GhenryWrites

I dream, I write, and then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite…

Loglines

What is a logline?   It’s like your elevator pitch.  Basically, you tell the story of your script in forty words or less and in one to two sentences.  You might think this is an easy feat, but it’s probably one of the most difficult first steps of writing a script.  One of the trickiest parts is that a logline only tells the first two acts so don’t worry about revealing your great show-stopping, plot twist(s).  And don’t expect your logline to be concrete… oh no, it’s always morphing as you write and rewrite your story.  Even though it’s not set in stone, most people in the industry agree that you should write the logline before writing anything else because it makes you think about the major plot points of your story.

So, what are the elements of a logline?  I’m glad you asked 😀  In its most basic format, it is this:

A character (protagonist) sets out on a journey (plot) to do or get something they believe they need or want (tangible goal) against at least three pieces of conflict (antagonist, conflicts, risks/stakes, ticking clock).

I honestly believe that the logline is the most difficult part of screenwriting, at least writing a good, solid logline.  So, once I can finally nail this part, the rest should be easy, right?  LOL.

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Outline, Outline, and Outline!

I’m learning pretty quick that one doesn’t need just character bios and a beat sheet, though those are the necessary backbones, before writing FADE IN.  Rewrites suck and nothing is more time-consuming and soul-crushing than having to do major rewrites on a completed 110-page script.  Am I right?

Well, that’s how I feel about it.  Going from a beat sheet to a more fleshed-out outline helps piece the story together and gives us a clearer view of the whole picture.  I don’t leave it at that, though.  I take my outline and write it into a short story, then I make the necessary changes to my original outline and add more detail, some crucial dialogue, and location information.  By the time, I’m done writing the last outline, the script has pretty much written itself.   Then, I go back to the beat sheet and change that if necessary.  Once I’m happy with it, that’s when I sit down and write my script.

I don’t have a ton of screenwriting experience and I’m always learning about little tricks and shortcuts.  This, though, is something no one should short-cut themselves on doing.  On my first two screenplays, I went straight into writing after I wrote up the beat sheet and all I’ve been doing for the past year is rewrite them.  Well, that’s not all that I’ve been doing, but you get the idea.  The first script that I did with all of the outlining was a short film script and it turned out to be the best example of my writing so far.  Coincidence?  I think not.  So, my mantra is now –  Outline, outline, and outline!

What’s your screenwriting routine?

Writing for an Audience or for Yourself?

looking over shoulderHave you ever noticed an audience standing in the room with you as you write?   I have and it makes me lose track of the plot and, sometimes, the character voices.  It’s not a good thing and makes editing/rewriting a nightmare.

So the other day, I thought:  What if I’m the audience?  What if I write to please me?  Some people might consider this as a limited audience and a bad thing.  On the other side of the argument, if someone (me) is passionate about what gets written, doesn’t that make for a better story?  Better read?  Better everything?

Now, I don’t think one should only write things in a certain genre or for only your (the writer’s) age group.  No, no, no.  What I am saying is to stop the thoughts of  “what if those people don’t like it” or “I wonder if they’d like this better if…”  Yeah, that kind of mental chatter that loops you in circles and you end up with a piece of work that resembles a patchwork quilt.  Do what you feel works for the story, but be honest with yourself and with your story.  See it in your head as it’s laid out… would YOU want to see this on the big screen and do YOU think it’d really work up there?  Let the criticism/feedback come later; not while you create and hone that masterpiece.

Today, I give myself permission to write for myself and find that the creative flow doesn’t get interrupted as much.  It’s become more fun.  Yes, there are still rules that I adhere to and I still get my stuff read by others, that’s a given.  The figurative bunch of people who used to stand behind me, looking over my shoulder while I created… I tossed them out.  I’m free now and so is my creativity!