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17 March 2010

A Wednesday Script Writing Update


Good day all! I know my presence in the blogsphere has been limited of late but I am here, I do read, and I try to comment as I can.

I've been doing a LOT of research on script writing. Considering this is my first attempt at writing a script, I figured this was an excellent way to spend my Monday at work. I found LOADS of info as well as a list about a half a mile long of books on the script writing and film making process.

Surprisingly, it's not that complicated. There are strict rules one must adhere to in order to write a screenplay, but I find the form and function of those rules strangely liberating. Coming from someone who can pen a 500+ page novel and cry if she has to delete anything, knowing I have to limit myself to between 95 and 140 pages and NOT throwing a royal tantrum is a miracle indeed.

I narrowed my script down to two possible stories. One would be an original that, strangely enough, hit me yesterday while riding home from work and seeing a police officer cutting grass on a riding lawn mower (don't worry: if I don't write the script for this one in April, I will write in eventually...the idea of a police chase on riding lawn mowers is just too hilarious a mental picture to pass up). My other idea (the one I'm going with) is to do a screen adaptation of my favorite book. SADLY an adaptation has already been done. It was horrible. It was vile. It was...well...let's just say it should not have been at all. I have to wonder, did the producer/script writer/director even READ the book before making the film? I think they read the back of the book and said, "Hey, that's a neat idea!" and read no further. I shudder to even remember the horror.

That being said, I have always dreamed of seeing A Wrinkle in Time on the big screen. Not a made for DVD butcherization of a classic, but a real, honest to goodness portrayal of the story, the characters, the magic of the book that made me want to write.

Am I the person to do this? The thought is humbling and, quite frankly, frightening. There's no promise my screenplay will go beyond this little free-for-all in April. But what if? Is it wrong to think a POSITIVE what if for a change? Too often we think the opposite: What if I fail? What if no one likes it? What if I can't find a publisher? What if it sucks and I might as well just hang up my pen and become a taxi cab driver?

Right now, I'm wanting my imagination to wander. I want to challenge and stretch my writing muscles in a way they've never been stretched. I want to sit down on April 01 and write with abandon. I want to bring this story to life to the best of my ability and see what comes of it.

Will I submit it? Probably not. No, hear me out. I have several ideas for short films and for feature films. Ideas that I WOULD pursue selling. THIS one, however, is a film I would want to direct. Writer becomes film maker. I think I've heard this tale before, long ago. The story is just too sacred to me to leave in the hands of someone else. When you sell a screenplay, unless they ask you to be the final editor of the script, you have no say so in the final movie. It's frightening, really. To trust my vision to someone else's eyes? But that's the nature of the beast. Hence why I'm also doing some research into film making.

What have I got myself into?

Happy St. Patrick's Day, by the way! Wearin' o' the green. Any of you been to Ireland? I went eight years ago and I've been home sick ever since. If you get the chance, GO. You'll leave a part of your soul there, though. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Jen

PS: I'll be having a little St. Paddy's Day shindig over at the Manor this afternoon. Wander on by if you have the time :)

12 comments:

Karen Walker said...

Hubby and I went to Ireland last year and I fell in love--with the country, the people, the magic. Have a great St. Patty's Day, Jen. And good luck with the screenplay. I say go for it and don't worry about what will happen afterwards. Just write the darn thing.
Karen

Mary Aalgaard said...

YES! That's all I can say. All the questions you asked yourself, especially the one about am I the one to do this, YES, and double YES. How exciting. I had been thinking about Wrinkle, someone wrote on their blog that it was a favorite, and wondered why it had never been made into a film. It's about time. (get the pun)

I am so with you on this journey.

Mary Aalgaard said...

PS: And, who knows what will come of it, and does it matter? I think that about my coffee shop drama. The journey itself will be reward enough, but what if...

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Ah Ireland - or how it is known in my house, the holy land. Slainte to you as well.

I've always loved A WRINKLE IN TIME and I admire you for wanting to adapt it to a screenplay...but copyrights?

Brian Miller said...

happy st pat's...cool to hear about your progress...the police chase on lawn mowers sounds fun...

Jen Chandler said...

Karen: Thanks for the encouragement and perspective :)

Mary: Your enthusiasm is contagious! Thank you for that!!

Elspeth: Yes, The Holy Land. And about copyrights, no worries. This is just a 100 page program to get you writing. If I ever do plan a real adapatation that could be filmed, I would contact L'Engle's granddaughter who manages everything now. I could never go after something like this without talking to the family of the author. I hate to hear when that happens and the family/author gets nothing from it except a pat on the head. Ugh. So angering!

Hi Brian! Thanks! Yes, the police chase on lawn mowers. Oh, the ideas that have come to mind...

Elana Johnson said...

Wow, you are really going places girl! And I love A Wrinkle In Time -- you should so write that screenplay! Good luck with your script.

Amanda Cooper said...

Hooray! Since you're a fan of the book, I'm sure you can do it - anyone who didn't love it just wouldn't be able to capture it. Good luck!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Ratty said...

I know what you mean about good books being turned into horrible movies. One of my favorite series of books was completely butchered into a TV series that completely lost the essence of the books.

Inspiration in Italy said...

Good luck! You are so talented, my friend. I'm inspired by your intelligence, dedication, and accomplishments!

xo
Rachel

Glynis said...

Well you certainly are on a roll with this project, Jen.
Keep having fun and happy scribbling!

sanjeet said...

I say go for it and don't worry about what will happen afterwards. Just write the darn thing.
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