I am new to these worlds: LA, Hollywood, screenwriting. They are new to me, shiny and enticing, like a wrapped present on Christmas morning. I'm still in the Honeymoon Stage of cultural adjustment. Next comes Hostility, so I'll need to keep a close eye on that.
Happily, I am not yet so old but I may learn.
Starting with a poke around Amazon.com, I narrowed down the thousands of books on screenwriting by surveying the user reviews. Blake Snyder's "Save the Cat" seemed as good a place to start as any, and it was. Snyder explains the basics of screenplay structure while being a gracious and entertaining host. Since I'd never considered that a screenplay might have a structure, the book was just the kickstart I needed.
I then spent many hair-tearing days structuring my first story idea. This is the practice idea. The idea that will live with me in mutual torture for months, years even. The idea that I will grow to detest and hack to death during the learning process. The idea that I will eventually want to jump up and down on until it smashes into little bitty pieces all over the floor. Maybe I'll just hit Delete. Less vacuuming involved.
Anyway, I have better ideas, great ideas. But I'm saving them for a me that is less likely to make a mangled wreck of them. Perhaps this is my first mistake.
So, with my adequate idea in hand, I set everything up using Snyder's advice. I was satisfied with my beats and set-pieces, pacing and arcs. Then I wrote the first act and hit a big old brick wall. Realizing that 'satisfied' was hitting way below the mark, and with little bruises and cuts stinging my once unscathed psyche, I went back to the board. Again and again. I've written the first act of seven immensely dull screenplays now. So far, lucky number eight seems to be The One.
It's Screener Time! "The Post."
4 months ago