Posted by: steveonfilm | December 7, 2009

Day One: Pride Is Forever

“How do you take an uninformed idea, a vague notion, or a gut feeling and transfer that into the roughly one hundred and twenty pages of words and pictures that make up a screenplay?”
–Syd Field, The Screenwriter’s Workbook

Today I start my new screenplay “Pride is Forever.” In honor of the two year anniversary of the blog, I’ve decided to write the first draft using the same content mechanism I did to start the blog, the exercises in “The Screenwriter’s Workbook.”

I’m not sure how closely I’ll stick to the exact nature of each of the chapter exercises this time around. I know a lot more about screenwriting than when I started. Some of the exercises lend themselves more toward the first time writer, than someone who’s written a few already, and they won’t entirely be applicable to what I’ll be writing. But then again, it can’t hurt to hone up on the basics.

I’ve mentioned this in some of my posts and videos, but I’ll state it again just for clarity’s sake, “Pride is Forever” will be somewhat based on my uncle qualifying for the USA Olympic team in 1972 for the steeplechase. I did a video on some of the challenges I encountered trying to explain how I wanted to approach the story to my uncle. It was going to be based on his life, but it wasn’t a biography, so I was going to add in some dramatization in order to make the story work. My uncle couldn’t really get his head around why I needed to do that.

While I was reading over the first chapter of “The Screenwriter’s Workbook,” The Blank Page, I came across a passage from Syd Field that pretty much summed up what I was running up against: “Most people find it hard to let go of the experience. But often, you’ve got to let the “reality” go in order to dramatize it more effectively.” The story is based on the experience. But the experience alone doesn’t make a great story. If that makes any sense.

The exercise for chapter one asks me to do some free writing to flesh out the story, or find the story, or juts explore what I want the story to be about. I’ve already done a lot of research so I’ve got a leg up on what the story is going to be about, but I’ll still do some free writing nonetheless. Eventually, I’m going to hone my free writing into three base paragraphs which will serve as the foundations for act one, act two, and act three. After that I’ll hone it some more until it’s around three sentences. When I’m done, this summary will more or less serve as my mission statement.

I’ll post up everything I write during my freewriting in tomorrow’s post.

Until next time, keep writing!

P.S. You’ll notice that the title of the post follows a certain format “Day #: Title.” I’m going to do this from now on when doing my writing projects. I’ll will give me a nice way of tracking how long I’ve worked on something. And it will give readers a quick way to know if the post is screenplay related, or just things I think they might find interesting.


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