Monday, September 5, 2011

Things People Put In Screenplays

Chapter: 21
Page Count: 258
Word Count: 139,000
Nemo's Bounty: 998,000 Commercial

"'No - that's my point,' Nemo emphasizes with forceful gestures of the slushie. 'If there's one thing the Imperium Navy wants to fuck more than natural resources that don't belong to them, it's their targeting computers.' He shrugs violently, tossing icy green ooze against the bottom of the cup's lid. 'You take that away, these navy motherfuckers couldn't hit the broad side of Baz.'"

I have no intention of writing a self-help book. In fact, I have no intention of ever writing non-fiction - without dialogue and narrative, I lost my proverbial hard-on for it. That being said, in the dystopian fiction that I was forced to write a non-fiction self-help book, I'd entitle it "Things People Put In Screenplays."

I'm honestly often baffled at the seemingly careless manner in which screenwriters produce their craft. With the absurd gaps between produced screenplays, one would imagine a painstaking level of editing and polishing would occur on any individual draft, but that hardly seems the case. To this end, I'm starting an idle curiosity, a reoccurring feature of my Twitter and probably my blog, which I've taken to calling "Scenes I'll Never Write in Screenplays" or SINWIS. Upon viewing movies I typically like, I add another feature, most often a cliché of some degree whose inclusion in an otherwise lauded screenplay, baffles my mind. I won't give away the names of the film, but hopefully you'll recognize the threadbare tropes for what they are.

I've so far done three unofficially on Twitter, which I'll list here:
1. I'll never write a scene in a screenplay where a character inexplicably disappears after a vehicle passes between them and the camera.
2. I'll never write a classroom scene in a screenplay where a student appears inattentive but, when called upon, spouts the answer effortlessly.
3. I'll never write a scene in a screenplay where a ship's crew must hurl weighty, non-vital and often comical odds-and-ends overboard to save their vessel.

You can follow the series on my Twitter or keep looking for updates here.

In other news, I wrote 5,549 words this week. With two days off, even. I'll probably be taking at least one day off this coming week as well, to plot out the massive two-and-one-half chapter action climax. IN SPACE! I've also started reading a collection of Conan Doyle's Sherlock tales my girlfriend was gracious enough to give me. I've only read a handful of stories (A Study in Scarlet, A Scandal in Bohemia and The Hound of the Baskervilles) so I'm eager to better verse myself and thus far, with A Case of Identity and The Red-Headed League already taken in lieu, I'm glad I did.

Until later.


  1. While I'm certainly not saying that you *should* write any of those scenes, I'd be curious to hear an elaboration of why those three in particular are offensive to you.

  2. They're mostly clichés - scenes whose intended effects have become too hackneyed for their intended effects work on me.

    People disappearing behind passing vehicles doesn't instill suspense or wonder in me anymore. I'm not impressed or surprised by know-it-all kid's ability to doodle and pay attention. That sort of thing.