Posts tagged screnzy
Posts tagged screnzy
It’s not dead exactly. Script Frenzy is just now an option in Camp NaNoWriMo (which has been moved to April).
To participate, just sign into Camp NaNoWriMo with your Script Frenzy login info, create your project with “Script” as the genre and adjust your word count accordingly.
There are many of us using Camp as a replacement Screnzy so you’re in good company. You can even request a cabin by the Script genre so you get only other script writers if you want.
See you there!
I just went looking for this years Script Frenzy and saw a message from last June that they were shutting it down. :(
I was looking forward to finally giving it a serious shot this year, even with how busy April is going to be for me.
I know I could still do it but I might wait till after April now.
This kinda blows. :(
Now that Script Frenzy has been cancelled, I was thinking of changing the name of this blog. I want to still keep it running with script writing type tidbits but open it up beyond just the Screnzy crowd.
But I won’t do it unless you, the readers, want it. So let me know what you think. What would you like to see from this blog going forward?
My fellow Screnzians,
By now most of you will have heard the news but for those that haven’t: Script Frenzy has been cancelled. While my personal feelings on this are a mixture of sadness and anger at how this went down, I wanted to reach out to all of you one final time to thank you and share some good news for our script writing ambitions in a post Screnzy world.FYI the Script Frenzy site will be shuttered soon so this is your very last communication from me.
I cannot thank you all enough for your enthusiasm, your passion, your talents and most of all your participation these last few years that I served as ML. I appreciate each of you regardless of whether you participated in events or not and I truly thank you for sharing in this crazy writing frenzy. I loved this event, small as it was, and each of you were a part of that. I will miss writing with you.
Since this may well be farewell, I need you to promise me one thing. Promise me that, even without the 30 day April deadline, you’ll keep writing, keep working on your dreams and keep nurturing your creativity in the face of all the distractions of the real world. The end of Script Frenzy doesn’t have to mean the end of your script writing journey and I hope you won’t let it be.
On that note, there is a little good news in the midst of this. Camp NaNoWriMo will be held in April this year and they’ve added a new option to allow you to write scripts. So, while it’s no Script Frenzy, you’ll still be able to participate in a Screnzy-like event by writing your script in 30 days during the April Camp NaNoWriMo session. The community structure for that event is very different than what you may be used to from Screnzy but it’s at least a way to keep the Script Frenzy challenge alive. I encourage you to consider joining me in participating this year. (You can use the same login info on the Camp NaNoWriMo site as you did for Script Frenzy if you want to check it out.)
Lastly, all my old script writing articles and pep talks will remain archived here if you need them and the Tumblr will stay active (though I’ll likely rename it at some point). Even though Screnzy is gone, if you find yourself in need of a pep talk or advice, please don’t ever hesitate to contact me and I’d be happy to try to help. My contact info is below and I’ll remain your ML in spirit forever.
This brings us to the big fade out, the final curtain, the last panel. I wish you all nothing but the best in your writing endeavors and I hope to see you around the internet.
Joss Whedon is most famous for creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer, its spin-off Angel and the short-lived but much-loved Firefly series. But the writer and director has also worked unseen as a script doctor on movies ranging from Speed to Toy Story. Here, he shares his tips on the art of screenwriting.
1. FINISH IT
Actually finishing it is what I’m gonna put in as step one. You may laugh at this, but it’s true. I have so many friends who have written two-thirds of a screenplay, and then re-written it for about three years. Finishing a screenplay is first of all truly difficult, and secondly really liberating. Even if it’s not perfect, even if you know you’re gonna have to go back into it, type to the end. You have to have a little closure.
Structure means knowing where you’re going ; making sure you don’t meander about. Some great films have been made by meandering people, like Terrence Malick and Robert Altman, but it’s not as well done today and I don’t recommend it. I’m a structure nut. I actually make charts. Where are the jokes ? The thrills ? The romance ? Who knows what, and when ? You need these things to happen at the right times, and that’s what you build your structure around : the way you want your audience to feel. Charts, graphs, coloured pens, anything that means you don’t go in blind is useful.
3. HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY
This really should be number one. Even if you’re writing a Die Hard rip-off, have something to say about Die Hard rip-offs. The number of movies that are not about what they purport to be about is staggering. It’s rare, especially in genres, to find a movie with an idea and not just, ‘This’ll lead to many fine set-pieces’. The Island evolves into a car-chase movie, and the moments of joy are when they have clone moments and you say, ‘What does it feel like to be those guys ?’
4. EVERYBODY HAS A REASON TO LIVE
Everybody has a perspective. Everybody in your scene, including the thug flanking your bad guy, has a reason. They have their own voice, their own identity, their own history. If anyone speaks in such a way that they’re just setting up the next person’s lines, then you don’t get dialogue : you get soundbites. Not everybody has to be funny ; not everybody has to be cute ; not everybody has to be delightful, and not everybody has to speak, but if you don’t know who everybody is and why they’re there, why they’re feeling what they’re feeling and why they’re doing what they’re doing, then you’re in trouble.
5. CUT WHAT YOU LOVE
Here’s one trick that I learned early on. If something isn’t working, if you have a story that you’ve built and it’s blocked and you can’t figure it out, take your favourite scene, or your very best idea or set-piece, and cut it. It’s brutal, but sometimes inevitable. That thing may find its way back in, but cutting it is usually an enormously freeing exercise.
When I’ve been hired as a script doctor, it’s usually because someone else can’t get it through to the next level. It’s true that writers are replaced when executives don’t know what else to do, and that’s terrible, but the fact of the matter is that for most of the screenplays I’ve worked on, I’ve been needed, whether or not I’ve been allowed to do anything good. Often someone’s just got locked, they’ve ossified, they’re so stuck in their heads that they can’t see the people around them. It’s very important to know when to stick to your guns, but it’s also very important to listen to absolutely everybody. The stupidest person in the room might have the best idea.
7. TRACK THE AUDIENCE MOOD
You have one goal : to connect with your audience. Therefore, you must track what your audience is feeling at all times. One of the biggest problems I face when watching other people’s movies is I’ll say, ‘This part confuses me’, or whatever, and they’ll say, ‘What I’m intending to say is this’, and they’ll go on about their intentions. None of this has anything to do with my experience as an audience member. Think in terms of what audiences think. They go to the theatre, and they either notice that their butts are numb, or they don’t. If you’re doing your job right, they don’t. People think of studio test screenings as terrible, and that’s because a lot of studios are pretty stupid about it. They panic and re-shoot, or they go, ‘Gee, Brazil can’t have an unhappy ending,’ and that’s the horror story. But it can make a lot of sense.
8. WRITE LIKE A MOVIE
Write the movie as much as you can. If something is lush and extensive, you can describe it glowingly ; if something isn’t that important, just get past it tersely. Let the read feel like the movie ; it does a lot of the work for you, for the director, and for the executives who go, ‘What will this be like when we put it on its feet ?’
9. DON’T LISTEN
Having given the advice about listening, I have to give the opposite advice, because ultimately the best work comes when somebody’s fucked the system ; done the unexpected and let their own personal voice into the machine that is moviemaking. Choose your battles. You wouldn’t get Paul Thomas Anderson, or Wes Anderson, or any of these guys if all moviemaking was completely cookie-cutter. But the process drives you in that direction ; it’s a homogenising process, and you have to fight that a bit. There was a point while we were making Firefly when I asked the network not to pick it up : they’d started talking about a different show.
10. DON’T SELL OUT
The first penny I ever earned, I saved. Then I made sure that I never had to take a job just because I needed to. I still needed jobs of course, but I was able to take ones that I loved. When I say that includes Waterworld, people scratch their heads, but it’s a wonderful idea for a movie. Anything can be good. Even Last Action Hero could’ve been good. There’s an idea somewhere in almost any movie : if you can find something that you love, then you can do it. If you can’t, it doesn’t matter how skilful you are : that’s called whoring.
For those asking/wondering:
Here’s the official announcement on this:
One thing that has made us proud over the years is how many people can call themselves scriptwriters because of Script Frenzy. Since 2007, the year Script Frenzy began, you and 85,000 other total participants have taken on the audacious challenge of writing a 100-page script—churning out nearly 1.4 million pages of original plays, TV shows, movies, and graphic novels.
While those numbers are impressive, we’ve struggled in other ways to put on Script Frenzy. Script Frenzy’s participant numbers haven’t grown along with our other writing programs’, and that has affected our ability to raise enough funds to put on the event because we rely on donations from participants to host them. Approximately 16,500 writers took part in Script Frenzy this year compared to the more than 350,000 writers who participated in NaNoWriMo, Camp NaNoWriMo, and the Young Writers Program.
As much as we wish we could continue hosting Script Frenzy, the OLL board recently voted to end Script Frenzy because it was operating at a loss that was unsustainable. I want you to know that this was an incredibly difficult decision, and one that was carefully considered for several years, but we have to do it for the overall health of the organization.
Even though we can’t continue hosting Script Frenzy, we want to keep its spirit alive as we focus on our mission of helping “children and adults find the inspiration, encouragement, and structure they need to achieve their creative potential.” We believe that everyone has a story to tell—and there’s no other organization as passionate about helping people tell their stories as we are.
Just as the impact of Script Frenzy will live on after the end of the program, we want to find ways to keep the community going as well. A Script Frenzy forum will be created on the NaNoWriMo site to host all things scripty, and help participants to stay in touch. We are also working on a way to archive the Script Frenzy resources so they remain accessible to participants.
On behalf of the entire OLL staff and board, I thank you for everything you’ve done for the organization. Your writerly spunk and derring-do has inspired us in so many ways. We’re so honored that we get to work with people like you who take such brave creative risks and embrace the challenge of making—diving into your imagination, following your whimsy, chasing fantastical creatures, or capturing the life around you.
Kudos also to the heroic team who made Script Frenzy such a creative adventure these many years: Chris Baty; Program Director Sandra Salas; past Directors Jen Arzt and Kristina Malsberger; the OLL board and staff; and our heroic Script Frenzy Municipal Liaisons.
Thank you, again, for everything. We look forward to more creative frenzies with you—because I know we all have more stories to tell!
This is what you’ll all be saying when you hand your script over to beta readers…