Sometime on April 1st I learned about Script Frenzy via news feeds and tweets and looked into it further. For several years, I have had one idea for a feature length, live-action film so I decided to sign up for the frenzy to see what I could come up with. I usually storyboard my animation projects instead of formally scripting them, using basic outlines and visual sketches to guide the production. Hopefully, the process of doing Script Frenzy will be educational and may even produce ideas for some future feature.
I plan to use the frenzy to bang out a first draft no matter how terrible it turns out. As of page 32, there are a lot of problems with the script, but it is also a lot of fun and my hope is that after 100 pages maybe 1/3 of it will be interesting enough to warrant future drafts or other directions.
On April 1st I used my white board to outline the format of the 100 page script and listed the main characters. I didn’t spend a lot of time outline but just jumped in with the milestones in mind for page 10, 25, 75, 85, and 100 and started writing. The film, in my mind’s eye, is comprised of a few key scenes and concepts and I’m writing around visuals at this point. The dialog is flat and some things are derivative but, and I believe this is the fun part, I keep pushing forward in spite of those weaknesses.
In order to keep moving I will literally have my characters comment on things like bad dialog or meandering action. They will exclaim that what they are discussing doesn’t make sense and simply walk away followed by a transition or a cut to a different scene altogether. I find that helps me to break out of scenes that don’t seem to be working and get back to the action quickly. I’m also taking notes as I go and during this first week have come up with different directions that characters and the overall script will take. I’m outlining as I go and sprinkling description and dialog that comes to mind along the way. I switch between linear and non-linear writing by writing chronologically but when an idea strikes I’ll add in scenes in Act 2 or 3 quickly and then move back to the chronological order. I have rough place holders already for the milestones throughout the script and have started to flesh them out and rearrange scenes.
I don’t know if this is how other people write or not but it is how I’m approaching things right now. Ultimately, I am viewing this whole exercise as process over product. The frenzy rules are loose enough to allow for creativity and bad first drafts. The idea is to get a complete first draft done in a short amount of time!
As for the story? The script I am writing is hard to define since I am letting it emerge during the writing process. At this point I’ll say it’s speculative horror and it is definitely subject to change. This week it’s Jurassic Park and Tom Sawyer meets the Andromeda Strain!