Thar Be Mermaids!


Untitled Screenplay

Untitled Screenplay

Last week I handed in the first draft of my screenplay to Gold Valley Films. It’s a musical animation feature with pirates, mermaids, ogres and a cast of talking creatures. It will be released in Chinese theaters in the spring of 2015. That’s all I can tell you at this point. Stay tuned for more…

Benjamin Franklin, Time Traveler


 

That probably isn’t Ben Franklin in the video, but it makes for a great headline for my post. On the other hand, it could be him. I’ve heard rumors of his, uh, cross-dressing. Anyway, as a screenwriter I claim first dibs on the movie title.

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. As luck would have it, I stumbled upon a wonderful movie last night called About Time. If you are growing weary of big-budget, story-less blockbusters of late, this little movie is a delightful change of pace.

Even before last night’s movie, however, I was pondering the curious nature of time. For example, wouldn’t it be great if time were like a roll of toilet paper? You could pull off exactly what you need and then roll back the rest for future use. Guess where I came up with that idea.

They say that “time and tide wait for no man.” And while this may be true, at least tide gets a chance to retrace it’s path. Now wouldn’t it be cool if we could do that? While we are on the subject of water, there are actually a lot of time and water metaphors. Here’s a good one:

“Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.”

Marcus Aurelius

By the way, did you know the world’s largest river once flowed in the opposite direction? Nice segue, huh? My point is that if something can alter the direction of the mighty Amazon, perhaps the inexorability of time is, well, exorable.

Of course, far greater minds have grappled, and are still grappling with the theoretical possibility of time travel. And, just to make things interesting, there are those that argue that time may not exist at all!

I am starting to get a headache, so I think I will end pretty much as I began by talking about movies. If you haven’t seen it already, I highly recommend Edge of Tomorrow starring Tom Cruise. When I first started to watch it I almost turned it off. I thought the story was headed in a stupid direction. I was wrong.

How to Write Your First Screenplay


Sample Screenplay Page

Got an idea for a blockbuster movie rattling around in your head? Ever told yourself you’d sit down, write that screenplay and send it off to Hollywood? Although it’s not as simple as it sounds, it’s for sure they don’t give out any Oscars for “good intentions!” Here are some tips to help you get started writing your first screenplay.

Step 1:

Unless you’re writing for a very avant-garde audience, all stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. Since movies generally last about two hours, you should think in terms of your beginning (introduction) lasting about 30 minutes, your middle (development) lasting about 60 minutes, and your end (conclusion) lasting about 30 minutes.

Step 2:

As a rule of thumb, one written page of script is equal to about one minute of action on the screen. Your finished screenplay should be more than 90 pages and less than 120 pages in length.

Step 3:

Screenplays must follow an industry standard format. Fortunately, formatting software is available. Some of it is even free. The beauty of this software is, when you edit or rewrite, it will automatically re-format for you. Check out the Internet for more information on screenplay software.

Step 4:

One method for getting started is with note cards. As you visualize each scene, jot down as much information as you need to remember it. You can arrange and re-arrange the order of scenes in this way.

Step 5:

The moment you create something you have an automatic copyright which is called the statutory copyright. You shouldn’t worry too much about someone stealing your ideas. However, once you have completed your first draft you should register your screenplay at the very least. Check out the Internet for more information on screenplay copyright and registration.

Step 6:

It’s called a movie for a reason. Fill your screenplay with action words and only as much explanation as needed to paint a scene in the director’s mind. Less is more.

Step 7:

Listen to the way people talk. Often, a conversation does not follow a straight path. Try to mimic this in your dialogue while still getting the story told. Again, less is more.

Tips and warnings:
You can read examples of famous and not-so-famous scripts on the Internet for free. Check out free movie scripts.

Once your masterpiece is completed you may want to let family and friends read it. Unless you’re related to a famous Hollywood executive, take what they say with a dose of salt. And if you do know a famous Hollywood exec, why are you reading this?