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Scripting tips plz


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#1 kv

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 06:15 PM

Well even though I have made a few movies now besides Entity none of them actually had a script written for them as they were more improvised, even Entity was not fully scripted, only dialogue and some basic scene descriptions were written up.

Now the thing is that I have got an idea bashing at my head for a new movie, annoyingly the ideas spring on me when ever I am trying to sleep and then I forget half of them by the time I do get to my computer the next day.

I know writing a script for your movie is generally a good idea as it guides you through your production, my problem is that I am somewhat an impatient chap and prefer to dive in and get my hands dirty in Moviestorm. I tried to start writing a script using Celtx but as usual got impatient, anyone have any tips on making script writing easier? Maybe even a little quicker? unsure.gif

#2 tkd27

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 07:10 PM

No.

But I can tell you I'm in the same boat All my movies have been scriptless, except one that I've been working on forever. And even at that, the script seems to have gotten in the way because I'm soooo stuck on an animation I can't fake and can't get around it :-/ So I know what you mean...

#3 sisch

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 08:55 PM

Let's see.... write them down by hand? smile.gif

If you get your best ideas while near to sleep, or just awaking from sleep; have a scratchpad lying somewhere near to you... and write your ideas down immediately. Otherwise, all the best bits and pieces will be lost (I'm talking out of first-hand experience).

I write everything down - strange ideas, snippets of conversations, the look of a scene, camera movement ideas... and I prefer to write it down by hand, at first. Once the idea begins to ripen, the characters have names, the story has an ending, I start hacking it into the computer, using the large heap of scrap paper for inspiration.

Actually, I love scriptwriting. Once the script is done, I see the whole movie in my mind, hear the characters talk.... "only" thing left to do is actually film it. tongue.gif

#4 tkd27

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 09:21 PM

Neil Gaiman says writing is like wrestling a bear. Some days you're on top, some days the bear is on top. I agree with the analogy, but for my part I guess I'm not a very bear wrestler. I don't often come out on top smile.gif

#5 kv

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 10:32 PM

haha yeah I can see where your coming from.

It is a real pain getting ideas when in near sleep because if I was to have a note pad at hand I would have to get up, turn the light on, write it down then wrestle my way back to sleep lol rolleyes.gif

I don`t mind notes on paper, keep them brief just for info I need, but if someone asked me to write a film script for them I truly would be buggered tongue.gif

#6 sisch

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 10:54 PM

QUOTE (kv @ Oct 31 2009, 11:32 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It is a real pain getting ideas when in near sleep because if I was to have a note pad at hand I would have to get up, turn the light on, write it down then wrestle my way back to sleep lol rolleyes.gif


What, you mean to say you're not that dedicated?? Tsk.... tongue.gif laugh.gif

#7 Fulkster

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 11:09 PM

I used to do the "keep a note pad on the bedside table" thing... I even kept a tape recorder for musical ideas... but the unfocused (near sleep) chicken scratch on paper the next morning wasn't very legible... and the moose-calls I found on tape were pretty humorous at times. laugh.gif
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#8 kv

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Posted 31 October 2009 - 11:35 PM

QUOTE (Fulkster @ Oct 31 2009, 11:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I used to do the "keep a note pad on the bedside table" thing... I even kept a tape recorder for musical ideas... but the unfocused (near sleep) chicken scratch on paper the next morning wasn't very legible... and the moose-calls I found on tape were pretty humorous at times. laugh.gif


ROFL biggrin.gif

#9 primaveranz

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 01:05 AM

The idea for one of my upcoming movies came to me as I lay in bed around midnight, tried to shake it off but finally got up at 1am and wrote for an hour, then went back to bed and woke again at 3am thinking about it again, lay in bed for a while thinking then I got up and scribbled down ideas and random sentences that I thought the actors might say in the situation until about 4:30am.
Then I spent about 2 months avoiding it, partly because I found the whole premise a bit distasteful, but mostly becaue I couldn't read my terrible handwriting wink.gif
Then I had a few tentative goes at sorting it out and finally took the chance and fired it to someone I thought could really do things with the idea, and luckily they liked it.
So I now have managed to get a very skilled "conspirator" in the movie and my enthusiasm is all fired up now!
I still have a lot of tweaking to do though, but I guess if you believe in the idea a few hours discomfort in the mddle of the night is a minor inconvenience. I also think that being half asleep frees up the mind a bit, maybe the right side of the brain is more in charge of dreams etc. So even if all you come up with is "A smell of petroleum prevails throughout" it might be worth it

"If we only use 1/3 of our brain, what's the other 1/3 for?"


#10 mellowhardy

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 05:18 PM

Was it Ernest Hemmingway who said he banged his head against the typewriter until it bled. That's when he knew he had something. Of course it's harder to split your head open with modern keyboards.

#11 iceaxe

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 06:52 PM

I've found that my approach has changed recently. I used to get the main movie idea sorted out in my head first then I jumped straight into writing up the script, going back and forth refining it as I went.

Just recently though, I've had a few ideas and I know I don't have the time just now to work on fully developed scripts. So now, I've started writing down the story as a summary; where it takes place, who the main characters are, what happens, and any lines of dialogue which I know will be crucial to the story get logged with quotes around them; "It wasn't the first time I'd woken up next to a wombat, and I knew it wouldn't be the last..."

I'm hoping this approach will allow for a smooth transition to a fully fledged script, but it's unproven at the moment.

I looked into Celtx, but I found the pagination a bit annoying (even short scripts will run for many, many, pages) so now I just use Word (other word processors are available smile.gif ) and format it in my own amateurish way.

#12 kv

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 07:30 PM

Yeah I know what you mean, when I did scripting for Entity it was very simple and more like scribble to paper with dialogue and basic scene descriptions, no real organization but it did work for me and I found it easy for myself. I`m thinking that even though that is not a pro way of doing it, it maybe my best way.

Come to think of lack of scripts, I`m making a new film and so far it is without a script, much like with entity it will likely be built with only odd scripting parts in place for when I get sudden ideas while filming rolleyes.gif

#13 Stormscape

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 08:05 PM

My approach has changed a lot over the years.

When I first started making machinima, it was Warcraft III, and I never bothered with a script. Even then I was aware that diving in and "writing as I go" wasn't the way I was supposed to do it, but it worked for me in that particular medium.

After that, during high school film class, I worked with live action, and that's when I first started delving into screenplays, but they were haphazard, as most things are that you do for the first time.

Once I shifted into World of Warcraft machinima, is when my methodology really changed. WoW machinima is more like 2D animation than Live cinematography. Each shot is painstakingly constructed from several masked or chroma-keyed, individually animated, layers.

I was forced, pretty much, to develop a detailed scripting method, that was really more like a non-visual storyboard than an ordinary script. It took quite a while to perfect, and the process taught me how to write first and create later. With everything layed out, even with WoW's labor-intensive machinimation process, once I started the actual machinimation, it went smoothly and quickly because the entire movie had been constructed beforehand on paper.

Now, of course, for an environment like Moviestorm, this is overkill, but having done it, regressing to normal Celtx scripting became rather easy, and I found it had given me instincts about what needed to be included in the script and what could be left to when I was "directing" things in MS.

I think that if I had gone straight to MS from WC3, I would be having the same problems with writing. In MS, you still need a script beforehand, if you have dialogue, but its a lot easier to improvise the visuals.
IMO, how you write really should be tailored to the platform in which your working, and in MS, I suppose this would more resemble stage-blocking than a story board.

There's no easy way to adjust to Scripting First, you just have to do it.


#14 act3scene24

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 01:09 AM

QUOTE (kv @ Oct 31 2009, 10:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I know writing a script for your movie is generally a good idea as it guides you through your production, my problem is that I am somewhat an impatient chap and prefer to dive in and get my hands dirty in Moviestorm. I tried to start writing a script using Celtx but as usual got impatient, anyone have any tips on making script writing easier? Maybe even a little quicker? unsure.gif


I used to be like you, and then when I got actors for my movies other than myself, I started writing scripts again. Writing is quick and natural for me, I used to write a lot of them for a few years.

However, I'm always impatient and want to go straight into Moviestorm as well. This is why I come out with so many movies where I'm the only actor, I just want to make a movie very quickly.

Some tips I have for you, is to write/type down your ideas as notes in a document. Just write them down in no specific order or format.

When you think you have enough in your brain and noted down, it makes it easier to quickly write the script.

If you don't like the script format, don't write it like that. I've gotten scripts where it's written more like a play.

Example:

Jim slouches in his couch staring at nothingness.
The phone RINGS, but he doesn't break out of his trance.
The RINGING continues, seemingly getting LOUDER and LOUDER, making us wish he'd pick the damn thing up already.

Eventually, he reaches for the phone and picks it up.

JIM: Yeah.

STEPHEN: (filtered) You alright?

JIM: (careless) Yeah.

STEPHEN: (filtered) I'm coming over.

JIM: Sure.

Jim hangs up the phone and gets up off his couch.
He puts a jacket on and leaves his house.

- - -

Having everything aligned to the left makes it quicker to write stuff down on a word document or notepad document.

Another thing I'm not usually good at is the action/description. Sometimes, I just write the action/description that is necessary (he walks to the refrigerator and opens it, he open the door, etc.) and the dialogue.

So having just the dialogue and only the necessary actions save a lot of time.

Hope some or any of this helped.


#15 reptor7

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 11:36 AM

I used to wing it and make movies off the top of my head, until I needed vocals from others. There is a marked improvement in my movies now since I've been scripting them. My scripts are basically a loose short description of what's going on in each scene with the emphasis being on the dialogue.

Here's the script I've done for Star Quest 11. Perhaps that will help. I used Word and converted it to pdf:

http://reptor7.tripo...st11_script.pdf

#16 kv

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 12:08 PM

They are excellent tips guys, thankyou. Any scripting I do is very similar to the way you do it, I am vague on my details as I base the actions/scenes on what moviestorm can actually deliver or my ability to use an external editor to achieve it. Otherwise the way I present my dialogue is pretty much the same, so its good to know I am getting on the right track.

Thanks again guys.

#17 mccain

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 05:51 PM

Myself, I do a bit of both. Stuff off the top of my head, and scripting. Along with research over the Interweb if I'm doing something historic, or semi-historic.

#18 iceaxe

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 08:47 PM

QUOTE (act3scene24 @ Nov 5 2009, 01:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
JIM: Yeah.

STEPHEN: (filtered) You alright?

JIM: (careless) Yeah.

STEPHEN: (filtered) I'm coming over.

JIM: Sure.

Jim hangs up the phone and gets up off his couch.
He puts a jacket on and leaves his house.



Hang on. If Jim goes out, then there'll be no one in when Stephen comes round. Is Jim avoiding Stephen? Is it because of that unfortunate mix-up with Stephen's "wife"? I mean, how would Jim have known it was Stephen in drag. And that he didn't take credit cards?

Y'see Act, once again another gargantuan plot hole. If you carry on like this you'll never get any recognition.

(Yeah, yeah, I know about your Ollie awards, and your TV shows... but is being famous really recognition? Is it? Oh. It is.) laugh.gif

#19 act3scene24

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 01:18 AM

QUOTE (iceaxe @ Nov 5 2009, 12:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hang on. If Jim goes out, then there'll be no one in when Stephen comes round. Is Jim avoiding Stephen? Is it because of that unfortunate mix-up with Stephen's "wife"? I mean, how would Jim have known it was Stephen in drag. And that he didn't take credit cards?

Y'see Act, once again another gargantuan plot hole. If you carry on like this you'll never get any recognition.

(Yeah, yeah, I know about your Ollie awards, and your TV shows... but is being famous really recognition? Is it? Oh. It is.) laugh.gif


Exactly, Iain. I left you wondering and wanting more with just a little improvised example. wink.gif

My plan was successful!!!!

Mwahahahahahaaaa laugh.gif


#20 hecroaked

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 01:35 AM

I am in the same boat as you are. My usual method was play in Moviestorm and let my brain wander. I would then wing a story. Sometimes I would have a friend right there to help me with voice acting, but most of the time if there was any dialogue i would just do it myself. As a result, almost all of my movies are visual heavy, with almost no or hard to decipher stories. As I have moved and I don't have friends right there with easy communication, I am starting to write scripts. And there is where many of what could have been my best stories have died.


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