One Down, Two to Go

The short lifespan of EIFF and its Youth Hub is now over, signalling the next wave of Festival: Edinburgh International, and the Fringe. Doors officially (and metaphorically) open on 7th August, with previews usually beginning the week before.

Things will kick off the following week at the Book Festival which, to date, I’m yet to go to despite receiving many a trinket from there (primarily Hawkeye comics).

My final Youth Hub workshop was Screenwriting with Neil Rolland, a three hour crash course in short film and what goes into one, from recoginising the difference between a short and feature length idea, to consolidating and formatting said idea to script. It answered a plethora of questions that had been bubbling around in my noggin for the last two years, primarily that of fomatting. While there is substantial leeway in theatre scripts, film has a stricter industry standard. (It’s not that there isn’t one in theatre, but you’d be amazed how interpretive some writers can be). And while I’m all for self-sufficiency, a nudge in the right direction can’t hurt.

For those wondering (albeit silently, but I know you’re there), the other reason for this foray of curiosity is because of how little I know about film. I watch films, I buy them, I analyse them to death and, if they’re still on tape, I watch them until they break (the audio to my Star Wars trilogy has been lovingly “altered” to dip in and out of hearing – vigilance on the volume control is a must). What little I do know comes from logic, vague story-making practice, and three Lord of the Rings extended editions.

The mere smidgen of screenwriting-knowledge stems from a session during the summer of my masters, but the focus of that was on how to get work, and the nature of a story arch. There was a lot to pack in to a four hour workshop, so to expect a discussion of how to write a script and explore all the dull technicalities would have been a bit to much too ask – believe me, the above was interesting enough.

The last (and probably the most important) reason is that there are several projects milling about both myself and another’s head, but neither myself nor he knows how to write a screenplay. For a while, I was very picky over the term “script” and argued that a script composed of just action is not a script – after all, I’m the one that writes the damn things, surely I of all people would know. My associate eventually caved to agree, but now, after this session, I realise that I was completely wrong. So, thanks to this incredibly informative, useful and very pleasant three hours, I can now write screenplays. Not necessarily good ones, but rather than apologise to my friend, I’ll just give him a screenplay. Because I went to the session and he didn’t, ha.

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6 thoughts on “One Down, Two to Go

  1. I’ve long contended that format of a written piece is less important if your content is superb. You can find an editor to help you format your content properly. That’s precisely why I made sure my publisher provided an editor for me when they expressed interest in my book.

    • See, I’d like to think that, which is why there is so much leeway in play scripts. One of the things the guy said was how amazed he was at the variety of formats he’s read – Gyllenhaal’s ‘Nightcrawler’ was apparently impossible. The main lesson I took from the day, which I guess could be said for any written medium, is to make everything as clear as possible to the reader. But unlike you, I’m a long way off publishment (possibly because I invent words :) ). Looking forward to an update on the book front!

      • I sent you the link to the most recent update (from about a month ago), yes?

      • Update #2? I remember it. I’d be more than happy to offer my eyes for reading purposes and promote it in some way. I’m just not a reviewer of novels, nor can I justify this blog as a host for guest work (at least, not yet, but more on that later). I was just meaning the next update since it’s been a while.

      • Ah yes, that’s the most recent one. With me having been gone for my wedding/honeymoon, there hasn’t been much progress. That said, there will likely be some concept cover art coming in the next month or so.

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