Friday, April 03, 2009

Friday Forays In Fiction: Script Frenzy Week 1

After three days, I've got four script pages. But that isn't the true measure of my accomplishment.

This is my first exposure to the craft of script writing so I'm fairly gobstopped by the awareness of what I know now that I didn't know a week ago before I started studying the formatting techniques via Scriptfrenzy's Writer's Resources pages and elsewhere.

And there is all those new vocab playground toys bouncing around in my brain: slugline, parentheticals, wryly, duel dialog, montage.

After getting my brain all tangled with the formatting minutia of margins, tabs, spacing etc. I almost folded. I know my work habits well enough to know that if I'm fussing with minutia like that, my harpy editor is kicked in to full gear, sending my muse into sulks. I mean even with what now seems like the laid back formalities of fiction narrative, I cannot be focused on spelling, quotation marks, paragraph breaks or anything else that smacks of rules without loosing touch with the magical story-dream from which my stories arise.

That's why I decided to make this project all about learning the format like a new language and not about creating a new story from scratch. So I chose to adapt one or more of my own stories to the screenplay format. I had thought to take three of my stories and adapt one each to screenplay, TV script and stage play. Ha. I discovered soon enough that learning even one new format is way more than enough to expect of myself right now.

So I chose to begin with the first of my FOS story world stories, Of Cats and Claws and Curiosities. It's about 6500 words and stands alone as a short story but is intended as the first chapter of a longer work. The first 1ooo words has translated into four script pages. But I don't think that reflects the average of the end result as the bulk of this story is told in dialog exchanges and the balance between dialogue and other narrative elements shifts to favor dialog sometime in the next 500 words. Dialogue eats up the pages in script format with the margins set so there are 6 or so words per line and double spacing between speakers.

I realized that if I was going to have to set my own margins it would probably take me a week of fussing before I had a single page of script. So I downloaded two aids reccomended at Scriptfrenzy. One was a template for the Open Office word processor--which is my desk top publishing capable wordprocessor. The other was a scriptwritting program open source and freeware by Celtix. I experiented with each of them but found myself settling in with Celtix. Not least because of the extra how-to on their wiki.

Below are four screen shots of my script project in the Celtix ap. I'm going to go ahead and publish this post now as I'm needed elsewhere right now but I will probably return and update with explainations of these shots later.

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