I've been a bad boy with regards to blogging but I've been keeping ridiculously busy. One of the joys of being a Full Sail student, we've been just going from project to project with very little downtime in between. It's a wonderful rhythm that I hope to keep up into my career. This leads me into our next school project, a 10 minute short film that we will be shooting on actual film (16mm). Right now we are at the stage where the class has the opportunity to write the script for the project. We are given very specific restrictions regarding sets and cast size in addition to the 10 minute (which translates into about 10 pages) limit on our scripts. Inspiration finally struck me earlier this week and I made a ton of notes (Notes in iOS is a blessing) as the ideas came. Then it came time to start putting "pen" to "paper" and that is where everything slowed to a crawl.
It's the moment I always dread when I start writing. How do I get the pages of jottings to turn into something I can film? Looking for a path I bounced the concept off of my usual writing partner Noel. This lead to a fairly heated discussion on story. Questions were raised like; what constitutes a story? What is essential to a story? What makes a story good?
The major point of contention was what is the core of the story? What is your starting point? Is it in laying out the events of the story or is it the themes and characters? We went back and forth on for hours to no clear resolution so we kind of put the argument aside for the sake of our collective sanity. It had however seeded the thought in the back of my mind.
Then it hit me out of the blue, we were both right in a sense of speaking. The mistake we were making was that we looked at writing as a single process when it is the combination of 2 distinct processes. The first of which is conception, this is point where the ideas are, this was the moment I had standing in front of the jumbotron sheltering from the rain. The period where the ideas come fast and loose, where the themes and characters are born. It is a place with no form and shape. The second process is the creation process. This is a very technical and mechanical process. This is the process that starts with me laying out the events of the story then I go to my ideas and pull them in one by one, layering them one on top the other, using them to shape the base that I have laid. That layering goes back and forth, tweaking, changing, removing until finally you reach a stage where you have a "finished" piece.
In film making this process would continue past the screenplay, with the Director, Production Design, Director of Photography ,each having their own conception process, right through to post production until we have that film that reaches the screen. It's very fascinating to think about.
There is no one way to do anything but it does help to have somewhere solid to start.
Feel free to post thoughts on writing below. How do you see the process?