…and no, I’m in no way finished. Not by a long shot. I came away with a 116-paged finished first draft. A first draft of anything is essentially a compendium of brain vomit not fit for the consumption of a reader, except for you, the writer.
From that first draft you, like a sculptor, begin the mental clinical steps of excising, shaping, re-structuring that screenplay blob into an even better 2nd draft, and then a more better 3rd draft and so on until you’ve got the best draft possible.
So my work has just barely begun. I got weeks and maybe months to whip this first draft bad-boy into shape. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you the tools I used that got me from blank page to the finish of my first draft.
· Screenwriting Software — there are free and low cost programs available; I use Final Draft 10.
ABOUT THE BOOK
When I first bought this book a while back, I must admit the title raised my skeptical eyebrows. A movie in 21 days…yeah, right!
But look closely at the bottom caption. It reads: How To Get The Movie In Your Heart Onto The Page. And there’s the rub, folks. This book does not promote speed-writing your screenplay in 21 days and on the 22nd day, you slap that hot mess into the mail/email for agency or production consideration.
Rather, author Viki King gets you writing. And writing I did. At a fever pitch. As quick as I type, I couldn’t get my fingers to move as fast as my brain dictated! And I’m barely half-way though this neat, little book.
King has unique nurturing skills to draw out your raw ideas, helps you to formulate and articulate them into a viable plot structure. I’ll use an analogy of making bread:
Your Raw Ideas = Flour, water, sugar, salt, butter, etc. all splayed out on the counter waiting for you to do something.
Viki King = A way to combine those ingredients — your ideas. You’ll amaze yourself with how easy you begin to knead those ideas into scenes that hold together so well they can’t help but rise to the top. And before you know it, you’ve got bread! (Okay, I’m a bread maker…you caught me!)
Now that first draft “bread” is not ready for public consumption. Re-work that first draft by kneading it and empowering it as you move through subsequent drafts. Bake it and then… ding! Your final draft “bread” screenplay is ready for prime-time viewing-consumption.
Okay, I may be over-simplifying the process a bit. The hard, cold reality is you’re going to have to dig deep into your soul as you write every day and concentrate on building each scene better and stronger. And that takes time. But your writing is so worth it!
King’s chapter on the 9 Minute Movie Method is ingenious. Before you even begin writing “Fade In”, you have already sussed out the bones of your entire screenplay! This book is perfect for people like me who gag when they hear the word “outline”. What’s more, King also cheerleads you through the entire 2nd draft rewriting process. She’s not done with me yet!
I am both amazed as well as chagrined because her book sat on my bookshelves for ages. I only picked it up out of desperation after countless screenplay how-to books just didn’t click for me. And click King’s book did!