A few tweeters have sent me messages about writing. I am no expert, but this is how I do it. How it works best for me.
When I write a script, I never sit down and start writing. I always think about the concept, outline, characters, scenes, themes etc. I never used to do that, but when I didn’t know where I was going, it meant I would spend a lot of time trying to fix drafts that did not really work.
So I never start writing the script until I more or less know where I am going. Although there is still plenty of room for the unexpected, changes, but I still like to have a structure. However, the way I write can be even more hazardous in another aspect.
MOBILE PHONE WRITING
I speak all my ideas into a mobile phone microphone/recorder for a few weeks. As I go for a walk, food shop, whatever. I let myself daydream that way. I don’t recommend this to everybody, as it can be dangerous! Why? I have nearly been taken over the bonnet of cars while in the middle of a scene in my head, or I have came back from shopping with Banana’s, when I went for shoes! Threw the dog a brolley, instead of a stick!
I have also walked into a few lamposts and people in my time. I mean what a twat! I am not very cool, but cool is overated! Someone has asked me the time in the street, and I give them the directions to Ben Nevis! I get so caught up in my story, that I don’t even know where I am walking to half the time.
Why not sit in front of a desk like a normal person? I can do that too. But on the move in your head really lets you completely focus on the script. No distractions at all. I also flesh out natural dialouge this way when I walk. It helps when trying to get the way people talk, not the way writers write. Have you seen some scottish soaps, people talking like robots!
I use the phone with the recorder, because before this, it looked as if I was talking to myself. One person saw me talking to myself in the park one day. I was writing, talking out a highly emotional scene, and they asked “If I was ok?” I said I am a filmmaker without a budget, I will never be ok, but thanks for asking! I even had tears but I was not upset. I was just so into the scene I was creating.
After that, I got the phone, because it looks as if I am talking to people, doing deals, arranging meetings, organising flights! All that shit! When in reality, I had no friends or contacts left for years, so I am making up my own fantasy life! Very very sad. haha
Anyway, Working this way works for me, so thats why I write this way. It feels much more natural. When I see my characters on the screen talking, they don’t look as if they are saying lines. It looks as if a lot has been improvised in this latest film, and some of it has, but most of it was also written. Kinda the way Gervais did “The office”. That was all scripted.
Sitting in front of a flashing cursor on a laptop does not inspire me to daydream. I used to look out the classroom window and daydream of more interesting lives when I was a kid. So I guess this is where it comes from. I am a dreamer, doer, and an accident waiting to happen!
So if you see me walking and talking in the street on a mobile, there is a good chance I ain’t talking to anybody, I am writing a screenplay. If I am emotional, shouting, then its either a charged scene, or maybe I really am on the phone to my debt collectors. Either way, it’s drama that is going on!
After I have about a months worth of notes, or even a few months, I can then place all the scenes on to index cards, and pin them to a few cork boards. It gives me an idea of structure, and timing. This will let me see if I have too many or two little ideas for scenes.
This part might seem very biz like, but the previous way of writing with my thoughts is so free, kind of natural, it then makes sense to get more biz like about it with this structure. So this laying out the cards works well for me.
WRITING THE SCRIPT
After this, I then write a first draft very fast. Usually about 10 pages a day. 7/10 days for 90 pages. Only if I have done a lot of thinking, taken a lot of notes first. Went over a few cars! Quite simply because it is more or less already written previous. Its just getting it on to to the page now.
I don’t think it’s good to spend too much time on a first draft after you have the outline fleshed out well. Simply because it is going to change a lot in other drafts, so no point in getting it too detailed, precise in a first draft. Just get the paint on the canvas, then start playing around with it. This works for me.
ps. Excuse bad grammar. I give myself a short time span to write blogs. Redrafting would be a luxuary.