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05/31/2004 Archived Entry: "Working on a film script"

ONE WALL OF CABIN SWEET CABIN is currently wallpapered with 3 x 5 cards and Post-It notes. Magenta cards for death scenes. Orange cards for other highly emotional encounters. Green cards for less impactful scenes that nevertheless carry critical plot turns. White cards for quieter plot or character developments. And Post-Its, Post-Its, Post-Its to tell me "do this better" or "make that clear" or "be sure this character has a distinctive speech pattern." And I sit by the hour and stare in Deep Thought, reaching out now and then to apply a new sticky note.

I'm writing a film script. My first real, Hollywood-style drama.

I've written plenty of scripts before. For radio spots. Industrial videos. And of course for the documentary Innocents Betrayed. But never have I sent fictional characters wandering through movie scenes. Lots of interesting new challenges here. Just learning to use the proper script formatting took a few days. (The rules for spec film scripts are almost bureaucratic in their intricacy -- although they make more sense than anything a government would come up with.)

The characters aren't my own. I'm adapting a novel in partnership with its creator. I write. He consults. Aside from the characters and the basic premise, the film will be totally different than what you may have read in the book. Characters will do more and talk less. They'll feel more and react more. Each change we make dictates other changes, so that by a ripple effect the story gradually becomes something entirely different than it was.

Getting this script sold will be a long shot. Then it's another long shot from sale to production. I'd guess we have maybe -- maybe a one-in-100 chance of ever seeing this thing in a theater. And that's probably wild optimism talking. Still, it's an exciting process. And I hope, a good story.

For the next couple of months as I work on this, I won't be keeping up much e-mail correspondence or doing much posting over at The Claire Files forums. Will still blog away, though. When I'm not staring at the wallpaper.

Posted by Claire @ 09:57 AM CST

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