I have decided to focus on writing a single script until I have a first draft.
My goal right now is to write several scripts to hone my writing skills. I learned a lot from writing the script to The Anger Trap and I think that I will learn more from writing some new scripts. I will wait until I have done several before I decide on making one of them into a film.
I have selected as my next script an idea I had while travelling in China last year. It has nothing to do with China, as far as I know. It is the story of a detective on the trail of a psychopathic serial killer. I know that doesn’t sound very original, but the detecting isn’t the main focus of the story. When I made Line of Taxis , I used some of the emotions I was having in my life and transferred them to a different situation. I plan to do the same with this story. I am having mostly good things in my life now, but I do have flash backs to the emotions that inspired Line of Taxis.
I will be trying a slightly different approach than I used for The Anger Trap. Then I developed a detail outline before starting to write the actual script. This time I will organize my out line based on ideas I picked up while reading a book by David Mamet. In particular, his three questions.
For each scene, I will write a one-line overview of what happens in the scene. Then I will have a short description of the purpose of the scene. That is to focus on why I need the scene in the script.
Then for each character in the scene, I will answer the questions: What do they want, what happens if they don’t get it, why now and how have they changed at the end of the scene.
I will complete the outline of each scene with a list of the events within the scene. This is a sort of plot outline for the scene. For each event, I will note what each of the characters is thinking. I think that knowing what the characters are thinking will make it easier to keep the story going forward.
Having distinct characters is important to help the audience identify with them. I used character descriptions in writing The Anger Trap and found them useful when it came to writing.
In addition to a character name, I plan to select a picture to help me visualize the character. Beyond that, I want to note what purpose they serve in the story. For example, are they the protagonist, or the antagonist or comic relief? I will also develop a bit of a biography, so I know where they come from. Most importantly, I want to know how they will change throughout the story.
I expect that my approach will change as I work through this script.