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.