Discovery

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Discovery is an exhilarating feeling.  I can only imagine how Christopher Columbus felt… discovering something for the first time even though hundreds of others already knew.  Still, at least for me, it remains an epiphany.

Yes, I know a little about industry formatting while grabbing hold of a reader’s attention and never letting go.  Yes, I’m aware of first imagery, escalation, and the order in which that imagery is created (thanks Max Adams). Then what didn’t I know? Well, that’s quite a lot but let’s stick to the topic.

That first thirty pages of a screenplay isn’t even about getting produced.  Heavens to murgatroyd! Unclench those pearls!  I’m speaking about establishing oneself as a writer for hire.  Although, admittedly, at the finish of every script I begin practicing my Academy speech (hint, hint, wink, wink).  I digress.  That first thirty is about mobilizing the reader.  It’s about making him or her pick up the phone and call the gatekeepers.  It’s about creating value… not only for you but for them.  It’s about warning the powers that be that a flood is coming and you have just built the only ark. Yes, baby, you better get on board! It’s going to be a fantastic voyage! And so sorry, I’m not sorry, if you miss the boat.

So, with this new knowledge, I am taking pen to paper and creating a brand.  A very specific, distinct, brand called Anita Williams.  I am wielding my pen, telling thrilling stories, adventurous tales and hatching crimes.  I’m spreading love, exposing history, unraveling drama and entering new worlds.

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Polish it!

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Understanding the medium you are writing for is paramount. My sole purpose is to make that gatekeeper hand over the keys to the kingdom.  So, I want to grab that reader by the jugular and never let go!

I started polishing my scripts by going in hot pursuit of words like: is, are, that, then, walk, sit, stand, look, just, begin, start and turn to name a dozen.  I changed these words and was left with a much more clear and solid read. Jesse turns to watch him metamorphosed into Jesse watches him. Rick is walking transformed into Rick tromps. In other words I exchanged a posh novel way of writing for a more crisp and painless style. After all, I am writing action genre films.

Whitewashed Sample

Moving Day Sample

 

 

Focus

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For me, the focus is on a mixture of techniques when starting a new screenplay. I begin with seven little paragraphs.  They include the balance, catalyst, big event and so on – you know… the normal elements of story but not necessarily in that order. Once those gems are complete, I create an outline of events that need to happen  (along with their complications), to get me to each of those elements.

I’ll admit that once I start writing new twists and turns sometime develop and then it’s back to the drawing board (lol).

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