Thursday, December 03, 2009

Memorabilia screenwriting

I’m stealing a few minutes in the middle of a Memorabilia scriptwriting session. Rhys Davies and I are sitting in an upstairs office in The Art Organization on Humberstone Gate, Leicester. Outside the window, rain is spattering against the glass. We’re both sitting as close as we can to the heater without our coats catching fire, because it is cold in here!

The process we’re going through is different to the collaborative writing I have done before. This time we are taking a well-worked treatment and transferring it to screenplay format. That might sound like a mechanical process. Merely reformatting. The reality is quite different. We are finding that the process of unpacking the treatment to form the screenplay leads us to make many discoveries.

Some scenes do not work in the form that we initially conceived. Characters do not want to do what we imagined they would. Transitions between scenes turn out to be visually jarring. Or maybe the flow of emotions doesn’t work.

All these discoveries are the direct implication of what was in the treatment. But it is only at the point were it is written out in full that cause and effect is revealed and the discoveries are made.

In answer to these newly revealed problems come new ideas. If one character is changed from benign to scheming – what will it do to the dynamic of the story? And from these fresh ideas come the real joy of the process.

The treatment we had was good. The screenplay is in my estimation much stronger.
Today we will reach the point where we have the first act scripted in rough. On Friday I hope to spend some time on my own editing dialogue and making the prose of the scene descriptions smoother.

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