Jump to content

Welcome to Nightly.Net
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

The Next Thing I Write


136 replies to this topic

#26
Odine

Odine

    Member

  • Supporters
  • 2,352 posts

I was totally joking lol

 

 

about the 80s I mean


Edited by Odine, 12 September 2019 - 10:49 AM.


#27
Iceheart

Iceheart

    No.

  • Moderators
  • 20,562 posts
I see you basically recreating the Southern Gothic playlist there.

As someone who has spent her life around new age hippie types, I have yet to hear of anyone naming their child Sigil. I could see her taking it as a cult name, tho. And with a name like that I could see her either having lots of normal tattoos, or magical tattoos if you want to go with a supernatural thing. Have that main sigil either worked into a large tattoo design in a place that has to be Revealed (like, say, during one of those sweaty sex scenes), or have it appear when shes using her powers or something. Or not, whatever.

#28
Tank

Tank

    Driver

  • Member
  • 34,790 posts

I see you basically recreating the Southern Gothic playlist there.

 

From Spotify? yes-- but I added Yelawolf, PJ Harvey, Cat Power, Jim White and a bunch of other stuffs.

 

As I intended to, spent last half of yesterday putting together an image bank for inspiration. That often leads to me making a cover too. Technically, covers are frowned upon in the industry, but I get away with it having been a designer.

 

http://sethmsherwood.../sigil_mood.pdf

 

http://sethmsherwood...MGSECRET/sc.JPG



#29
Darth Krawlie

Darth Krawlie

    privileged ****lord

  • Moderators
  • 34,709 posts

well I got a boner


  • Tank +1 this

#30
Tank

Tank

    Driver

  • Member
  • 34,790 posts

Today's task to find the spine.

 

This is when I take the handful of ideas I have and put them into the basic 3 act Hollywood paradigm of beats and see what I have. There's SIX basic plot points to any movie that follows a standard 3 act western narrative. They are:

 

1. The Hook

2. The Catalyst

3. The first twist/reversal

4. The Discovery/second reversal

5. The Failure/Final reversal

6. The Finale

 

"Catalyst" is often referred to in the Campbellian term, which is THE CALL TO ACTION. It's the same thing-- it's what sucks the lead into the story.

 

"Twist" is s term that has become abused. In structure, what we really mean is a reversal of expectations and direction. A plot twist. BUT, at some point a lot of execs what the movie to live on the back of twists, and love to ask WHAT'S THE TWIST. What they really want to know is the DISCOVERY, which CAN, but doesn't have to be a twist.

 

If we were talking about ANH, here's what it would be:

 

1. The Hook - space battle, R2 escapes, Leia captured

2. The Catalyst - Luke goes looking for an errant R2 

3. The first twist/reversal - Luke has a destiny / foster parents killed

4. The Discovery/second reversal - in trying to stay ahead of the Empire, they realize Leia is aboard the Death Star

5. The Failure/Final reversal - Obi-Wan is killed

6. The Finale - Death Star kablooey

 

Every screenwriting tome tells you to work off these basic beats, though they often call them other things, and add in their own things. Right now, the book SAVE THE CAT, is the one read by all execs to understand how to read a screenplay. I hate Save The Cat because it's responsible for formulaic crap and was written bu the guy who wrote STOP OR MY MOM WILL SHOOT. He calls the second reversal DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL. Eff him.

 

Even Bob McKee, who is the most famous screenwriting teach ever only has a few lame TV credits. 

 

After years of years of schooling and reading every one of those tomes, and actually writing them, I combined all the ideas into a master worksheet, which I am attaching. 

 

Generally, at the stage I am at now, I can usually fill out four of the big six beats above onto this sheet-- then I look at the holes between them and fill in. If I can do figure out the whole sheet without too much trouble, then I know there's enough story for a movie.

 

I actually have STACKS of these things. I go this far with a lot of ideas before choosing one to go. A lot of times, this is as far as I want to go. I do this step, and I can see if it is going to be a MEH script. If so I won't do it.

 

And oddly, I always have to print this thing out and do it by hand.

 

Attached File  paradigmworksheet.pdf   869.55KB   8 downloads

 


  • zambingo +1 this

#31
Darth Krawlie

Darth Krawlie

    privileged ****lord

  • Moderators
  • 34,709 posts

whoa whoa whoa

 

how can you DARE argue with the man who brought us the cinematic classic stop or my mom will shoot

 

this changes my entire opinion of you, you goddamn monster

 

EDIT: digging your worksheet though


  • Tank and Iceheart +1 this

#32
Tank

Tank

    Driver

  • Member
  • 34,790 posts

As I was guessing-- I didn't get very far. This paradigm is great for a plot-heavy movie. Mysteries, horror films (which are often mysteries with scares), and adventure films work great with the paradigm. Any genre film-- scifi, superhero, etc-- they will work great with this.

 

What it's not great at, is more character based stories. There's no mission, no Death Star plans, no mentor to seek out, no secret weapon to defeat in a character based psychological story.

 

If I were doing a mystery thriller with a crime, this would also work. But I'm definitely going more psychological. 

 

Sometimes, the story clock method works well for character-based stuff. This is when you plot your story on a wheel instead of a line and fill your gaps with symmetrical reasoning. Meaning, everything in screenwriting comes in beats. Generally you'll have a MISSION plot based story, then a CHARACTER arc, and maybe a third or fourth subplot. You want to alternate between them, so when you look at your beats visually on a wheel, you make "spokes" to even out the beats.

 

There's a better visual explanation here:

https://plotdevices....yclock-notebook

 

While the story clock is great for more intricate weaving of multiple storylines (I use it when I am doing TV episodes), it too tends to like to run with plot first. So I don't think that will work for this story either.

 

So how does one break a character based story? By not getting too granular, reversing plot beats with character beats within the paradigm and replacing physical action with psychological suspense.

 

I don't have a worksheet for that, but I can work up a list pretty easy. I'll start with the big six, and put in a few between beats that I think should be known based on the genre.

 

So something like this:

 

ACT ONE

1. The Hook

2. The Catalyst

3. The first twist/reversal

 

ACT TWO

A. Seeds of dissent sewn

B. Seduction

C. Personal Roadblock

4. The Discovery/second reversal

D. Some minor physical action

E. Identity Crisis 

F. World Falling Apart

5. The Failure/Final reversal

 

ACT THREE

6. The Finale

 

The first act is all hook/set-up. That is pretty universal, so I don't think I need to change much up there.

 

In the second act, in straight forward film, is going to have a plot requirement that gets everyone going. In this story, that's where I have to build in all the fleecing, manipulation, and seduction. In the back half, things start to fall apart and break down. It wouldn't hurt to have at least one physical action sequence (other than the sex) in there to keep things interesting. I'm throwing in these terms off the top of my head as placeholders for the general sense of how things should feel at that time in the story. I'm doing this by intuition and experience more than anything else.

 

So let me go play with that...


  • zambingo +1 this

#33
Rock

Rock

    Self High-Five

  • Member
  • 38,776 posts

BTW, when you're done with all of this stuff we need to work on Cannonball Run reboot.  YESTERDAY!


  • monkwich +1 this

#34
Tank

Tank

    Driver

  • Member
  • 34,790 posts

BTW, when you're done with all of this stuff we need to work on Cannonball Run reboot.  YESTERDAY!


It's in the works, being written by the Reno 911 guys.

#35
D-Ray Kenobi

D-Ray Kenobi

    Back off man, I'm a scientist.

  • Member
  • 15,265 posts

Other good "Southern Gothic" songs I'd suggest:

​Methamphetamine - Old Crow Medicine Show
High Ball Stepper - Jack White

I Can Feel a Hot One - Manchester Orchestra

Snowden's Jig - Carolina Chocolate Drops

Out of My System - My Morning Jacket

Gimme All Your Love - Alabama Shakes
Blood Bank - Bon Iver

Codeine - Trampled By Turtles

24 Frames - Jason Isbell

Red Eyes - The War on Drugs

Like a Mighty River - St Paul and the Broken Bones


  • Tank and Iceheart +1 this

#36
D-Ray Kenobi

D-Ray Kenobi

    Back off man, I'm a scientist.

  • Member
  • 15,265 posts

BTW, when you're done with all of this stuff we need to work on Cannonball Run reboot.  YESTERDAY!

Dude, I had an idea for the best reboot ever years and years ago.  Smokey and the Bandit with Matthew McConaughey as Bo, Reese Witherspoon as Frog, John Goodman as Smokey, and Johnny Knoxville as Snowman. 

 

This was forever ago though, everyone's either gotten too old or too famous at this point.


  • Tank +1 this

#37
Tank

Tank

    Driver

  • Member
  • 34,790 posts


BTW, when you're done with all of this stuff we need to work on Cannonball Run reboot.  YESTERDAY!

Dude, I had an idea for the best reboot ever years and years ago.  Smokey and the Bandit with Matthew McConaughey as Bo, Reese Witherspoon as Frog, John Goodman as Smokey, and Johnny Knoxville as Snowman. 
 
This was forever ago though, everyone's either gotten too old or too famous at this point.

I tweeted about wanting to do it with Goodman as Smokey and Pedro Pascal as Bandit and Pedro liked it... so think it's official.
  • Jacen123 +1 this

#38
Tank

Tank

    Driver

  • Member
  • 34,790 posts
Okay-- plugged in the existing ideas, filled a few gaps with obvious connections, and now have this rough spine:
 
ACT ONE
1. The Hook
- Happy family camping
- RANDAL, dad; AMY, mom; SIGIL, daughter (10); CALLIOPE, daughter (6)
- Sigil comes up masked kids, they lead her away
- parents can’t find her / panic 
 
2. The Catalyst
- status quo: 10 years later, family seems stable
- …but clearly there’s some tension between parents, sleeping separate
- establish they never moved in case Sigil came home
- clearly going through motions for Calliope, now 16
- failed sex attempt?
- Sigil shows up on their doorstep
 
X. Building to Reversal
- blood test confirms Sigil’s ID
- DETECTIVE PIERCE, been on Sigil’s case for years, has questions
- Sigil tells them about “the family” that had her
- TBD on details, honest about cult, or cover?
- tells her “Elijah” was her “brother” helped her escape
- Attempt made to make life normal for sigil
- Sigil and Calliope reconnect
 
3. The first twist/reversal
- police go searching where Sigil told them
- find remains of some sort of off-grid camp
- Find Elijah, hurt, but alive
- The family takes Elijah in on Sigil’s insistance
 
ACT TWO
A. Seeds of dissent sewn
- spooky **** happens
- Sigil and Elijah have secrets
- each fam member witnesses some version of this
- Sigil tries to adjust to normal life
- Calliope can’t help but crush on Elijah a bit
- Sigil casts Randall as **** to Amy; Elijah does reverse
- valuables go missing from the home; Elijah blamed
- Elijah exonerated; Randall blamed
 
B. Seduction
- Sigil and Elijah have sex in secret / maybe Calliope catches them?
- Sigil bangs a co-worker at the normal job she’s taken to blend in
-he can’t handle it, see she does this for energy, like a sex vampire
- Randal has an affair, (set-up) and is caught
- Elijah seduces Amy
 
C. Personal Roadblock
- Sigil starts to wonder what it might be like to have a normal life
-sex messes that up
- Randall knows he has been set up 
 
4. The Discovery/second reversal
- Randal finds out that Elijah and Sigil have been watching the family 
- her return was planned, they’ve been prepping
 
D. Some minor physical action
- Randal tries to talk to Amy, but Elijah gets to him first, beats him
- Randal survives, has become paranoid, runs from hospital
 
E. Identity Crisis 
- Amy feels crazy guilt about Elijah, anger over Randal
- Sigil tells Randal he isn’t crazy, everything he suspects is true
 
F. World Falling Apart
- …but Elijah kills Randal
- Sigil and Elijah seemingly flee
- Calliope realizes that Amy has been indoctrinated (details tbd)
 
5. The Failure/Final reversal
- Calliope tries to get her mother away from family to safety
- creepy cult folk chase them / take Amy
 
ACT THREE
6. The Finale
- reveal Amy was targeted as Sigil’s mother; Sigil is special, so Amy is too 
- Calliope tries to save Amy again, but is caught
- Calliope kills Elijah
- Calliope elects to stay with mother and sister

 

 
 
This isn't bad-- there's a lot of details to be worked out, obviously, and not all of it lines up. The trick is to not look at this as a linear beat by beat chronological plot points, and more of a checklist. Things will move organically.
 
I know in the other thread we talk a lot about world building, and I am always asked about character development and writing/thinking about every detail of the characters life before the story...
 
...but if I am being 100% honest all that stuff gets in my way and keeps me from getting the story done. A little world building for scifi is needed, mysteries require some planning because there's always something going on before/off screen, and horror often requires some planning with mythology... but nothing too extensive.
 
I like to get to writing ASAP. I don't like having too many cemented ideas because then the second you feel the story going somewhere else (which it can/does) you feel trapped by what you already wrote. I learn/build characters as I go. Usually I find their voices and personality in the second act-- then I go back in later drafts to make it line up.
 
For characters, I really just need their primary motivation to start, everything else takes shape on the page.
 
I also rarely stick to any outline or plan I make-- it always drifts as I go. So to that, as rough as this is, it's enough for me to get started and get stuff down on the page. That's my process-- get in and write fast, and finds it along the way.

  • Jacen123 +1 this

#39
Tank

Tank

    Driver

  • Member
  • 34,790 posts

It's now 3:30 my time. That's a good day's work. I'm going to go to the K-spa, have dinner, then come home and have a drink while watching my stories.


  • Jacen123 and Darth Krawlie +1 this

#40
Tank

Tank

    Driver

  • Member
  • 34,790 posts

Okay, it's now 1. I slept in, had bfast, went to gym, showered, ate lunch, time to start working.

 

Looking at the above, it still feels good after not looking at it for a day. I'm going to just dive in and see how it feels. This stage is important. Often times I will write ten pages, and not feel it and abandon a project. Other times I have to put the 10 pages away fro a few days then look at them again, sometimes I just go.

 

I'm off to write the first few scenes and see what happens.



#41
Cerina

Cerina

    Now and forever...

  • Admin
  • 29,889 posts
I know you don't like/watch police procedurals, but Criminal Minds did something somewhat similar.

Couple slaughtered in their beds by a family (mom, dad, 10 yo son) and their daughter was kidnapped. Turns out to be some crazy Romani-like cult family. They kidnap girls for their sons. And that's actually where the killer-mom came from. She was kidnapped as a child for her husband and her parents were killed.

#42
Tank

Tank

    Driver

  • Member
  • 34,790 posts
Everything ever has been done, I'm not sweating it. Execution and tone is everything.
  • zambingo +1 this

#43
Tank

Tank

    Driver

  • Member
  • 34,790 posts

Documentating all of this is fun because I am realizing things.

 

For example-- planning, outlining,. research, graphics, and generating ideas all comes easily during the day, and I am usually up and productive and done by 3ish.

 

On days I intend to crank out pages I can sit for hours getting easily distracted, internetting, playing music, and napping and managing a sentence an hour until the sun starts down-- then it comes pouring out.

 

I had an idea it was true, but it's feeling much more verified now.


  • Jacen123 and Darth Krawlie +1 this

#44
Darth Krawlie

Darth Krawlie

    privileged ****lord

  • Moderators
  • 34,709 posts
Its so easy to not write when youre writing!
  • Tank and Jacen123 +1 this

#45
Tank

Tank

    Driver

  • Member
  • 34,790 posts

2:55 - lay on couch

3:04 - write a single slug line

3:05 - anxiety

3:06 - anxiety / back to couch

3:07 - internet/anxiety

3:45 - see everyone in LA horror scene was at the Universal HHN open last night. I was invited. didn't go. Got serious FOMO.

3:46 - imposter syndrom hits

4:03 - post


  • zambingo +1 this

#46
Tank

Tank

    Driver

  • Member
  • 34,790 posts

As predicted, 5-7pm, wrote 14 pages.

 

I do vomit drafts, so I went back, cleaned it up, made it better, condensed dialog, took out my usual over-writing, and got it down to 11 pages.

 

With ANY scene in a script you have to determine what its point is. It absolutely HAS to do one of these things:

 

1. Advance plot by setting up or building to a story beat.

2. Give us a character moment-- either insight into who they are, or advance their personal story arc

3. Do something that in germane to the genre (comedies= something funny; horror= a scare; etc.)

 

If you're really good, you can do two of these at once. If you're a pro, all three. If your scene has none of these, you need to cut it.

 

There's a 4th point, which is world/setting building. You need it at the beginning of your script, or any time you do a major location change-- beyond that it becomes superfluous and an A.D. or line producer will cut it. If you really want to espouse on location somewhere other than where it's allowed, find a way to work into one of the three points above.

 

My 11 pages had 9 scenes. They were this:

 

1. A open on a winding road and a vintage muscle-van running down it. The point here-- to establish setting and a bit of character. I play up the hot southern setting, and since this isn't a period piece, you know the van is saying something about the driver.

 

2. Inside the van, we meet the driver and his family. I use this scene to build up the Randal/Dad character and his wife Amy. We meet their little kids, and overall, this scene is showing how they are as a family, and that things are HAPPY.

 

3. The family is camped out, kids playing in the water, mom and dad banter. This is all about building the HAPPY more. Since this is a dark story and **** is about to go down, the more upbeat it starts the better the swerve. I also take a moment to show that even though Randal is a car-dude with tattoos, he's also a pretty decent parent.

 

4. Amy lures Randal into the van for sex. This scene is highlighting the genre-- it's a sexy beat. It's interrupted, but it's enough to establish that this is a part of the story. It also establishes that Randal and Amy have sexual agency int he story, they are objects of desire for each other. This tells casting they are sexy, and that it is part of the story.

 

5. Sigil has to pee. This is story set-up, because a big moment is coming. She goes off into the woods.

 

6. Sigil goes to pee, but encounters a group of creepy ass kids up to no good. This is both story set-up, and plays as a scary moment.

 

7. The parents realize Sigil has gone missing, and they search frantically, freaking out. This is obviously a big story-beat, as her disappearance sets up the rest of the story. It's also a character moment for Randal and Amy as this is a huge defining moment in their lives, and will effect their relationship down the road.

 

8. Later, the police arrive to form a search party, people walk the line and find nothing. This seems like a logical extension of the last scene, and if my point was to play out the disappearance, I would keep it as it builds things. BUT, we know this is all set up and the story begin when Sigil comes BACK. So really, this scene doesn't tell us anything different. We already know Sigil is missing. So, I cut this scene.

 

9. The police interview Randal and Amy separately. They are distraught, and the police poke a little too much. We find out Randal has a criminal past that he has long left behind. Mostly, I was doing this scene to get a little more info out about the parents, but I realized that I think we can get this on the b-side. I already am planning in act 2 for a detective to come and ask Sigil about where's been. There would haver to be a little recapping what has happened in the 10 year gap at this stage, and I feel like the info about Randal could just as easily come out here. If I pull it from here, it gets us to where we want the story to actually kick in sooner. Beyond that-- we don't learn anything new. We know they are distraught already. So I cut this,  but saved it so I can use the dialog down the road.

 

That leaves me with 7 scenes of 6 pages which is a pretty efficient opening sequence.

 

Attached if anyone wants to read it. Keep in mind, even with clean up, this is a vomit draft. I will go back later and change details and tweak dialog. The creepy kids feel reminiscent of something I've seen. so I'll want to find something more original for their look.

 

Attached File  open.pdf   36.13KB   4 downloads

 

 


  • Jacen123 +1 this

#47
Tank

Tank

    Driver

  • Member
  • 34,790 posts

Sidebar-- most development  go home every Friday with a stack of 4-5 scripts for their weekend reads.

 

As such, they are looking for red flags so they can toss a script aside. Most will read the first ten pages, or the opening sequence, of a script, looking for red flags. If there are flags, like big obvious problems, they have just cause to pass on the script. So your open REALLY has to be good.

 

The development VP that broke my career by giving me Leatherface has become a good friend. She sent me this the other day-- in her office she and the other development people made a game of spotting the most obvious red flags.

 

In and of itself the image is actually a great checklist of what NOT to do.

 

67172625_10157211020585470_1297690880626393088_n.jpg

 

I'm skirting around the first box a little, but I come back from it quick enough that I'm okay I think.


  • NumberSix and zambingo +1 this

#48
zambingo

zambingo

    The Human Torch

  • Member
  • 3,226 posts
I am rather enjoying seeing how a successful professionals process/schedule lines up quite nicely with a hopeful dreamer like myself. What do the kids say these days? #relatable ??? lol Anyway, this is neat. Thanks for doing this, Tank. This has eased some truly horrible anxiety I have regarding my own writing.
  • Tank +1 this

#49
Tank

Tank

    Driver

  • Member
  • 34,790 posts
How does me have anxiety remove yours!? Totally unfair.
  • zambingo +1 this

#50
Darth Krawlie

Darth Krawlie

    privileged ****lord

  • Moderators
  • 34,709 posts

It's comforting to know we're not alone in our insanity

 

Yesterday I did some editing and added approx 7-8 sentences when Eli came up and shut off my computer. Thank God for autosave or I'd have become very depressed.


  • Tank, Jacen123 and zambingo +1 this



Reply to this topic