Friday, 27 November 2009

Bit of a waffle on prose and screenwriting.

I have been doing a lot of writing this year, down to joining the Leeds Writing Group (I heartily recommend joining a writing group if you need a kick up the arse)  , #fridayflash and the fact that it is cheap to do (except for the many beers at the LWG!)

When I say cheap, I mean in comparison to my main passion which is film. Sadly work has been a bit short coming on what has been an expensive year and I haven't been able to make much progress on developing my next feature film Silva Superior due to lack of funds. 

My previous feature film Mortus Illumina (if you are reading this in the future , the link might be - why are you reading this post ?) which has been going through post production hell, should finally be seeing the light in 2010.  I mention this as I have another feature length script which is set in the same universe as MI which I have decided to short-story-with-chapters-ise ( I did try finding a verb to create a Novella but with no joy - thanks for @Britmic for the suggestion) to give myself a longer writing challenge than the DAC.

Re reading the script, it feels right for a novella and it feels like its going to be about 40'000 words (script is 101 pages) in length. The nice thing about having the script is all the story elements and arcs are already there , all I need to do is flesh out the script and convert it over.

I made bit of a start on it yesterday writing what effectively is going to be the prologue which in the script is defined at the end by "ROLL OPENING CREDITS:"

Talking to Mazz in Leeds last night, we started discussing the differences between screenwriting and story writing. Firstly there are the obvious ones such as the technical nature of scripts which requires the following of certain formatting rules and terminology, but the big one,  and feel free to disagree is that when writing a screenplay you should treat the audience stupid and keep it simple.  Whilst with prose, you treat your audience with respect.

Which when you think about it is correct, a screenplay is effectively a set of instructions which is down to the the director to execute, whilst with prose,  not only have you got to get the story across, you have also got to keep your reader entertained.

A bad script does not necessarily mean a bad film and vice versa.  There are many elements that go into a film and a vast array of talents and technicians all bring their own unique flavour to the pie that the director is cooking. However, writing prose on the other hand , the writer is alone and all they have to rely on is the words they put down.

I did do a quick google (very quick) and it seems a lot more novelists extend out into screenplays,  but I can't see any screenwriters turned novelists- are there any ?

Whilst mentioning differences so far, there is one thing that both forms have in common and that is a .... Wait for it - story and the creative process for that is like for like.  It does make me wonder though, how much the differences in discipline effect film adaptions of books, or is it irrelevant ?

As for my novella, I wouldn't hold your breath as it is going to be the first casualty to be sent to the back of the shelf when I am back working and able to  get on with Silva Superior.  But, when it does get finished (I have added a word progress meter to the sidebar), I may send it out to get my first few rejection letters or alternatively link it from the Mortus illumina site.

The Picture on this post is a still from some of the VFX work which is being done on MI at the moment and there are a couple more trailers up on youtube.

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