Wednesday 6th February 2013
My first lesson back from Christmas and it’s what I’ve been looking forward to since beginning the Masters. Screenwriting! Films… To say I’m a film-buff would be an understatement. I love movies and I watch them all, from the really bad ones where the camera shakes to the massive billion pound budget blockbusters. Oddly though I have found that the independents and obscure movies can have a better story line than others, if only they had more money backing them.
So my first lesson and I went with a story mapped out – thinking that just learning the basics would confuse me enough without trying to think of an idea. I was right. Goodness, there are some rules for screenwriting. I won’t go in to detail for all of them but the instructions even included how many holes in the paper there ought to be, what the front cover needs to be made from and how to fix the sheets together. It is also very different from novels, where you mustn’t fix the sheets together and the cover must be paper… well you get the idea.
Anyway I left the lecture reeling from all the information. The task this week – to write a treatment…
Okay… What’s a treatment?
Well it’s sort of a synopsis with extras.
- a working title (got this – easy bit)
- a logline (in the book world known as a tag line but can be a couple of sentences)
- a proposal (a synopsis – brief but tells the story)
- a premise (a detailed synopsis)
- character biographies (more difficult than you would think)
I’ve got as far as the proposal and then got a little stuck. I think I’ll have to write the screenplay and then look at the treatment again, but I’ve got enough for a general idea, which is what my tutor wanted.
So I started looking at the screenplay itself. I have a copy of ‘The Piano’ and ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’ so I looked at how they were written and also used the handouts from the lecture. The indents and capitals and typeface – how do you programme word to do it all?
The answer – I have no idea.
But I went on to the BBC website and followed their link for ‘free software’. Twelve seconds later my computer can format a screenplay and there is even internet storage so it can be share over different computers! True it isn’t a word document but you can publish it as a pdf so almost every computer can see it.
All I do is click the heading and voila the software typeset and format it. The only thing it doesn’t do is automatically correct grammar and spelling, but it is a small price to pay (I hope but the dyslexia may show more in this module).
So wish me luck as I jump off the cliff and start my first screenplay, or at least the first couple of scenes. 🙂