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How to Write a Movie

Season's Greetings, gentle reader! As I write this, I'm hoping your Christmas was a merry one, and that your new year is poised to be full of the excitement of great things to come. It seems hard to believe that 2010, the year we make contact, is almost over. As the new year rapidly approaches it seems like a good time to reflect, and catch you up on, the last year's adventures. It seems like only yesterday that I set out to write my first feature length screenplay. However, it was in fact the second month in the year of our Lord two thousand and ten, that I sat at my desk and began to type. Come close, gentle reader, as I recount the tale of writing a movie in 21 days.

As I have mentioned before, (but since it has been quite some time I will take a moment to mention it again), I have had a revelation about myself and what I truly want from "How to" books. If I am absolutely honest with myself, and by extension, you gentle reader, every time I buy a book, I do so in the hopes that contained with in its pages is some magical formula which will enable me to crank out the perfect story that I know is deep down inside of me. Not only do I wish for the story to magically flow out of me, it is my true desire that it do so quickly. By quickly I would not be exaggerating in saying that overnight would suit me just fine. Now being a reasonable person I know, in my head at least, that this is not going to be the case. My head knows that I will need to actually read the book in order for it to do anything other than keep dust from gathering on the space it occupies on the shelf. I have further more been enlightened to discover that just reading said book will also fail to produce a screenplay. In order to write a screenplay, I would need to read a book on how to do it, then put into practice what I had read in the form of doing some actual writing. It seems like a simple concept, I know, but I can now say with a great deal of certainty, these are the steps that need to be taken to have some chance of success. I have tried the other methods extensively. They do not seem to work. It was with this concept firmly in mind that I set out to do whatever the author of How to Write a Movie in 21 Days said to do.

Upon opening the book and reading the first few pages, it became obvious that author ,Viki King, was on my side. She really believed that I could write this screenplay. If she didn't believe it, she sure knew how to fake like she did. Either way, she was very encouraging and I decided to buy in. Drink the Kool-aide? You bet, and how about another glass, cause I'm still kinda thirsty. I was on board for this experience and very hopeful that I had found the map that was going to lead me to the promised land of actually finishing a feature length screenplay. I didn't even mind that there was some work to be done before the actual "21 days" began. When it was time to read, I read. When it was time to put the book down and write, I wrote. When she asked me to roll my eyes into the backs of their sockets and flutter my eyelids so that I could picture my master piece in my head, I batted away, without the least bit of resentment for the mild headache it caused. I was a believer.

I should say at this point, I had already developed a fairly strong grasp of the story that I wanted to write. As a result, a lot of these exercises came easy to me. I wasn't making up ideas from scratch. A lot of the things she was asking me to picture, I had been picturing for a little while already. But, the time did come when I found an exercise I felt I could easily skip. However, I thought to myself, "No self. It's not fair to the process to skip any of the exercises. You want this to work, and maybe this exercise is an important part of this process. So you need to do it"! So following my own advise, (which let's face it, is not always easy to do), I counted out one hundred and twenty pieces of paper, numbered them all by hand in pencil, and stacked them up. This was all so I could visualize what my finished screenplay would look like. It took a little time, and an Oscar worthy screenplay did not magically appear on those pages, but I did feel somewhat satisfied, knowing I had completed a task I was very tempted to skip. After a few days of prep work, I had completed all the exercises and it was time for my 21 days to officially begin.

And that is where I shall leave you for now, gentle reader. Hopefully wanting more, and not having to wait too long for additional tales about my journey to become a real, live, honest to goodness filmmaker. Until then, have a wonderful and safe holiday, and I shall see you here, in the new year. (Always leave them wanting more, and if they don't want more, at least end on a rhyme).


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