So you want to write a screenplay?

Have you ever walked out of a theater and thought, “I could write a better movie than that?”  Well, I’m going to publicly admit that I have had that thought.   I have even shared the thought with friends of mine.  Someone, no doubt tired of my short rantings, called me on it with “So, why don’t you?”.

Just in case you don’t know this yet, talking is pretty easy….doing…not so much.  But, I decided to spend some time visiting the local library and bookstores researching screenwriting.  Now…oddly at the same time, I was a big fan of one of our local radio station morning shows on KINK, which was hosted by Les Sarnoff and news guy Mike Rich.  Pretty much at Les’s nudging, from time to time Mike would share his personal experience with screenwriting.  Mike was one of the top 5 finalist for the Nicholl Fellowship, then his screenplay was bought, and finally made into the wonderful film “Finding Forrester”.  As fate would have it, a dear friend of mine was on the fundraising board for the local library.  Their annual event was coming up and she asked me if I would like to introduce the featured speaker for the evening, Mike Rich.  I hate getting up in front of people and just saying my name, let alone trying to put some words on paper and speaking them out loud, BUT, for a chance to pick the brain of Mike Rich.

Long story short,  what a great pleasure to sit at a table with Mike and his wonderful wife.  To talk about the OSU Beavers, the Northwest, the radio show, and…screenwriting.  Mike is one of the most genuine, nicest guys on the earth.  But I digress, his advice, write.  Just write.  If for no other reason than for yourself.  Write, write, write.  Get to page 120.  (roughly a page a script is a minute of screen time, so, 120 pages, 2 hour movie).

With that inspiration, I wrote my first screenplay.  Lesson 1.  Writing is just part of the process, then you have to re-write.  Wow, much harder than I first thought.  But at least I have a screenplay.   Part way through the re-write, Hey, I discover I have a whole new idea for another movie.  Uh-oh….re-write, or start something new.  Well, I’m not on any deadline trying to get something done…so I go with what will be more fun.  I put the re-write away and start the new one.  I even finish it in a few months, but then….yeah…I have to start that re-write.  Or at least if I want it to be any good I do.  So I start, but then I get a completely new idea, completely different genre, and decide that will be a whole lot more fun.  Do you see a pattern.  But there is  one difference here, I decide to spend a number of evenings down at the NW Film Center in a screenwriting class.   So with that in hand, I’m on number 3.

Does this make me a screenwriter.  Well, certainly not a paid screenwriter.  But it is one of my interests that I get to indulge myself in.

Oh, and yes, I will go back and re-write 1 & 2 someday.  But I can sure use all the encouragement you might want to share.

Do you write?  Do you have thoughts of writing a movie?  Do you have a formula for a screenplay, or do you just write by feeling?

So share….and for heavens sake, have fun……Fred

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One Response to So you want to write a screenplay?

  1. Christina says:

    I hear you on the re-writes. Five rough drafts later and I have only re-written one and it still needs more clean up!

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