This week's Answer:
"Fade Out" Before The Miracle Happens
Edward, you must not have read my
mission statement somewhere in this ever-expanding
Mission Statement: To Do All I Can To Make You Feel
As Bad As You Want About Your Screenwriting
It's always good to have a mission
statement (especially if you want to found a
mission. You'll really need a mission statement
then! Although, these days, it isn't easy to find a
mission. There aren't that many left at least out
here in California.)
That really isn't my mission
statement. I really don't have one. They seem
so corporate and so "look at me and my important
Edward and those who care an iota
about this subject... you CAN wind up with a
screenplay. Do you realize that if you only wrote
one word a day, you could have a full screenplay by... I
think 2009? Think of that. And using an
Screenplay of 120 pages starts with the first Word
Which, as we all know, is...
That's right: "FADE."
And following this mysterious and deep line of thinking (Number
One Son), what does this first word of a screenplay, "FADE"
tell us? Of course, that we have only written one word and we've
got to agonizingly come up with 120 pages more. No. It
tells us much more (Grasshopper). Screenplays fade us
in. There is always something else on the screen
before the first image (usually somebody's popcorn or maybe, as
"CSI" folk call it, their "biological." I
really don't want to know. That's why I never get too close to
any screen.) Of course, the "FADE
IN:" reference is basically an editing direction and, along
with "FADE OUT:", is
the only obvious one the screenwriter is allowed without him being
hunted down by the film editors' union, which hires ex-Navy SEAL's for that
very position, SADOCSW (Search And Destroy Over-Controlling
There's a reasoning behind my
apparently oblique allusion (which is oblique in itself). The
idea is to, in a sense, fade into your script when you want to.
And fade out when you want to. And fade in again when and --
this is very important -- WHERE you want to. And HOW you want
to. Notice that the common word in the last four sentences is
"want." It's up to you. It's your choice.
So many times, writers (and many other types of artists) run into
problems with their creations because of their resistance to what they
believe is a dictatorial voice that is rigidly setting down rules,
applying pressure on them, demanding perfection, etc. But the
real problem is that ...
Dictatorial Voice Is Not Real
you have some idiot standing next to you and screaming at you.
In that case, I suggest you get a new roommate.) *see this
The problem is that the
If you, Edward, and all your screenwriters
extraordinaire (I italicized you to make you look even more
extraordinary -- which you are, regardless how many so-called and
self-named and even successful producers may not recognize this fact
or have the ability for this recognition), can write as you
choose to write, write what you want to write and HOW you want to
write it, bypassing the Phantom Rules Maker (whoever that is), and
live in your writer's world, always recalling that you are doing so
only by CHOICE, then your channel for creativity will be wide open.
Edward, write your screenplay any
way you want, any way you choose. Now some Screenplay Sticklers
may not agree with me, but I tell you that you don't have to create
your screenplay in any particular manner. No, you DON'T have to
write an outline before you write your screenplay. You may run
into some challenges if you don't layout the story beforehand, but you
can overcome them. You might even want to write a few scenes
that "call to you" and then find yourself thinking of the
overall story and find yourself WANTING to develop the overview for
it. The HOW is always up to you.
Before I became a story analyst, I
did write several screenplays without any outlines. I trusted
that my muse, my creative subconscious, knew where it was going --
even though often I didn't have the foggiest (England's version of
"clue"). And, somehow, it took me on some
exhilaratingly and joyous creative journeys, and always left me off,
fully rewarded and grateful, at...