Inspire to Be…. 

I often wonder what it is that makes a writer tell a story. For me, my stories derive from single moments in my life,  to ocassional inspiration from little things I stumble across. Either way, I become “inspired to be”. To be the one to share that moment or tell a story about what I see. 

Today I watched a holiday movie on tv. Nothing big. One I had never heard of before. But for some reason it was just starting and I stopped just to give it a quick glance. As I got further into the movie, I realized the storyline was a lot like ‘Coming to America’ . A holiday movie based on a prince who didn’t want to marry the girl from his prearranged marriage. So, he visits America and finds his true love. Ok, I’m paraphrasing a bit. But sounds familiar, right? Well this little story was similar only without the comedy and more of a holiday theme. 

So, I started to ask myself “I wonder what inspired this story?” Was it some writers attempt to turn a story line into a different genre? Were they big fans of Eddie Murphy and thought; hey, let’s flip one of his movies! Or where they telling a story based on moments from thier life they wanted to share? 

Well, it didn’t matter anymore. I started watching it and all I could think of was how I didn’t like the casting. But then I started to think about the writer. I began to wonder why they wrote it. Was it just a job to write the script? or were they truly inspired to be?

 As my curiosity began, I started to pay more attention to the lines of the characters  and how it felt real. The dialogue was begining to feel comfortble, as if I had said it myself. So I no longer thought about Eddie Murphy and Coming to America and began to root for the story line. Why? Because the story did its job and took me to a place I wanted to be. A little love story that I wished was mine. If even for a second. Whishing it was me the prince fell in love with. 

At the end when we know it will all work out, I was delighted by the spoken dialogue as he tells her she’s the one. And he chose the one standing in front of him. That’s when I realized, the writer did thier job. Somewhere along the line they were inspired to be…. To be the one to tell this story, use thier words and make us fall in love with this little holiday movie. 

So when it comes to telling your story, just remember to “inspire to be”. It’s your story to tell no matter how it came to be. 

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Format… What Format?

Ah…. so your writing a screenplay. Well, welcome to the madness that comes with writing. You know the outline, note-cards, sticky’s on the wall and little pieces of paper that have a note here, a scene there and some dialogue. All those little pieces that you know are going to get you through writing your masterpiece. But here’s the question, can you format a script?

Yes, I know you bought yourself a snazzy program, or uploaded a free one, and you think all I have to do is write. (LOUD BUZZ) Nope! You will be surprised how many scripts I read or see in production that lack format. They have no flow, inproper numbering, or a flashback you can’t follow? Oh and that montage you want with a monologue voice over. No one can figure it out!

There is more to writing a screenplay then putting words into a program. Especially when you decide you want a flashback inside another flashback. The last thing you want is to lose your reader. So, this short note is to remind you that when formatting, there are Four key elements to writing a screenplay:

  1. Sluglines (also known as scene headings)
  2. Action
  3. Characters
  4. Dialogue

Seems easy right? Well, often many writers are so caught up into writing, they often overlook consistency with their sluglines, character names, and even the dialogue. Yes dialogue, writers often think they are giving the right character the line, the next thing you know…. the MAN is barking and the DOG has the best line in the movie. Not to mention typo’s and just plain spelling errors. Transitions have also found a way to “FADE OUT” of many scripts. Everything is left to “Quick Cuts” and the editing department. But if you have the vision for your transitions, then take the time to put them in.

There are many other little details that go into formatting a screenplay:

  1. Proper Font, Margins and Spacing
  2. Action Sequences
  3. Parentheticals
  4. Voice Overs (VO)
  5. Off Screen (OS)
  6. Scene Numbers
  7. Camera Direction (though a good spec script should have very little to no Camera direction at all)

Formatting can be addressed in editing your script. However, from my own personal experience many writers lack the ability to edit their own script. They often read it as they wrote it, and it becomes easy to oversee small errors. So don’t be afraid to let someone else edit your script and double check the format! Format sure can make a difference in flow, and of course my favorite, pre-production breakdown!

Well, as much as I would love to give you all the tips to formatting a successful screenplay, I will leave it up to SCRIPT FRENZY to give you the highlights. Please check out SCRIPT FRENZY FORMATTING PAGE, for all the basic details you need to format your screenplay. You won’t be disappointed!

Happy Writing!