Sunday, 29 April 2012

Screenplay finished

... Well, the first draft anyway.

Just one month and three days from starting, the finished 90-page first draft of Salesmen Abroad is complete. When I say it like that it sounds as if I've just knocked it out as fast as I could, but the truth is far from that. I've probably spent in the region of 100-120 hours writing those 90 pages - that's roughly an-hour-and-a-half per page.

Most work day lunches I've been scribbling in my A4 notebook (to the semi-interested questions of my work-mates) and then spent anything up to eight or nine hours after work transferring those scribbles in the Celtx file. And then there's been the weekends ...

Now my one complaint with Celtx is that when you 'format' it into a screenplay, it doesn't follow the formatting as displayed when it's originally written. Or maybe that should be the other way around.

Basically what happens is that what might be a line and a half of dialogue in the original page on Celtx may only be one line once formatted. What this means is that I spend a lot of time going back and forth between original and 'formatted' in order to trim dialogue and action description, to kill the widows. For anyone who's not familiar with that term - a widow is a new line which only has one word. It's a waste of space and takes up as much room as a full line of text, so if they can be trimmed then all the better.

If only the formatted text looked exactly like the text when I write it originally, or as I say, the original text format is how it will be displayed in PDF mode. It would save a huge amount of time. Not an end of the world problem, but there you go.

Anyway, I'm going to sit on the script for a week or so before revisiting it and seeing what - and there's bound to be a what - stands out as needing reworking.

Might have a beer now.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Salesmen Abroad screenplay, update

One month into writing the screenplay for Salesmen Abroad and I'm 70 pages in - leaving 20 pages to wrap up Act III. At the moment I'm pretty happy with how it's going - the Act I break, the mid-point turn and the Act III break all come in pretty much spot on.

The characterisations are reasonably good - particularly the obnoxious and weak/boring co-workers. I'm happy that the set-up and pay-offs work, and that the through-story is strong enough to carry the film.

Let's see how the next 20 pages go.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The glass is now 2/3 full

The screenplay for Salesmen Abroad has now reached 60 pages - two-thirds complete.

The mid-point turn came pretty much spot-on at 45 pages and the Act 2 end is on course to hit its mark at 68 or 69 pages.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Glass Half Full

The script for Salesmen Abroad has now reached half way - 45 pages.

This is the first time I've written a script based on a beat-sheet format and although there are the occasional sticking points over precise dialogue and description I've found this process reasonably easy. In a similar way that I block out a novel I've found that writing the screenplay in small chunks - almost scene by scene - a much easier procedure.

And that's not the only thing that's looking good for Salesmen Abroad actually getting the green light. Paul Wallis has emailed to say that he's got definite elements in place for filming; production and post-production. He's also let me know that the potential investors he and Scott Barber have got lined up are really happy with the treatment, as is.

So, back to the Celtx for more pages ...

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Beat-sheet Frenzy

In the wake of producing a 40-card beat-sheet for Salesmen Abroad, I've now completed another one for a 60-minute drama which centres on the corruption and manipulation of a new female prison worker: inspired, in a small way, by BBC's successful Prisoner's Wives, which recently aired here in the UK.

Maybe it was because I had the practise fresh in my mind from Salesmen Abroad, I don't know, but I found the process this time around much easier. It may also have been easier because I've been mulling over the storyline for a while now. Whatever the reason I found that I banged out the 40 beats pretty quickly and where there were any gaps they were rapidly filled in. I don't have a working title for it yet and plan to leave it alone for a while (a few weeks, maybe) then start scripting it out.

As it stands right now, I'm in a happy writing place: my Tiberius Found novel is waiting to be given a quick once over and then posted to the Kindle book site, the treatment for Salesmen Abroad seems to have been well received and other ideas are swilling around in the maelstrom which is my imagination.

If only there were more hours in the day or that I only needed three hours sleep.

Salesmen Abroad, treatment feedback

Both Scott Barber and Paul Wallis have given initial feedback on my treatment for Salesmen Abroad. And on the whole it's very positive - Paul suggest a slight tweak to the foreign location, and Scott has an issue with one of the character's sexuality.

Naturally, I think that how I've written the character's 'trait' works well and adds a level of depth to him which, in turn, gives him a sadness that - should it ever come to being filmed - viewers would sympathise/empathise with. The potential director, Steve Hughes, has apparently just finished filming in South Africa and has told Scott that he'll get around to reading the treatment later this week.

Now I'm certainly not precious about what I've written so far, and would be willing to make the suggested changes should I be 'asked' to but I hope that Steve can see what I've tried to create.

Of course, he might like that and hate the rest of it ...