Category Archives: Screenwriting

Maken’ Movies

This week I kinda’ had it in my head to get moving forward on an indi project I have been rolling around for ages.

Some stuff surfaced on the Canon EOS 7D sooting HD video, even better than its predecessor the Canon EOS 5D. I shared what I found with some filmmaker friends, which started some conversations, leading to more thoughts and conversations, bringing about some research, and so on an so forth. Before I knew it, Bob’s your uncle and I’m digging up old materials from all over the place. Suddenly I’m hip deep in scripts.

Okay, I wasn’t literally hip deep in scripts, in truth, not even ankle deep. It sounded good though didn’t it? I did feel like I was swimming in scrips. I’ve been thinking about doing an online radio-drama series for a long time but the idea of writing 13 or more episodes at this particular place in time seemed a little too much for me to embark on; to be even more truthful, I have been leaning more toward the video route and I know I’m not ready to write 13 plus screenplays for an episodic or 13 plus original shorts.

Turns out I had a stack of old 1940s radio show scripts, some of which, fit the noir/detective genre I have been wanting to do. One of them struck me as very visual, so I decided to try and hammer out a feature adaptation for screen, big or small. The original was a 40 minute radio play, I started off by transcribing the original into SceneWriter as a rough draft for easy editing. Next up, the first draft edit of the rough. Got a time bump of a few minutes, but more importantly, it feels right; the script feels right, the edits feel like they are working, the visuals are clear, the juices are really flowing on this one. I finished the first draft and moved on to the second.

Re-writes are a constant. Every time a script is written it will be re-written over and over again, three, four, five, seven, ten times if needed, so I am told. I’ve finished my first re-write, I now have a one hour screen play, not polished by any means, but a one hour screen play with several new scenes. The new scenes need fleshing out, they are pretty soft right now, but they are workable. I figure with fleshing out those scenes and a few more writing/re-writing sessions I should easily reach 90 minutes or better; a full length feature.

What does it all mean? For me, I think after a another re-write this will be ready to go into preproduction. Script breakdown, characters, shots, props, locations, and all of the schedule development stuff. Of course the re-writes will continue as the project progresses. After breakdown begins I guess I will have to start looking for some cast & crew. Interns, I need interns… I think I am going to hire myself to direct.

Look ma, I’m a triple threat: Writer, Producer, Director.

😉

Building A Production Team

Howdy all!

This is going to be a short post today, I am totally wiped out tonight but I wanted to get this out right away. I will be refining this post and building a Team Search page later but for now I will get to the guts of the matter.

FlyBoyJon is building a creative team. I have a couple of projects in early development and I need to get them moving forward, so I am looking for some pre-production development talent to start building that creative team. I am looking for… Director, Director of Photography, Editor, Production Designer, Visual Effects Supervisor, and Writer. This is not an exclusive list however, anyone in production is welcome to contact me.

In the interest of clarity I wanted to be sure to let you know that this is not an open job listing. I am looking to connect with more of my fellow production people. If something comes from connecting, fantastic. If not, we will have exchanged some information and maybe be able to work with, or help each other out in the future. This is an open invitation to network with fellow production people.

If you are interested, feel free to send me an email or you can leave a message for me by using the Call Me button up on top of the page. Please remember to send/leave your name, contact information, what you do, and any other information you think relevant or important. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

I am also looking to meet up with fellow producers in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area so please feel free to drop me a line or email anytime.

Writing For Screen

SkyBlueIn 2004 I was working on several commercial productions. One of the people I was working with had some experience in screenwriting. He had a script optioned and the film was given a green light. Unfortunately, as things sometimes go in Hollywood, the film was shut down before principal photography began. It had been several years and he was looking at producing the film himself. We had become production partners and began to talk about production projects he had started. I spent a good deal of time retooling some of his older work and we collaborated on several new projects.

What I had not realized at the time was that I was developing the skills of a producer/screenwriter. The work we were doing was preproduction script development. After a while he suggested that I come up with a concept and begin writing the screenplay on my own, which I did. I started with a basic story, then started writing it in screenplay format with dialog. Not the best idea, at least for me.

When I am producing, I can move and think very quickly. My thought process is able to encompass the entire production. Everything is physical and relative, there are reference points and connecting processes. When I am writing, things happen a bit differently. The writing process in more difficult for me, it is all vapor. When I first began writing I was stuck for long periods of time because I needed a connection between each scene. I had to write in chronological order. Recently I have been developing the ability to maintain relative continuity while writing scenes out of chronological order as they come to me. I have been trying different exercises and new techniques to improve my skill and speed in screenwriting.

As I mentioned, I had developed a basic story and began writing the screenplay back in 2004 the working title of which is Sky Blue. After building the basics, my writing/producing partner and I started to co-develop the script. I didn’t like the new direction the project had taken. All of the things I loved about the story had disappeared. It was clear that we had very different visions of the story. At the time I was new to screenwriting and filmmaking, so I differed to him on many of the creative choices. Now its five years later, a LOT of water has passed under the bridge, and I am a different person. A much stronger writer, and a much more confident producer.

I recently read a book by Lawrence Turman called “So you want to be a Producer.” He produced “The Graduate,” among many other films. In truth, I have read Larry’s book several times so that probably should read as ‘I recently re-read…’. In the book, Larry’s biggest point to aspiring producers is be true to yourself. As he put it “taste is everything,” referring to your intuition and good taste, and he was so right.

I had shelved the script for over a year. I was just unable to look it in the face. It depressed me to see what my idea had become. I chucked it, obliterated it. Paper copies I had were shredded, the digital copies were deleted, and I went back to my original concept. Sky Blue is back on my screenwriters workbench. I started writing it again at the beginning of the week, I have fourteen pages completed, but more importantly, I have a beginning a middle and now an end. The ending had alluded me for so long. There are a few rough spots and some holes, but that’s fine this is a second go at a first draft right? The story is much more complete and I know where things are going, now all I have to do is get them there believably, interestingly, and lovingly. I like this script again. No, I love this script again.

I will be posting more about Sky Blue as things progress. I am excited again, now I can finish the script, do my 3X5 cards, storyboard, all of the preproduction development is beginning to take shape once again in my mind.