the Script Away
Very carefully. (I just had
to say that, Rialto; it was such a perfect setup for a
joke.) You do have to be diligent about how you
approach a script, though. It's best to come up on
it from behind so you won't be thrown by the title
page with all its contact information and title and
author's or authors' name(s). And avoid those
brads; they're sharper than you may think and can get
stuck in places that even the best screenwriters won't
venture to write about. You could approach a
screenplay sideways, but then it may mistake you for an
agent and either run away or attack you, trying to
envelope you in its wordy description or dull dialogue
or sweep you up in its dramatic action, never to be
heard of again.
Do you mean, "How do you
approach writing a screenplay,"
Rialto? If that's what you mean, there are many
ways to do so. Some screenwriters use the
"building blocks" method, starting with an
idea that they work into a treatment, which is broken
down into an outline, depicting the main beats and
eventually come up with a blueprint for all the
scenes. Others are less practical in their
approach and just "dive right in," writing out
scenes or character descriptions or even unsigned checks
to put down on a new car or home or second indoor
pool. It all depends on what works for you.
On one occasion, I wrote a comedy
without knowing what was going to happen next, sans
treatment, sans outline, sans beat sheet, sans scene
blueprint. Sans sans, I guess you might say.
That was an invigorating experience, flying without a
net, so to speak, but it's not the usual way I
write. It's usually best to know at least the
general direction in which your story is headed.
It's a good way of avoiding sudden cliffs or quicksand
or the edge of the world.
Of course, don't forget those
twists -- which seem to be all the rage with
screenwriters these days. In fact, here's an
interesting way to approach writing your next
screenplay: Just write the twists. Never
mind about the actual storyline. Just come up with
great twists. Better yet, make your screenplay be
only twists. Right after "FADE IN:" have
your first twist take place. Then, before the
reader knows what's happening, write in another
twist. Then another. Don't worry about any
through-line or plot; just twist. Twist and twist.
And twist again.
Like we did last summer.