Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Screenwriting: Collaboration

You are not required to write a screenplay on your own, and in fact you usually aren't going to be the only one who works on your screenplay. I, personally, have never collaborated on a screenplay before 'Lambent Fuse'; David Marketon (co-writer of 'Lambent Fuse') has briefly ventured into the collaboration world. We both pooled ideas of how we wanted to work together during one of our first meetings, and this became a huge part of how we worked together and how the story was written.

Collaboration, if that's your method of choice, requires a great deal of planning (however, most if not all of the following information may also apply to solo writers, which is also important). We needed to plan a schedule for writing meetings. About a year ago, we decided to block out Wednesday evenings for that, every week, for at least two to three hours. That was a pretty small time commitment, but it began to build the more we got into it. Dedication to the project is important as always, so despite many of our conflicts as students and prior commitments, we made it work.

You also need to find a way to write. Most people choose to write on computers these days, although not all. Our program of choice was Celtx; it was a cheap (used to be totally free) and very useful tool, as it allowed us to focus more of our time and efforts towards the story and not the formatting (which, even when known well, becomes cumbersome). Final Draft is the industry standard tool for screenwriters, but as indie filmmakers we choose to minimize our costs wherever we could. There are probably more out there, but these are the ones we knew best. They allow you to upload drafts (PC & Mac), so you don't have to worry about your co-writer looking at an old copy of the script.

But how do you write with two people and one story? Some people choose to split up the acts, characters, and even scenes. In the early drafts of the script, we broke it down into parts and would alternate writing; we did not center it around a concrete object like scenes or acts, because that didn't work for us. Also, each writer has talents and specializes in something you may not; make sure to allow for that.

Collaboration also allows for extra eyes and edits during the drafting of the scripts, rather than afterwards. This can be especially helpful if you get stuck or something isn't working just right. We felt that collaboration would help allow for the best story for 'Lambent Fuse.' And therefore, the topic of collaboration is of huge importance to the creation of 'Lambent Fuse'. It is a part of the writing process: the brainstorming, the outlining, the crafting, and the creating of every piece and every element of description, dialogue, characters, and events that make up the story.

Links of Interest:
Books: Chinatown: Script to Screen

Screenwriting Software:
Final Draft

Magazine: Script
A very good magazine on screenwriting (how-to and how-done); it's hosted by the makers of Final Draft.

Website: Scriptologist.com
"The Portal For Screenwriters, Filmmakers, & Actors"
Find information, tools, tips, message boards for discussions on industry topics, and even create a free blog, and much more. It's kind of a cool site!

Until next Tuesday, thanks for reading.

§ Matt
If you have any questions or comments, please write them below, or email them to me at mcici@lambentfuse.com

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