And for that reason, I can never go back to being that lousy writer again.