1. Radhika
    Offline

    Radhika Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California

    Transferring from Novels to Scripts

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Radhika, Mar 6, 2011.

    I'm a teenager, I try new things often. Today came the urge that I locked away about making films. The idea is enticing, to get into the community of video creators, because it's such a beautiful art - along with writing.
    What I was thinking, was putting the two and two together.
    At this point, note that I'm still unsure if I like filmmaking, as I haven't seriously tried to get an idea on video, instead of the usual trying to bend words to my will.
    I mean, wouldn't that be great? A scriptwriter and a filmmaker!

    My questions are - Do you think that it's good to combine the two?
    Also, how can I transfer myself from writing novels to scripts? I've never really read a script before. What's it like?
    Thanks for the help, and anything else about scriptwriting would be appreciated, since I've been hiding away the want to make films for too long, and I'm told that I may have potential - if I try.
     
  2. JeffS65
    Offline

    JeffS65 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    Writing Screen/Teleplays is a much an art of form and format as it is a an art of creativity.

    Probably more than anything for a long form story writer, writing a screenplay is disconcerting because so much of the flowery prose favored by a story writer goes out the window.

    To write a good screenplay, you must be very skilled at dialogue. Setting is mostly left to directors et al. For all that kind of detail, all you get is a summary of the time and location and a small amount of the situation (Slugline and Action). Slugline example: INT. IRISH PUB-EARLY EVENING ---- The example, which is essentially the limit of your setting input, is saying that the setting is an Interior of an Irish Pub in the early evening.

    You situation input is the Action line(s) which is the breifest of summaries. Example: Don sits at a table alone with a beer sitting in front of him.

    That's about it for your setting input. Key is, directors don't want you to tell them how to film a scene. They don't want to hear from you that a 'deep purple sunset disappears over the horizon'. That is left to their creativity.

    So, you can combine the two but they are very different disciplines.
     
  3. Taylee91
    Offline

    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    1,262
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    The Bay State
    I've had the same desire to write screenplays and be a filmmaker. But being the latter would, as I figured out a while ago, be very daunting. You have a budget to come up with, that is if you are an independent filmmaker. Then it's the cast, the story, the setting, the film, and if you do produce a film -- advertisment. That is of course if you're able to screen it at a film festival.

    I don't see why you couldn't put the both together. I'm having the same thoughts, and I'm looking towards the road ahead. It wouldn't be that hard -- not much harder than writing a book! :D Patience and time is all you need.

    Reading a script is like reading a comic book. It goes by fairly quick. You have action paragraphs that are separated from the dialogue and scene headers. And the action that is put down on the pages is written in present tense.

    I'd suggest just looking on the web for sample screenplays. You can find them everywhere. Keep in mind though that most of them will be in draft form, unless of course you find a site that posts final drafts -- which would be amazing. If you do find such a site, PM me, alright? I like to read through scripts but not when they're in the drafting stage with all the disjointed elements, occasional typos, and etc.

    Also, get some screenwriting books or really any book that has anything to do with film. If you aspire to become one, thus begin so. Learn from the Bigs.

    One of my nuggets of gold I found was The Hollywood Standard by Christopher Riley. It focuses more on format and such and not on the three-act structure or setting up headings that require you the writer to come up with. But it lets you in on screenwriting. Just be sure to get the Second Edition. It has more stuff in it :)
     
  4. Eunoia
    Offline

    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    Messages:
    4,395
    Likes Received:
    80
    Location:
    England
    Some script writers are film producers too. They do go together, but I'd reiterate what Tay said above about film makers.

    As for transferring writing novels to scripts, there are a few things you can do to help the transition. Read a lot of scripts, you can find some online or in the library, and try to get a hang of the format and the structure. Also, watch films but analyse them as well. 'How to write screenplays' and such books might also be helpful to get an idea of all the elements involved in writing a film script. Then, once you've done this research, I'd first try adapting a story you've written into a film script and see how you get on with that. If you find it successful then you can go on and write a film script from scratch. If not, at least you experimented and you can always give it another shot, or ask feedback on it to see where the problems are.
     
  5. ShortBus
    Offline

    ShortBus Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2011
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0
    you will probably have to play the role of pretty much everything that makes up film production. (writer, director, producer, and even actor sometimes) at least to get you started. the best way to go about it, that is the quickest way, is to make story boards. you really don't need to be a great artist to get a visual point across. if i were you i would start small. find a short story or write one then write a script and storyboard for it.

    you can try to run before you can walk but you usually end up hurting yourself. just get the basics down for now then you can expand.

    remember that writing is an art form and there is not only one way to go about it.
     
  6. Noya Desherbanté
    Offline

    Noya Desherbanté Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    173
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    wishing I was somewhere else...
    Radhika, I'm a Media student, and wrestling with just the kinds of things you're experiencing :) I make short films as part of my course and (try to) write novels in my spare time, and let me say, first of all it's possible to be good at both - but I'm still practising.

    You need to understand just how different these mediums are to be able to write each effectively - almost like teaching your right hand to pat your head while your left rubs your tummy. In a film, you have the added benefit of using audio to convey your meaning, while using visuals to communicate exactly what happens, whereas in novel form, the visual appearance of the words doesn't matter so much, it's how the reader interprets them. With video there's a lot less for them to 'interpret', because it's so plain on the screen.

    Also, you have to completely abandon your descriptions. I still find this really hard, because obviously as a writer, you're taught to describe everything poetically and using carefully chosen words. In a script, the barest amount of description is used, simply enough to convey what's going on, no feelings or impressions allowed. Since you're making your own films, this isn't too important, because you'll understand what you mean. But with professional scripts, the director takes on nearly ALL the creative input, deciding how things look, costumes, etc. Also, dialogue is definitely the most important thing in a short film - too much description in your script and not only do you end up with 100 pages of uselessness, but you aren't concentrating on what the viewer will really take in.

    It's definitely a case of thinking visually, rather than in a descriptive way. You may write 'he pelted round the corner' or 'Martin's shoes tore up the asphalt as he evaded his pursuers', but in filmmaking this translates into: what angle do you use? Birds-eye shot or worms-view? Panning, tracking, close-up? It sounds simple to switch from one mode of thinking to the other, but it still jars for me after three years... all it takes is practise :) Good luck, tell us how it goes!
     
  7. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    study and learn the craft... i mentor many aspiring screenwriters, so can send you tips from the pros on all aspects of writing a script... screenwriting is the most specialized of all the writing, so takes a lot of time and study/practice to get good enough at it to sell something... the average first sale/option for a new screenwriter is the NINTH one s/he's written...

    totally different from prose... download/study real scripts here:

    http://www.script-o-rama.com/snazzy/dircut.html
    http://www.imsdb.com/

    ...but check to make sure they're not 'transcripts' which are just what some fan writes, from watching the movie...

    ...'filmmaking' is something else again... do you want to be a director, or a producer?... the first takes training and experience, the second takes business acumen and connections to financial backers...

    if you want info/help with any of this, you can email me any time...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  8. Radhika
    Offline

    Radhika Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    Thanks for the advice everyone, though it seemed a bit over the top for when I mainly considered I was to be making my own films... Perhaps help with my sister, but, still my own films. Though, the links and words really did help. :]
     

Share This Page