Screenwriter’s Journey: Books and Websites

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If you are new to anything, you’ll have to learn from those who’ve successfully walked the path before you. As a newbie to screenwriting (apart from that one dabble in it in High School, where I wrote a “one shot” for class), I was pressed to find resources and guidelines that would introduce me to the craft of screenwriting, and teach me how to do it properly – in a short amount of time.

Typically, the first thing we do in this day and age is using Google. So like my fellow Modern Westerners I went ahead and googled screenwriting, which was followed up by a move towards Amazon.

I purchased Charles Harris’ “Complete Screenwriting Course” ebook, which I can highly recommend. This book is certainly all you need, in my estimation. It’s affordable and very well-structured, instructive, and useful.

Harris’ book guides you through the process of writing your (first) script, from start to finish, including how to develop an idea, and eventually pitch your script and get involved in the business.

Browsing through my own personal library at home, I discovered I had already bought a book on Screenwriting a few years ago; the German version of one of Syd Field‘s screenwriting books, called “Das Drehbuch“.

Field’s book is more personal in nature, and less structured. It reads more like a personal story on how he got into screenwriting, how he assesses the value of scripts, and how his students did in his classes.

If you don’t have much time (like I did), you’d be better off focusing on something more instructional and to-the-point like Harris‘ ebook.

Personally, I read both books alongside each other to gain the most value and knowledge in a short amount of time; relatively short. Within one month or two, I felt mostly confident in my ability to set up and write a script, thanks to the books above and the following websites/articles:

http://www.scriptmag.com/features/meet-reader-writing-first-screenplay

http://www.scriptmag.com/features/balls-of-steel-dear-new-screenwriter

http://www.scriptreaderpro.com/writing-style-mistakes/

At last, some of my friends recommended Robert McKee’s “Story” to me, which I have heard some audio excerpt from before. I imagine it to be quite interesting, and I might check it out more closely another time.

With the help of the above resources, I managed to finish my first short movie script within one to two months, starting from absolute scratch.

I hope this article was helpful to you, and I’d like to hear which resources you’ve found valuable on your way to writing your own (first) scripts. 🙂

 

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More Like This: Character Design #1

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This could be a good character design for a science-fiction flick in the not-so-far-away-future, for a protagonist who has a bit of an edge, is semi-rebellious (see the hair), but also likes to blend in to some extent (see the monochromatic, simple clothing).

I could see him playing a part in the movie of this image.

He reminds me of a slightly more futuristic version of Guy Pearce in Memento.

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And a less exaggerated, less overly stylized version of Iwan Rheon in S.U.M 1. 

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There can be a fine line between making a character look original and memorable, and making them look overly stylized and more like a caricature…

More Like This: Cinematic Imagery #1

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Intriguing interplay of the bottom surface and lights. The intersection, overlapping of dream life and reality; a sweet spot for atmospheric visual storytelling.

As if the ground was crying in a dream; a dream gone wrong or a nightmare going good? It is not easy to tell (yet)…

The cyclist is on a mission. The protagonist of the story; he is in motion, on his way to face obstacles, defeat the enemy, or perhaps on his way to escape someone…? There is a sense of urgency and stillness, timelessness at the same time; set by the fact this is a non-moving image, but with a very dynamic set up.

The darkness of the night. Black and white-blue. Heightening the sense of mystery, with a taste of the future – this snapshot of reality seems from a time a few years into the future; and even if this is just an illusion (which it is), it makes you dream.

You know this is one of those moments which deserve to be captured; for once their time is gone, they won’t return. Certain moments repeat themselves, typically those we are not too fond of; but those moments which are precious and intriguing often last for a limited amount of time, and then fade away, never to return again.

We need more movies like this image; cinematography that makes you dream.

It is quite remarkable how much certain images can capture the essence of cinema, whereas certain movies fail to do so…

P.S: This image belongs to their rightful owner. I’d appreciate it if someone informed me of the owner in the comments.