Monday, August 18, 2008

Side Note:

writing features is hard.

9 comments:

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John Reha said...

Harder than TV, you think? I mean, there is something to be said for the limiting factor of writing for TV (characters, general format, plot structure all laid out for you) being both a blessing and a curse.

What specifically about features are you finding difficult?

Josh said...

Maybe it's because I've become accustomed to thinking of stories in terms of television, but yeah, for me it's definitely more difficult.

Right now the real difficulty is just in finding a simple, clear story that's filmic. We keep coming up with things that have really interesting ideas and complications and twists and revelations...but not having the backbone of a simple A-B-C story.

My feature writing mantra would probably be "90 minutes" or "one and done" as in, all questions must be answered before the credits roll.

Which brings me back to: simple, clear, A-B-C story.

John Reha said...

Hm...would it help to think of the main story as your A plot, and the B and C plots as just plain ol' sub-plots? I can kinda see your problem (I think)...TV is very open-ended in general. Neat story set in the universe of the show, maybe answers a question and asks another, while in a movie, you set up a central conflict by page 20-25 and have to show the final outcome of that in the next 75 or so pages.

Maybe it would help to think like this: what is the central question of your screenplay? (This is something like, will Josh get the girl? Will Josh find the killers of his parents? Will Josh save the day? Will Josh ever get out of Smalltown, Kansas?)

Josh said...

That is the question we've been wrestling with. Unfortunately we've never been able to answer the question (and/or it keeps changing), but we have to soldier on.

John Reha said...

Well, maybe that's not the way to go, then. If you have a story or character you want to go with, you could always build the story around the character's flaw - that's what the writing teacher I work with teaches.

If you guys want to throw some stuff at me via e-mail, maybe it'll help me understand where you're at.

Anonymous said...

In a good feature, the central question keeps changing.

John Reha said...

@anonymous

I don't think so. A good movie has a central question that must be answered. The plot, though, constantly changes.

adam _______________________ said...

I'd say that writing is hard. You've just been exercising the TV muscles. Not the feature ones. Just keep going. Learn to love the burn. Like Beals in the dancing workout montage. You're a maniac -- and I'm going to stop now.