Over the course of the semester I have been challenged above and beyond the norm. From the get go I had a very clear objective, I wanted to complete a draft of a screenplay. 13 weeks later and I have accomplished this objective. Creating a world is an inspired process of “what ifs” and questioning you’re central idea. For me that central idea revolved around themes to do with the myth of progress and explore certain philosophical and personal questions to do with our purpose and place within the world. My world was created, originally with the intent to explore just that. Over time I feel I maybe drifted a bit further away from this as the organic nature of the writing took over. Nonetheless, I believe traces of this DNA is still to be found within my screenplay. .
Importantly though I feel I have constructed a world, as fledgling and it’s infancy it may be but I think that it has a life of its own. I feel like as you read the script, that there is a strong sense of place, time, culture and cultural attitudes. This is exhibited through the locations, the dialogue, actions and characters. Ultimately though, it is for the reader to decide how effective this is.
Major lessons regarding work and work ethic have been made. I have realized just how difficult, harsh, fun and rewarding it is to write something, built from the ground up. I learnt that I write best when I start in the morning, take a shower then keep writing. I learnt that it helps for me to be isolated but in public. I have noticed I write well and am more focused if I am out of the house somewhere with my headphones on. I have also learnt the soul crushing defeat of when you reread work and it’s not as good as you thought it was. Or when you read a line out to yourself and you hear the forced, unnatural sound of it and cringe – “how could I be so stupid!”. I’ve also picked up on little techniques from reading other peoples scripts. I think I read maybe a script a week, mostly sourced from Simply Scripts and Daily Scripts. The Leftovers (2014), Luther (2010), Mad Men (2007) and At The Mountains of Madness (unproduced) were some of my favorites and also the most informative. Picking up on little things like how the screenwriters put in pauses and breaks in conversation and create mood and atmosphere were really rewarding and gave me lots of new tools.
If I was to judge my learning curve, I’d say I came in a beginner and left at the consolidating stage of development. I have lots more to learn and lots more to improve upon, particularly in the ways of attention to detail and really breaking up where scenes are located. Hopefully I nailed most of the basics however and hopefully my world is communicated in my final piece in an effective and entertaining way. Ultimately this is was my grand desire, start a job and finish a job. The screenplay I submit is, at best, a second draft – it is far from final. I feel though that it has enough legs to stand on though to receive outside criticism so that I may learn and grow and continue to work on it as time goes on. I am extremely proud of my achieving the objective which was to “THE END” on a project and being okay for someone else to read it.
I have a long way to go as a writer and as a professional, for me this was a big first step towards larger goals.