We’re moving into the last turn toward the homestretch on the photo challenge and still no photos have come in. It’s sad really. I thought at least one would have shown up, but there’s still time and hope for someone to send a pic in for consideration.
Oh well, on to other things.
You might wonder from the title what gears are shifting. For one thing, tomorrow begins my class for the Screenwriting Challenge coming in April—otherwise known as Script Frenzy. Each year, one of our resident screenwriter’s offers a 4-6 week class to help move writers through the challenge process. It works like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month,) with the same sense of hurried plotting and harried writing.
I took the Screenwriting class last month.
I’ve not done the Frenzy before, which means that this year I must forego the April Poem-A-Day Challenge over at Poetic Asides. I’ve done the PAD Challenge each year since 2009 and will miss it. Fortunately for me, I’ve learned how better to pace myself in the spring. I won’t do the NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month Challenge,) either.
I will probably do the National Picture Book Writing Week in May over at Paula Yoo’s website for that Challenge of creating a picture book project each day for a week. That’s a really fun endeavor.
When I speak about shifting gears, more than subjects and challenges are involved. I’m actively writing on one novella, a few short projects (or at least trying to,) and skewing my mind to take in the fact that most of a script is direction and settings, with less than three thousand words of dialogue in the average 120 page script. Think of that.
I always think in pictures and they’re what I use when I write poetry. Photos of places I’ve visited help jog the memory. How much of that experience must I dredge up to create the script’s set notations? How much of the script’s character can I influence with the setting?
And what about that dialogue?
I’ve done a script before, but a documentary. The dialogue was purely voice-over. This time, the speakers will be in view, as in a novel, but more immediate.
You take my meaning, I’m sure. A different mind-set entirely from that of a novel. The script is far more concerned with setting and action than with characters’ words.
That’s where those photos come into place. I have hundreds to choose from. Yet, here’s the rub. For a script, description is kept to a bare minimum, as concrete as possible and little extra. Colors don’t particularly matter, unless it’s critical to a character’s motivation, etc. No flourishes are necessary.
All that’s necessary is: where are you, who’s there, what bare-bones props are there to flavor the setting, and what time of day is it. From there, the writer deals strictly with action. Motivations are irrelevant in the scene set-up. The reader is given motivations only through dialogue.
Moving from novel writing to a script requires a new method, a new perspective, and a willingness to forego all of those little literary helpers than can prop up a scene.
So you see, I’m taking on a completely different challenge this spring—one the forces me to grow, change, and simplify. I look back on February’s Verb Challenge and see the foundation for my work in April. I’ll hold onto the images I’ve been pulling together for myself this month, use them for set direction in the next, and pull my practice from February to guide both scene set-up and dialogue.
If all these consideration work as intended, the Frenzy will go smoothly, and I won’t have frantic days and sleepless nights. I find it funny that these last three months came together like they did to help prepare me for April.
Here’s hoping your coming month will keep you growing and moving forward. See you later in the week. And please think about sending in a photo.