Posted by: steveonfilm | July 15, 2008

When is more simply too much?

As I said, I’ve been working on a new draft of Bystander. I wanted to try and get it done before the entry deadline for Big Break, but that didn’t happen. At any rate, I’ve been working pretty furiously on it lately and I think it’s really turning into something good. Not that it was terrible before, but this was my first screenplay, so it started out a lot rougher than some of my newer works.

At any rate, a lot of what I’ve been doing is concentrating on the “showing” instead of “telling.” That involves thinking a lot more visually than when I originally started writing. However, one thing it’s helped me do is learn where to trim out garbage. I’ve freed up about 5-6 pages so far, and I’ll likely get that down another 4-5 pages by the time I’ve gotten through act three.

On the flip side, this has also got me putting in a lot more little scenes. Quick exterior shots. Cut aways. Things like that. For example, I’m redoing the midpoint of the script right now. It’s a pretty big reunion scene that gets broken up by one of the bad guys. In the original version Duane just sort of shows up. However, in the rewrite I actually cut away to what he’s doing, and show how he discovers what’s going on downstairs. It’s a quick little thing. It doesn’t take away from the focus of the scene, but it wasn’t something I would have thought of before reading The Screenwriter’s Workshop.

When I’m writing I’m really thinking of how thing would play out on the screen visually. Really contrasting it to some of my favorite movies. How similar scenes or set ups were filmed. I mean, ultimately the director will decide how to show it, but the screenplay is the framework. And the framework needs to be solid for the director to do his/her magic.

But back to my earlier point, I’ve been adding in new stuff. And with the extra real estate I’ve been creating for myself I put in a new character that will be the catalyst for a major story arc that I’m adding in. It’s nothing crazy, but it’s some additional tension that I think was missing from this last draft. The thing I’m worried about is whether it’s too much. I mean, how do you know when you’ve crossed the line into the “too much” category? Probably not until you give it a good read.

Things are coming along. Thought I’d give an update and let the other writers out there know some of the problems I’ve been having, and how I’m getting around them. I want to get this done so I can go back to Moving On. That story has been kicking around in my head again. I’m looking to implement the changes to the site this weekend. I need a project to work on anyway. Figure this is as good as any.

Anyone seen Hellboy 2 yet? I want to check that and Wall-E out this weekend.

Enjoy.
-Steve

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