1. bsbvermont
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    bsbvermont Active Member

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    switching order of introduction from novel to screenplay??

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by bsbvermont, Jul 21, 2012.

    I have just begun writing the screenplay for my novel Policy 99, and clearly am using the novel as my guideline. In the novel, the first chapter I introduced the heroin, Anne, since she is truly the essence of the first novel. Duncan is introduced in the second chapter. Here is my question...following the old adage "In a screenplay something cathartic better happen within the first ten pages", I am considering introducing Duncan in the first scene in the screenplay. I would then introduce Anne about fifteen pages in essentially switching the order of chapters one and two from the book. It's not that Anne's chapter is a complete yawner, but Duncan's first chapter has considerably more zing. Has anyone had any experience (or can think of novel/movie productions) where this happens and does it seem OK?
     
  2. jane elliot
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    jane elliot Member

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    Does nothing at all interesting happen regarding Anne's introduction before Duncan arrives?
     
  3. bsbvermont
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    bsbvermont Active Member

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    She moves to Burlington, Vt. to start her doctoral program, buys a house, rescues a horse and becomes acquainted with her new city.

    Duncan, on the other hand walks in on his wife cheating on him, considers driving his car into the side of the horse trailer where he discovers them, but instead leaves for a two year fellowship at UVM. His introduction certainly has a little more wow factor.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i've been both writing screenplays and tutoring/mentoring aspiring screenwriters for decades and that's neither an old or new adage, as far as i know... since 'cathartic' means 'cleansing' or 'purging of emotions' which is generally considered to be 'healing' it makes no sense...

    the first 10 pages should present the 'setup' for the plot/storyline, in the first 30 pages that comprise 'act 1' of the 3-act structure... the next 60 are the 'confrontation' [act 2] and the final 30, 'the resolution' [act 3]...

    so, while 'something had better happen in the first 10 pages' i don't see how it could possibly be 'cathartic'... it should be dramatic and thought-provoking, but definitely not be a 'purge' as in a novel's verboten 'info dump'...

    as for the novel's chapter sequence, that can go out the window when doing an adaptation... and often should... it's impossible to have all that happens in a book that takes many hours to read, happen on the screen, in only 2 hours, or less... so, first of all, a lot will have to be left out... time will have to be 'jumped' and scenes/dialog minimized... back story will have to be done away with, or merely mentioned briefily in conversation, or by other means...

    if you want help with this, feel free to drop me an email any time...

    meanwhile, you need to study up on how to adapt a book to film...
    https://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en&tab=Tw#hl=en&gs_nf=1&cp=14&gs_id=1i&xhr=t&q=adapting+novels+into+screenplays&pf=p&sclient=psy-ab&site=webhp&source=hp&oq=adapting+novel&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=5ec1f1311cc2a6b3&biw=603&bih=285

    be careful about whose advice to take... 'experts' are not all created equal! :rolleyes:
     
  5. MissNonscentical
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    MissNonscentical New Member

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    I'm one of those people who feels like if I'm watching a movie, it needs to have something to grab my attention within the first ten minutes, or I will be bored in no time. How about have it open with various scenes of Anne doing the above in a short period of time. Maybe show her leaving the school to go to her house so she can ride the horse she's rescued during the opening credits. Then from there, figure out a smooth way to transition from her to Duncan.
     
  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    How is Duncan's story related to Anne's? Find the meeting point and start there. I'd say Miss Nonscentical's idea is pretty good - you could open with Anne already patting the horse at a shelter, have a vet come in and inform her how brave she is and the horse will be fine (thereby implying in one scene what happened to the horse, and how Anne rescued it).

    But how is this opening of Anne's actually relevant to the story? Find the point when the story really starts, and condense everything else into one basic scene.
     

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