I got my story. Where do I begin working out what to put in a script? What process do I use? Wide Angle hooked me up with Robert Watson, screenwriter, screenplay analyst, editor, teacher, historian, philosopher and, oh yeah, he paints landscapes in his spare time. We met and he clued me in to the crucial equations of novel conversion and screenplay structure.
We talked through starting and end points. In the case of my story, The Sparrow, it begins with one of my three main characters being shot. His body goes flying back and down a small cliff and yada yada, things get worse until the end. Simple.
So, what do I do first? Write a list of the main events - the large and small but crucial moments of the physical and emotional journey. List? I can do a list, damn it! Bullet-points? You got it!
Then I have to sift the list. Each item on the list is a key moment of interaction between the characters and their environments, one which advances plot and character development in that one moment. Sifting the list means looking for items that might be a repeat or a non-essential moment, or simply less interesting, then taking that item out. What's left can be large or small - from death to disappointment - but it has to be critical to story and character arcs. Is it lifting the emotional drivers of the story to a higher pitch? Keep it. Done that? Good. Take a rest, and maybe tidy the desk.
Next steps, consult with Robert, then put scene headings on the remaining items. Then write a brief outline of what happens in that scene - a scene breakdown. Then the easy bit, write the dialogue. How hard can it be?
Again, big shout-out to Abi and Emma at Wide Angle for connecting me with Robert. Slainte!
Just won a place in Round 8 of Wide Angle's End Game programme! For the win!
It's a real leg-up to have this level of support pushing the first draft of a project through - in this case turning a historical novel manuscript into a feature script. While I'm familiar with television scriptwriting, I'm painfully aware how big a set of challenges I now face.
...is the challenge. It's one thing to have written the narrative of an unlikely friendship between a Timorese criado, a young Tasmanian commando, and a Japanese defector during the Pacific War; it's another set of challenges to turn that into a feature script - a story which will be told by actors, director and cinematographer. When End Game kicks off, all of us in it will have 12 weeks to deliver a project. *gulp* But, hey, how hard can it be?
Big shout-out and thanks to Abi and Emma at Wide Angle for the opportunity, and [waving] hi to my fellow Round 8 End Gamers.