Sunday, October 01, 2006

It's All Gone Pete Tong

So in between the reams of reading for a commissioning meeting tomorrow I'm knocking out pages for my new spec.

Well.....for knocking out read dribbling. Because that nice step outline I did for myself just ain't cutting it.

It works in a way. I know where I'm heading to. I just don't think it takes the best route.

That's not a biggee for me. Much like looking at storylines or SxS's sent to you prior to a commissioning meeting, you can do your best to come up with sensible, constructive comments, but it is only when you start writing the beast that the real character glitches, story faults and dramatic flaws actually strike you.

Because suddenly it is 'real time'. Screen time. That plot point in your outline might be two sentences. Then as you're writing it you realise it takes 5 pages of exposition to get across. It then hits you that if you seeded an earlier scene better, or changed the amount of 'information' available to your character you can do away with that plot point entirely and perhaps change the ongoing story for the better.

When I do this, I pretty much end up in the same place, but the scenery on the way is better.

Flexability is the key for me. I wouldn't like to start a script without an outline. But if the script didn't diverge from that outline in several places I'd be worried.

The more I get into the script the more my affinity for those characters and that story develops. You can now see that a 'convenient ' plot point in your outline doesn't work in the larger context of character motivation, or that you've gone down a page consuming dramatic dead end because rather than what is important to your story you've gone for writer masturbation.

It's a fine balance. To me, outlining gives me the confidence to write. So it's good. Once I'm writing, all bets are off!


wcdixon said...

Sounds very familar...much to the chagrin of execs who say to 'never' deviate from the outline...even if the changes make it better

English Dave said...

Too true Will. Execs tend to be split into two camps. The 'suck it and see' [ooooh Matron!] and the 'write what's on the page'

I tend to find the more 'creative' execs are in the former and the more 'deadline and budget' in the latter.

Strange that!

Pillock said...

Just had my first experience of rewriting a script according to someone else's notes. I started with an outline, but the good ideas only started coming while I was writing scenes. I've deviated just a bit from the notes, but I think it's good. Put it in the post yesterday, and now I'm shitting bricks.

Anonymous said...

it's all gone. how far have you explored the emptiness?