Five Tips for Getting Your Screenplay on Track by Mark Albrecht, AC producer a screenwriter living in Glendale.
This article from an experienced screenwriter is very helpful for anyone with a work in progress or an idea for a screenplay. His suggestions of submerging yourself in characters by joining chat room to find the jargon or idiosyncrasy of dialogue is excellent. He also has good information on framing dialogue and then going back to it to check it for authenticity.
The main message that Mark drives home are focus. While an accomplished screenwriter like Altman and others can meander scripts that survive the first cut by a reader have a clean and focused script. He suggests at first, “killing the baby,” a term that means if it is something you really love, but it is outside the focus of a logical presentation, cut it. Another words separating yourself from the body of the work. Cool it on self-indulgence
Mark describes not “killing the baby,” but shaping the dialogue to somehow fit somewhere in the story. The passage may stick out like a “redheaded step child,” but you love that little red mop. So, you put that orphan passage in and connect the orphan to a home somewhere in the story.
“Five Tips for Getting Your Screenplay on Track” is practical advice from someone who has been in the thick of things. His comments regarding not being too logical, jotting down various scenarios and picking one is great advice. The story is evolving. Sure, a reader may love it when the plot takes a twist anticipated, but it can’t be too tight.
I really like Mark’s approach in the article and his common sense advice to play a computer game for breaks. I have Blackjack on my Google Homepage. I take a break, rack up some points and then go back to what I am writing. These little breaks energize me and walking around the block is not something you may want to do every hour.
The one area that I would like expanded on is the Screen Writing Software picks. I receive offers all the time over the internet and in the mail for software and workshops promising just about everything a writer could want. Once I begin reading the comments by other users who have the software, the air goes out of the bubble.
I would like an article from someone who knows a whole lot about screen writing practices and an adequate knowledge of computer software to add their comments to Mark Albrecht’s article on the Five Tips for Getting Your Screenplay on Track.
For me the choice of software or format is critical. I would like an uncomplicated software program that I can either utilize on a dedicated server or a software program that has the least amount of glitches.
I read some personal horror stories on the new version of Final Draft 7. Also, some quirks with earlier versions. I have read positive reviews about Final Draft that commend their English language tools and other features. I have also read that Movie Magic Screen Writer may have good appearances, but it may have way too many functions for the novice screen writer.
All of the above cost in the range of $150 on up. If you make a bad call on your capabilities, that is quite a chunk of change.
Several other low cost software programs like Hollywood Screenwriter and Dreamkit 4 are reasonably priced under $30 each. These programs appear to have the simplicity I am seeking, but are they “reader eek proof.”
I enjoyed Mark’s article and I am sure he is busy somewhere creating great characters and may be too focused to respond.