XIXAX Film Forum

Creative Corner => Filmmakers' Workshop => Topic started by: Adam0199 on March 19, 2003, 11:27:21 PM

Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Adam0199 on March 19, 2003, 11:27:21 PM
Me:

Final Draft.
A few cafe's where I can plug in my old lap top.
Pen and paper on Notebooks
Note Cards


And You?
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Ghostboy on March 19, 2003, 11:31:17 PM
I write in my room, in the dark, with music playing (or sometimes a movie playing in the background). I use Movie Magic Screenwriter; I used to be a purist and type everything in Word, but then I tried a program and it hooked me within a few seconds.

I also used to do the laptop/cafe routine from time to time, but then I accidentally 'liquidated' the motherboard on the darn thing. Oh well.

I'm really not too good when it comes to handwriting, unfortunately. I've been spoiled; I'm too impatient. Hearing the keys clack away keeps me going.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Cecil on March 19, 2003, 11:35:00 PM
final draft,
i write in my room,
or with paper and pen in my bed

i play some music really loud. depends what im writing, what scene.... ill play something that would be a good soundtrack for it.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Pedro on March 19, 2003, 11:45:53 PM
I need silence to write.  I just do it in my room...I kind of laugh along and talk to myself a lot more than usual too while doing it.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: xerxes on March 20, 2003, 12:29:36 AM
final draft... in my room... late a night usually (just the way it works out)... usually playing some music, and talking to people on IM :oops:

i'm so ashamed
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Cecil on March 20, 2003, 01:05:00 AM
Quote from: xerxes

i'm so ashamed


why? cause you chat while you write?

warhol watched tv while he painted.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Raikus on March 20, 2003, 08:26:03 AM
I use Final Draft. I usually write in my office at home or at work when I have nothing else to do. When I was in college, I'd end up writing three pages of script a day. During boring lecture classes and in breaks between. Oh, the good times.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Pubrick on March 20, 2003, 09:32:42 AM
pen, paper, tv on mute.

pen/cil, paper, bed.

alone, or at least hidden.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Ernie on March 20, 2003, 06:30:37 PM
computer room...microsoft word...sometimes lights out, sometimes lights on...music playing

OR

living room...pen/paper...dvd playing

OR

my bedroom...pen/paper...lights on...silence...pacing...talking to myself

I actually think of 90% of my ideas when I'm listening to my mp3 player with my headphones on...I can completely focus on the music and block out all outside noise. I think of tons of ideas doing that. I write them down when I get home.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: bonanzataz on March 20, 2003, 07:33:41 PM
I've given up on writing. Everytime I try to do something productive I end up on fucking xixax.com. I've realized I'm not a very talented writer and now I just write out scene descriptions in my notebook, with an occasional line of dialogue I definitely want in the movie. It's more efficient because now all my scenes have an aim that they're trying to reach. Plus, I haven't started filming yet, but the actors I use love to ad-lib and they'll have a lot of fun during shooting. Expect it up here in a month or two.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: ReelHotGames on March 20, 2003, 08:59:32 PM
I use Final Draft

I write whenever I am suppossed to be doing something else. Pressure feeds my creativity. I carry my laptop everywhere I go, so at any moment I can start going.

Today I was at work and had a few minutes before I had to leave to catch a boat home and that was THE EXACT moment I needed to start writing because I had a few new lines of dialogue that I had to put into the script I was working on, so I broke out the laptop and pushed myself to the time limit, ran and coaught my boat, wrote on the ride, ran over to catch my bus, wrote on the cramped bus home, now I'm home and I haven't got it in me to continue, but the plus side is I wrote 8 pages today... :roll:
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: MacGuffin on March 20, 2003, 10:10:00 PM
Home - My brain/imagination
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: RegularKarate on March 21, 2003, 04:25:32 PM
Home.  

Notebook with pen for the outline.  Final Draft for the screenplay.

Usually listening to music, but no lyrics... too distracting, can turn your characters voice into the singers.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Jake_82 on March 22, 2003, 09:45:46 AM
Usually in bed with pencil/pen and paper and music playing, sometimes one song on repeat if I think that song "fits the mood" or whatever (tacky, I know, but it works for me). I usually like writing at night with the blinds and door closed and the lights on, artificial lighting works better for writing for some reason, while natural lighting is good for thinking of ideas.

Then once I'm done writing it on paper I transcribe it on a screenwriting program (Sophocles-- not well known or anything but I'm used to it) in my bed on my 1996 laptop I only use for writing, and I revise whatever I don't like. The other reason I use that laptop is because it has no internet connection so I can't distract myself.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: pgr on March 24, 2003, 09:11:12 AM
Quote from: Ghostboy
I write in my room, in the dark, with music playing (or sometimes a movie playing in the background).


Sounds VERY familiar! I use Final Draft though. I have one of those microcassette recorder things which come in very handy if you are too lazy to write or if you wake up in the middle of the night with a great idea.. I also tend to scribble notes on anything that happens to be lying around..
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Ernie on March 24, 2003, 05:11:16 PM
Quote from: pgr
Quote from: Ghostboy
I write in my room, in the dark, with music playing (or sometimes a movie playing in the background).


Sounds VERY familiar! I use Final Draft though. I have one of those microcassette recorder things which come in very handy if you are too lazy to write or if you wake up in the middle of the night with a great idea.. I also tend to scribble notes on anything that happens to be lying around..


Yeah, I'm always writing down notes on scrap pieces of paper around my room. It's getting kind of hard though, some of the papers are completely filled with notes, I can't even understand some of the stuff I wrote, it's so sloppy. I'm thinking about doing that cassette recorder thing.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Recce on March 24, 2003, 10:31:20 PM
Not that I write much, but I use Final Draft. The whole coffee shop thing sounds pretty good, though. I should try that.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Ghostboy on March 24, 2003, 10:48:34 PM
The problem with the coffee shop thing is that, if someone you know comes in and sits down, so much for writing.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Recce on March 24, 2003, 10:53:11 PM
Well, I'm not terribly popular, so not much chance of that.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: bonanzataz on March 25, 2003, 01:59:09 AM
People that sit in coffee shops with their laptops bug me. Me and my friends created a word - "finto" short for "fintellectual" (faux intellectual) and that is one of the characteristics. Not saying you guys are fintos are anything, there's a lot more to it than sitting in a coffee shop with a laptop.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Ghostboy on March 25, 2003, 02:11:03 AM
Those would be the people who sit there with their laptops BECAUSE they have laptops, not because they have anything to write on them, right?
Title: writing/typing
Post by: manhattanize on March 28, 2003, 12:24:09 AM
the only thing i hand write would be notes i write down when i'm not able to access a word program...

majority of the time i type...like some of you have said, typing just really speeds up my thought process, while hand writing is so primal i can't think of anything else except how i can't hear the keys...oh, how technology trains us  :wink:

when i write it becomes hard for me to stop, which can be considered a good thing most of time, but when i miss classes it can turn into something bad. oops.

i've never used any sort of program specifically for script writing...are those pretty handy? i imagine so...formatting everything becomes quite cumbersome...
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: BrainSushi on March 28, 2003, 07:14:03 PM
In my room. I use Appleworks. I can't afford screenwriting software (though I'm often tempted to download something from Limewire). I don't listen to music or put on a movie while I'm writing. It distracts me.
Title: Sophocles
Post by: UglyApe on March 29, 2003, 03:58:25 AM
I write in my dorm with Sophocles.   Damn fine program.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: The Silver Bullet on April 01, 2003, 07:29:45 AM
The first draft is written wherever I go and on whatever. The first third of what I am writing now was done in a caravan over New Years on a laptop; some of it was written at school on school desktops; some of it in notebooks. The official draft is on my home computer in my room, all saved to hard and floppy disk, of course. Losing writing is my biggest fear.

I usually write in a somewhat quiet area [if I'm not listen to soft music I am sitting in silence, although I did have the cricket on for most of the time in the caravan]. I am always reading to myself, and I don't mean in my head, but to whoever is listening, or to myself. I am very, very musical and rythmic in the way that I write, just in terms of trying to make something sound very fluent. I'm not always one for realism in my dialogue, and so I will sit and debate myself for hours over how to make a line fit in rythmically with another. Sorta hard to describe.

The computers I write on are not connected to the Internet, either. Which is nice. It means that I'm not tempted too much [it isn't like I can't walk two rooms down to this one though...]
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: cowboykurtis on April 01, 2003, 10:42:22 AM
how the hell do you write anything in a noisy cafe, or with a movie playing, or chatting online? i dont see how  that is possible to concentrate -- my writing would be gargabe if it wasnt quiet. different strokes for different folks.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: cine on April 01, 2003, 12:08:31 PM
Final draft...

I sometimes use Sophocles (and I have a bust of the man himself too).. but usually I like to just sit in solitude and brainstorm shit and then just scribble down all the ideas I can.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Slick Shoes on December 10, 2003, 12:36:29 PM
I like writing in cafes because you are surrounded by people you don't know and sometimes by looking at them you can imagine what their life would be like and you can incorporate that into your script. I have this weird thing, though, where if I am at a cafe with my laptop, I must be sitting with my back to the wall, so nobody can see what is on my screen.

More often than not, though, I write at home. I have a studio apartment, so my bedroom is also the living room. In a typical writing session, which usually spans several hours, I alternate between my desk, the bed, and a papazan chair. I use Final Draft, but I will usually have filled up a notebook with outlines and crap before even turning on the computer. The television is turned on, but there is no sound.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: ShanghaiOrange on December 10, 2003, 12:57:49 PM
I gonna get a voice rocorder thingy for Christmas so I can say my ideas into there and transcribe them later. That'll help because I have ideas all the time and half of them just get lost. :(
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: TheVoiceOfNick on December 10, 2003, 03:07:55 PM
Quote from: ShanghaiOrange
I gonna get a voice rocorder thingy for Christmas so I can say my ideas into there and transcribe them later. That'll help because I have ideas all the time and half of them just get lost. :(


Little Sony recorders that cost like $40 are great... just hit a button and record.  I wouldn't go for a digital though... unless it has removable media or something...
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: ShanghaiOrange on December 10, 2003, 03:55:12 PM
I think that's what I'm getting. :(
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: kotte on December 10, 2003, 05:43:17 PM
I lie in my bed face down on the pillow with my recorder.

And I act out all the dialogue. Works for me.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: TheVoiceOfNick on December 11, 2003, 02:55:21 PM
Quote from: kotte
I lie in my bed face down on the pillow with my recorder.

And I act out all the dialogue. Works for me.


That's actually pretty interesting, as long as there is no one slapping your butt with a whip behind you...  :P
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: kotte on December 11, 2003, 05:48:08 PM
Quote from: TheVoiceOfNick
Quote from: kotte
I lie in my bed face down on the pillow with my recorder.

And I act out all the dialogue. Works for me.


That's actually pretty interesting, as long as there is no one slapping your butt with a whip behind you...  :P


Combining my two passions, love and fetish rubber sex.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: TheVoiceOfNick on December 11, 2003, 07:35:09 PM
Quote from: kotte
Quote from: TheVoiceOfNick
Quote from: kotte
I lie in my bed face down on the pillow with my recorder.

And I act out all the dialogue. Works for me.


That's actually pretty interesting, as long as there is no one slapping your butt with a whip behind you...  :P


Combining my two passions, love and fetish rubber sex.


Classic!
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: kotte on December 11, 2003, 07:43:29 PM
Quote from: TheVoiceOfNick
Quote from: kotte
Quote from: TheVoiceOfNick
Quote from: kotte
I lie in my bed face down on the pillow with my recorder.

And I act out all the dialogue. Works for me.


That's actually pretty interesting, as long as there is no one slapping your butt with a whip behind you...  :P


Combining my two passions, love and fetish rubber sex.


Classic!


Yeah...if I hadn't fucked it up!!!  :(

I meant 'movies and fetish rubber sex'...who the crap needs love when you're writing during an intense whipping session.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: eward on December 11, 2003, 08:24:02 PM
one of my friends likes to write while sitting on the toilet




yeah, we're not that close
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: MacGuffin on December 11, 2003, 08:30:14 PM
Quote from: eward
one of my friends likes to write while sitting on the toilet


yeah, we're not that close


What were you in prison for?
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: eward on December 11, 2003, 08:35:31 PM
bad jokes
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: ShanghaiOrange on December 11, 2003, 08:59:56 PM
I have all my best ideas either on the toilet, in the shower, or when I'm just about to fall asleep. :(
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: TheVoiceOfNick on December 12, 2003, 11:32:13 AM
Getting ideas in the room with the porcelin god and the sex tub isn't anything new... I read an article that said Charile Kaufman has a laptop he likes to use whenever he's in the can...
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: molly on December 12, 2003, 01:19:07 PM
cooking and dishwashing works for me, when there's some good music on the radio. I hate CDs and other. Becomes boring too soon.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: SoNowThen on December 12, 2003, 02:04:54 PM
Hmm, my writing is a weird combo:

first jotting down ideas on loose leaf, listening to lots of music I think may help. anytime I get dry, I do some research -- library book reading or maybe just movie stuff like watching extras or commentaries. Then when some characters and story has taken shape, I start to plot on a cork board using cue cards. at this point I talk for endless hours with people who's taste I trust. I basically just bullshit, and by talking out loud can really see what ideas I believe in, and which ones sound dumb or cliched or half-developed. next I write a treatment (sometimes on paper with a pen, usually on final draft on my laptop). At this point I have a handful of albums I'm playing over and over (a Pavlovian thing -- you train yourself to instantly turn on when you hear this music). More research every now and again, and finally I take the treatment and write a first draft from it. After the first draft, I show it to a bunch of people, make notes with a pen in the margins, and try to imagine actually shooting and editing it. Then, after more talking with people, go onto rewrites. all this usually takes place in my room, sitting on the side of the bed, and the conversations are usually in the living room or over the phone.

if anybody cares....
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Slick Shoes on December 12, 2003, 02:07:39 PM
In a week, I have to drive roughly 500 miles by myself. I expect to come up with a few good ideas then.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: molly on December 12, 2003, 02:48:39 PM
keep your eyes on the road, slick shoe
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Slick Shoes on December 12, 2003, 07:12:48 PM
Oh, I will -- believe you me. 8)
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Weak2ndAct on December 12, 2003, 07:41:20 PM
Usually store ideas and scenes in my noggin for a really long time, let it gestate like some mental illness or virus.  Then I write out a vague outline on a single scrap of paper to see if the general structure is there.  I won't start a script until I know the title, have a good opening, and a definite ending.  Then I find mood music, or make a mix-cd of what I'm going for, then play it on repeat indefinitely.  I then bust out Final Draft 5 and go to work, as scenes and ideas often change and take on a life of their own as the work progresses.  The work is very concentrated, all night and all day for a couple weeks max.  Then months of sloth and depression.  Rinse.  Repeat.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: SHAFTR on December 12, 2003, 07:47:46 PM
I'm a horrible writer.  I normally get all my writing done 1am - 4am on my computer in my small little room.  Either music or I'll have a movie playing in a window next to my Final Draft window.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: kotte on January 01, 2004, 11:20:27 AM
My habits have changed since I bought a laptop.

I sit around coffeshops and put down notes on a pad for maybe a month. That will usually give me a good idea of what the story and characters will be. The next step is, again, sitting around coffeshops with the computer 'till it's done.

I bought the laptop not long ago and haven't actually gone through these steps yet but that's how I imagine it'll be.


I LOVE this thread. Let's keep it going. There are lots of new members that haven't posted here. Isn't there...?
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: molly on January 01, 2004, 11:42:40 AM
If i'd sit in a coffeeshop with a laptop on, people would think i'm:
1)out of my mind
2)stuck-up missy
3)some secret agent

If i'd sit in a coffeeshop with a notebook and pencil, but not pretending to copy sth from a book, or writing something for work or studying, people would think i'm some secret agent.
Very Coen-ic.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: kotte on January 01, 2004, 11:45:35 AM
so you're out of your luck if you want to get outside your apartment? That's crap.


Or let people think your crazy or...wouldn't be cool to have people think you're a secret agent. Just go along with it and dress up in a black pants suit and shaded glasses.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: The Perineum Falcon on January 01, 2004, 12:23:59 PM
All of my writings go through an identity crisis an 8th of the way through and then I have no idea what I'm trying to convey with it. And then I'll watch extraordinary movie or something and wish I could write something like that, try it on for size, and fail horribly. Yeah, that's a bad way of doing things.

But here lately, I've been trying to avoid that as best I can. I've been following the school of thought: "Don't get it right, get it written." So, I basically write entire scenes as they come to me and later on paste them in the order I think they're supposed to go. If I don't have an entire scene finished in my head I'll grab a note card and scribble down a rough idea of where I want to go with the characters.
The latest edition of my story is coming along rather nicely.

Quote from: molly
If i'd sit in a coffeeshop with a laptop on, people would think i'm:

3)some secret agent

If i'd sit in a coffeeshop with a notebook and pencil, but not pretending to copy sth from a book, or writing something for work or studying, people would think i'm some secret agent.
Very Coen-ic.

Sounds interesting. Make a short out of that.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: MacGuffin on January 01, 2004, 01:39:31 PM
Quote from: molly
If i'd sit in a coffeeshop with a laptop on, people would
3)some secret agent


But I'd think you were a very bad agent to type up secret files in a very public area.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: molly on January 01, 2004, 04:17:53 PM
Quote from: MacGuffin
Quote from: molly
If i'd sit in a coffeeshop with a laptop on, people would
3)some secret agent


But I'd think you were a very bad agent to type up secret files in a very public area.


the wouldn't think of that. They would be busy thinking i'm taking notes about them.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Spike on January 02, 2004, 07:51:13 PM
When I have a good idea or a good character description or just something else that crosses my mind I just write it down with a pencil on a scrap of paper. I have tons of such scraps. Then I sit down in front of my computer and try to put the stuff together. Usually I'm writing in Microsoft Word and I don't have any problems with it.
Often I let a movie run, I actually never heard to music while writing. I also don't have to think extremely about dialogues because most of the stuff I do is horror.  :twisted:
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Stefen on January 03, 2004, 03:16:22 AM
I usually think of actors I would like to be in the company of. From there I think of situations I would like to see said actors in. I've never finished a screenplay, I try and try but end up getting bored of what im writing and think of a new idea, usually 40 or 50 pages in. Before I start I always make a cd of what I want the soundtrack to be. From there I bust out word and never use a title, it's always titled "Untitled" for some reason I feel a title is a constraint and whenever I title a screenplay I always find myself trying to write it for the title. Music or a movie is always playing the background, usually alcohol is being consumed, and that may be the reason I never finish anything.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: cron on January 07, 2004, 04:03:42 PM
Heineken works fine for me.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Ordet on February 26, 2004, 12:06:43 PM
Don’t you hated when you are just thinking a shit load before you go to bed and then all these cool concepts strike you and then you’re like cool and then you are also tired and then you’re like shit I gotta get up and write this shit and you do it and wait a little to see if something else pops out and it doesn’t so you go back to bed happy about the cool ideas you wrote and then you get in your bed again and you start thinking again more and more and everything suddenly becomes clear and you understand everything and you’re falling asleep and bang! The idea that will revolutionize cinema and mankind hits you. And you’re like fuck yeah I’m really tired I’ll write tomorrow this shit is great. I cant forget this, this is to good nobody cant forget this and you fall asleep and you wake up and cant remember that great idea.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: ono on February 26, 2004, 12:44:53 PM
Yeah, I really hate that.  I find inspiration tends to strike in four places: before or during sleep, in the shower, on the can, or walking to and from where you got to go.  And none of those places are contingent to actually getting down what you need to to remember it all.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: SoNowThen on February 26, 2004, 12:55:51 PM
Quote from: Onomatopoeia
I find inspiration tends to strike in the shower


YES!!! I sometimes I like to just sit in the shower for hours and do thinking/acting out scenes. This only works when your water bill is already included in your rent, btw...
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: matt35mm on February 26, 2004, 02:59:58 PM
Definitely the shower, yes.  I'd say the best time to write is right after a shower.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: MacGuffin on February 26, 2004, 03:41:49 PM
Quiet! Script in progress
By Robert Masello, Special to The Times

(http://images.calendarlive.com/media/photo/2004-02/11561629.jpg)

I didn't move to L.A. to become a screenwriter; I moved out here for love of a woman.

And because that woman had needs — needs that could only be fulfilled by 400-thread-count linens and celebrity facialists — I wrote a script. And then another. And because I discovered that writing for TV and film sure beat what I was doing before that — writing scary novels and Cosmo articles — I joined the Writers Guild of America, where, once we've sold enough material to become eligible, all good TV and screenwriters go.

And although it's really a union, we're writers, so we like to call it a guild, which has a nice Renaissance provenance to it. We don't wear doublets or anything like that, but we do like to foment rebellion (in today's parlance, strikes) and engage in all sorts of intrigue. It's lucky that L.A. has an ordinance against carrying a rapier. By last count, the WGA, West, had about 9,000 members. But if you want to know how many people in L.A. are actually writing screenplays, you'd have to get a full city census, then subtract the comatose — and that would be your number.

And at this time of the year — when all kinds of awards, most notably the Oscars, are being handed out — virtually the whole town is as edgy as Michael Eisner at a Comcast picnic.

Especially because, in many respects, the life of the Hollywood screenwriter is usually so placid. It's a life lived along a parallel track to normal adulthood. While other men and women are dressing up nice and going to offices, we're generally getting up late, putting on a shirt that might have been worn the day before, sitting down with a couple of newspapers and "the trades." The trades are Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, and some super-successful screen and TV writers, I'm told, actually get them delivered right to their homes. The rest of us usually meander down to the nearest Barnes & Noble, where we wait in line to read a copy without having to buy it. Professional courtesy dictates that you try not to leave coffee or cinnamon stains on it.

Spotting us is easy. That's us there, in the baseball cap and loose-fit Dockers, grinding our teeth as we read about the latest monster script sale — "Paramount Antes Up $2 Million for Spec Feature by 14-Year-Old Vons Bagger!" Last year alone, the guild registered 50,000 treatments, scripts and ideas — and 182 movies were produced under guild jurisdiction. You figure the odds.

That's us over there, too, slumped in a chair behind a laptop, idly drumming our fingertips on the rim of our empty coffee cup. If Starbucks didn't exist, screenwriters would have had to invent it. Many screenwriters — particularly the ones who have never sold anything — don't like to work at home. They like to be out among the people, where they can be seen, and admired, as they create their masterwork. This is called Screenwriting as Performing Art. The last time I was at the outdoor café of the Borders bookstore on the Santa Monica Promenade, the place looked like an Apple showroom, and twice I was shushed by screenwriters so immersed in the creative process that they could brook no disturbance. And going home to work, where they might actually have had privacy and silence, was apparently a nonstarter. (If a script is typed in the forest, and no one is there to see it, can it ever be optioned?)

Another simple, distinguishing mark of the screenwriter is pie. We like it. Show me a pie, and I'll show you a writer shoveling it in. The great thing about pie is that it's a time waster and a table holder, all in one. Writers don't get together to eat, anyway. We get together to whine and moan; if a screenwriter had written the Bill of Rights, the right to complain would be the first one on the list. To that end, we need a place where we can occupy space for the maximum amount of time, for the minimum cash outlay. Go to the Palm and they expect you to order a $32 steak, eat it and get out. But go to Du-Par's at the Farmers Market, and you can hold down a window table for hours, on the strength of one coconut custard and a decaf.

But what, you may be asking, do we have to complain about? So far this life probably sounds pretty good: work sporadically, be paid inordinately well (when you do work) and drink for years thereafter from a magical spring called residuals. (Residuals arrive, unexpectedly and unpredictably, in any denomination — some checks are for $10, others are for a thousand times that — or so I hear.) Just to give you some idea of what's at stake, in 2003 the guild processed roughly $200 million in residuals payments. Which makes them way better than their closest equivalent — unemployment insurance — and a lot more dignified.

And dignity, especially at this awards-crazy time of the year, is never far from a screenwriter's mind. The Writers Guild Awards were last week, and the Oscars are coming up, so there's still a bumper crop of bitterness out there waiting to be harvested. When all of those around you are being nominated and celebrated, you just want to say, "Hold on one darn minute here! You want to know what I could have done if I'd (a) been asked, (b) was self-motivated or (c) had talent?" Speaking for myself, I wasn't up for anything, but that doesn't mean I don't feel robbed. The screenwriter's sense of personal injury is as finely tuned as a bat's radar.

Other topics we enjoy endlessly revisiting, simply to stoke the fires of our outrage? Ageism ("Just because I got momentarily disoriented in the meeting, and thought everyone was speaking Chinese, they dump me!"), the cutbacks in our once-renowned healthcare program (you get nothing, not a dime, toward your Viagra prescription), the general disrespect.

The one thing we don't like to talk about is our work; it would be unseemly. If you're actually employed, on a paying job, your friends don't want to hear about it. (And for all you know, you're rewriting the script your lunch mate was fired from the week before.) If you're not working on anything with a guaranteed return, you're reduced to talking about your spec (for "speculative") script as if it is something you're planning to complete one day. If you want to talk about your novel, that's OK; every screenwriter believes he's going to chuck it all at some point and write the novel that's been itching to get out. These novels appear with all the regularity of the Abominable Snowman.

You can talk about money, too — but not if your problem is where to invest it. Late payments from the studios, extra drafts for no extra money, DVD royalties that came to 50 cents — that's all perfectly OK. A show of misery is always a welcome sight. In fact, if it's not money we're carping about, it's our rep. Indeed, to boost the image of screenwriters in general, the guild launched its 70th anniversary ad campaign, with billboards and all; you might have seen some of them around town. They include a line or two of dialogue from a famous flick ("Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown.") and an unidentified face (the screenwriter's, in case you hadn't guessed). But would you like to know the name of that unfamiliar kisser?

Well, we're not telling! That's for you to go to the library and look up! What are you — lazy? Only a bunch of writers, miffed at their lack of recognition, would be so clever as to wage an expensive ad campaign that still doesn't mention the writers' names! Quick — who coined the phrase "Your own worst enemy"?

And now, there's also the big question: Who's going to win what on Sunday night? A decidedly informal poll of the writers I found dining at Jerry's Famous Deli in Westwood voted this way. Best adapted screenplay? "Mystic River." A solid piece of work by a veteran pro, Brian Helgeland. Best original screenplay, the big kahuna? "Lost in Translation," though there was some reluctance to heap any more blessings on Sofia Coppola, a young woman whose life seems too good already. Writers like to rectify, not reinforce, a cosmic imbalance wherever they see it.

Of course, if you want to quibble about these picks, no problem — we'd be more than happy to kill a few hours debating them with you. You can find us, like the lost boys in Peter Pan, soaking up the sun in the middle of a work day, popping into the movies for a cheap matinee or hailing the waitress for another slice of pie and a coffee refill. If you're a screenwriter in L.A., and you play your cards right, you never have to grow up.

Michael Jackson may have moved out of Neverland ... but we're not budging.

Robert Masello, whose credits include "Charmed," "Sliders" and "Early Edition," teaches screenwriting at Claremont McKenna College.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: bluejaytwist on March 01, 2004, 06:14:29 PM
movie magic casts the spell
in the basement
music a must

no pen and paper
i don't believe it if it is in my own handwriting...
all i see is 'my' words..
when you open up things in courier new
it almost doesn't seem like your own
helps you be less self-conscious??

hand-written scripts end up balled around my trash
mustmustmust be digitized to get energized.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: kotte on March 24, 2004, 02:14:40 AM
How do you write poetry?

Do you decide to sit down for an hour and produce 8 poems (much like writing screenplays)?

Or

Do you write what you feel when you feel?



The first approach feel less honest but I guess that's what working poets do.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Stefen on March 24, 2004, 02:17:28 AM
Quote from: kotte
How do you write poetry?

Do you decide to sit down for an hour and produce 8 poems (much like writing screenplays.


I wish I could write 8 screenplays in an hour. Kotte, you are accomplished so I believe you. Teach me the ways.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: kotte on March 24, 2004, 02:24:17 AM
Quote from: Stefen
Quote from: kotte
How do you write poetry?

Do you decide to sit down for an hour and produce 8 poems (much like writing screenplays.


I wish I could write 8 screenplays in an hour. Kotte, you are accomplished so I believe you. Teach me the ways.


hehe...not really what I meant...

You write screenplays, you sit down for an hour or two...to get some writing done. You may not always feel like it but you do it anyway...to get the work done. Can you do this with poetry as well?
I feel extremely pretentious when I force poetry.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Stefen on March 24, 2004, 02:25:52 AM
Quote from: kotte
Quote from: Stefen
Quote from: kotte
How do you write poetry?

Do you decide to sit down for an hour and produce 8 poems (much like writing screenplays.


I wish I could write 8 screenplays in an hour. Kotte, you are accomplished so I believe you. Teach me the ways.


hehe...not really what I meant...

You write screenplays, you sit down for an hour or two...to get some writing done. You may not always feel like it but you do it anyway...to get the work done. Can you do this with poetry as well?
I feel extremely pretentious when I force poetry.


I was just funnin ya. I think poetry is alot harder than screenwriting because, well it just is. I say that ebcause I can write screenplays, but I can't write poetry. That is my whole basis.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Ordet on March 24, 2004, 01:16:08 PM
It’s interesting that you mention this. Seven years ago after the death of my father I found myself writing a lot of poetry, short stories and essays it started to evolve as a went along. I wrote most of this in Spanish though. I was really into Borges, Neruda and Benedetti.
It’s been a while since I last wrote poetry. I guess this transition occurred when I had the urge to express myself visually and I always wanted to be a filmmaker so I made an armature feature. That was the pivotal moment that made me absolutely wants to become a filmmaker. It took me a year and a half to complete using friends as actors it turned out to be a pretentious exercise with very artsy images full of plot holes flairs of great acting and blotches of really bad acting, very Tarkofskian, ripping off Kubrick frames art house and an ending that I don’t even know what the fuck it means.

Today I’m totally for screenwriting. I still like metaphor as long as it comes from a real place. Story. Story. Story. I was so obsessed with semiotics and visual texture and depths of field and I expressed so much visually on my first flick that I got a lot of shit out of my system and now I can obsess on the screenwriting process. I finished writing a 34 min short film. And I’ve been writing my feature for about a year and four months now.

I would say that screenwriting at first hand seems to be simpler than other literary forms. I think it’s the most complex. Because screenwriting is all about structure. Get to the point and write great dialogue make it interesting and real and funny. The space between the last line of dialogue a character has spoken and your next descriptive line or slug line makes the difference in a great screenplay. That small line, that split second pause to your reader will be like “this shit’s got lots of depth, this shit’s dense”

I write screenplays in English and the whole exploration of the language is fascinating the way people talk, the beats, the stuttering and those perplexed articulating moments. I feel very comfortable writing screenplays in English, even more than in Spanish. I wouldn’t attempt to write poetry in English though.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: molly on March 24, 2004, 06:45:01 PM
when something is too difficult for me to put on paper, i switch to english, or evade for some time untill i'm ok with that. I began spontaneously, but now i now the procedure.

Times New Roman works for me. I tried out that Courier New and failed. In TNR looks like i'm reading somebody else's book.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Tictacbk on April 03, 2004, 12:00:35 AM
I keep a word doc. open at all times to write poems in if anything ever "hits me" while i'm at my comp, but i'll never write poetry because I have to.  I think its more personal than that.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: kotte on August 01, 2004, 01:51:48 PM
"Don't go to Starbucks with your computer so that people see you typing, just write."

Neil LaBute in Slate Magazine (http://slate.msn.com/id/2091298)

This is me. :)
But I'm seriously not doing it so people can see me type...it stimulates my creativity...and keeps me off the internet.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: ᾦɐļᵲʊʂ on August 19, 2004, 10:42:33 AM
If I had a laptop, I'd probably still sit at home and type.

For me, writing is divided into two parts.  Generating material and putting it on paper.

Now, coming up with the ideas is where I just observe everything.  I usually get quieter and just look at things, observe how people talk, mannerisms, etc.  I make connections to a possible situation if I have one, and get a small idea worked out.  The I build on the characters.  Their traits usually write the rest of the story or at least a huge part of it.

Then, I take the rough idea, sit down in front of Microsoft Word and type like a madman.  The ideas freeflow out, and then I edit that draft.

Just yesterday I had a burst of inspiration and I kicked out somewhere like 20 pages.  It was over a few hours, but it was worth it.  My story is really piecing together, and few feelings can top that.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: classical gas on November 07, 2004, 04:30:05 AM
i usually think about ideas for a story while driving around aimlessly; jot down the ideas while sitting in my car in my driveway or complex parking lot, listening to popular music (it helps for some reason) and drinking a little alcohol....to, typing out the story on the computer early in the morning or late at night, on loads of caffiene and good music, or silence, whichever is needed.  
it's always worked for me...but then again, it hasn't, because i'm still here, typing about my writing process.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: JG on August 06, 2005, 08:52:32 AM
Quote from: Ghostboy
I write in my room, in the dark, with music playing (or sometimes a movie playing in the background). I use Movie Magic Screenwriter; I used to be a purist and type everything in Word, but then I tried a program and it hooked me within a few seconds.

I also used to do the laptop/cafe routine from time to time, but then I accidentally 'liquidated' the motherboard on the darn thing. Oh well.

I'm really not too good when it comes to handwriting, unfortunately. I've been spoiled; I'm too impatient. Hearing the keys clack away keeps me going.


i also sit in my room in the dark listening to music playing.  i still type on word though.  and i can't handwrite.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: polkablues on August 07, 2005, 07:27:58 PM
I've been dragged kicking and screaming from Microsoft Word to actual screenwriting software.  First one called Sophocles, which I grew to love like a casual affair, and now Final Draft, which is growing increasingly like a stale marriage.

The best part, though, is writing dirty words and having the program read them aloud.  That's when I really feel like I'm contributing to mankind.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: AntiDumbFrogQuestion on August 07, 2005, 08:04:58 PM
I either use Microsoft Word, since it is compatible to both Mac and PC.  I'm not lazy with typing so I don't go for FinalDraft (even though I could if I really wanted to).
I write in the corner of the Downstairs of my house, although I spent the past few months with the nice white walls of my apartment's room. With the eyes of my friends looking down on me thru photographs pasted on the walls, inspirations came easy.
"who else could these people be? what else could have been going on in that picture?"
Very cool and true to me.

If I have a laptop, I write on the couch (no shit) or on the beach (even in winter).

Mostly I take a notebook around, one of those 5-subjects, with one subject dedicated to one script.  I write "ideas" on the left side and the "Script" on the right side.   If the idea/script wins my respect, I transcribe w/ my ole MSWord.
Or, if all else fails, notepad.
I try to write on lunchbreaks or before going to bed. It ALL comes out more easily and playfully then.
WORD TO YO' MUMSY
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: polkablues on August 07, 2005, 09:55:42 PM
Quote from: AntiDumbFrogQuestion
I'm not lazy with typing so I don't go for FinalDraft


I know what you mean.  I kind of miss hitting TAB however many times for each new line.  Weird thing to get nostalgic about...




EDIT: Look to the left and you'll see Natalie getting nostalgic about Word.
<----------------------------
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: ono on August 07, 2005, 10:01:00 PM
Why would you get nostalgic about Word?

:migraine:

I use FynlDraft.  :fredflintstonespelling:

I tend to write pages and pages of notes in a text file and then somehow formulate them into an outline.  That becomes a screenplay someday.  Hopefully.  :yes:
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: socketlevel on August 08, 2005, 03:51:13 PM
i used to do the pen and paper thing but now i'm like fuck that and only at the outline stage will i go old school.  final draft all the way for the rest of it.

i like cafes or libraries, especially really old ones, adds a lot of atmosphere.  i like to put myself in an environment i'm not all that used to.  it makes the experience of writing seem epic  that way.

-sl-
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: JG on August 08, 2005, 03:55:47 PM
i can't explain it, but I just like the way pen on legal note pad pad looks.  

I get an accomplished feeling when I finally sit down to write a thorough outine using pages and pages of scribbled out writing and barely legible notes.

I'll look into final draft, but how much is it?
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: kotte on August 09, 2005, 12:08:01 PM
My process has been constantly evolving.
This is how it looks right now, a routine I'm very comfortable with.

I write 30 minutes to an hour every morning. This is my real writing time. I have a small notebook in my backpocket in which I scribble ideas and anything that hits me. A couple of days a week I sit in a cafe for hours just getting down everything I have in my head.

But morning-time is my scriptwriting time...
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: polkablues on August 09, 2005, 12:42:09 PM
Quote from: JimmyGator
I'll look into final draft, but how much is it?


The downside is, it runs around 200 to 300 bucks.

The upside is, if you illegally download it, it's free!
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: killafilm on August 09, 2005, 03:00:46 PM
Normally late at night, in the dark with music playing.  And really slowly :cry:
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Pubrick on August 22, 2005, 05:14:55 PM
Quote from: flagpolespecial
i live in australia and would like to buy final draft 7.

that's really hard to steal, no one i know has been able to help me either. we are DOOMED.

dude i know tells me to try emule or sumthing.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: polkablues on August 22, 2005, 07:46:13 PM
http://www.likemagic.com.au/

There.  Never say I didn't help out Australia.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: killafilm on August 23, 2005, 12:19:20 AM
or uhhhmmLimeWirea;lskjf for Final Draft 6
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Pubrick on August 24, 2005, 02:21:45 PM
i just wrote an awesome story synopsis on the back of a ripped envelope. in purple pen, brand "penline" quartz medium it says on the side. half of it filled with ink, the rest i presume is air. i used my right hand. the envolope was made out of 60% recycled paper, and ripped at one of the narrow ends, furtherest from the front address.

on the whole it was about 8 lines in length, average of 5.75 words per line, with increasingly small writing as it neared the ripped end of the paper. my handwriting was typically quite messy, a regular reader would not have been able to tell the following letters apart: d, u, w, a, m, n, c, h, e.

illegibility notwithstanding, i made no spelling mistakes in the 45 seconds it took me to write it down. i don't remember what the envelope was used for, i found it under the keyboard.
Title: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: bluejaytwist on August 24, 2005, 02:37:48 PM
moviemagikkk is my beast. if drew carey's writing staff endorses it, that's good enough for me. but seriously. its good.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: ono on November 30, 2005, 06:30:12 PM
Most recently, I've taken to staying up until all hours.  Unemployment, illness, and a love of night in general attribute to this.  Just a few days ago, I was about to go to sleep, 6 AM, and a flurry of ideas hit me, and I was like, fuckit, I'm gonna write for a couple hours.  I love that.

I also love it when I remember that I've written something, and am quite proud of the premise, but can't remember the file it's in.  No, check that, I hate it, and it's driving me nuts.  I'm poring over my hard drive right now trying to remember where the fuck I put it before I decide to rewrite it.  It must've been a year and a half ago I thought of it and it's just now come back to me.  That's great.  No, I hate it.  No, it's great, and I hate it.  Yep.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: JG on November 30, 2005, 07:36:11 PM
Most recently, I've taken to staying up until all hours.  Unemployment, illness, and a love of night in general attribute to this.  Just a few days ago, I was about to go to sleep, 6 AM, and a flurry of ideas hit me, and I was like, fuckit, I'm gonna write for a couple hours.  I love that.

That's pretty great.   A couple of weekends ago I promised myself that I would write a lot that weekend, and it was Saturday night at about twelve and I hadn't written anything and I was pissed at myself because I was busy all day Sunday and I knew the weekend would end and I wouldn't have written anything.  I couldn't get through this one part of my script, so I was really frustrated.  So I was about to go to bed (and I keep my lap top right beside my bed,)  and I all of a sudden went nuts.  I wrote for 3 -4 fours.  I put on all my Elliott Smith records, made myself a cup of tea.  30 pages of size twelve, courier new. 

it's the best feeling. 
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Pozer on November 30, 2005, 10:41:52 PM
Replace Elliott Smith and tea with Sigur Ros and yoo-hoo and we had the same weekend, my friend.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: polkablues on December 01, 2005, 02:29:54 AM
God, I feel so unwholesome.  When I write, I drink vodka.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: hedwig on December 01, 2005, 11:14:50 PM
30 pages of size twelve, courier new. 

it's the best feeling. 

i bet you have 30 pages of odifjsdoifjsojweoifjsdoifjsdoifjsdoifjsoddijfosfojsdijfoisdjfoisdjfoisdjfd
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Reinhold on December 11, 2005, 03:31:53 AM
i've started writing in train stations. i don't think that they're particularly great environments for writing. i've just been spending more time at them. i carry a new notebook now.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Link on December 11, 2005, 04:42:33 AM
I used to use Final Draft, but stopped (mainly out of guilt for not having purchased it).

Now I write actual scripts on Celtx
Notes on anything (Word, Sidenote, a notebook, whatever)
Sometimes with music on, but usually I get sucked into the songs.  I usually put on a taped awards ceremony (like the Oscars) with the volume low.  I guess seeing others get awards gets me jealous.
All times of day, but most productive very early in the morning.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: matt35mm on December 12, 2005, 08:10:02 PM
God, I feel so unwholesome.  When I write, I drink vodka.
i bet you have 30 pages of odifjsdoifjsojweoifjsdoifjsdoifjsdoifjsoddijfosfojsdijfoisdjfoisdjfoisdjfd
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: cowboykurtis on February 18, 2006, 09:58:27 PM
If anyone knows FINAL DRAFT well and could provide some insight, it'd be much appreciated -

I someone how enabled a function that shows icons for every RETURN and INDENTATION on the script - does anyone know how to disable this?
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: polkablues on February 18, 2006, 10:40:21 PM
If anyone knows FINAL DRAFT well and could provide some insight, it'd be much appreciated -

I someone how enabled a function that shows icons for every RETURN and INDENTATION on the script - does anyone know how to disable this?

Go up to the View menu, and unclick Invisibles.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: cowboykurtis on February 19, 2006, 01:01:43 PM
thank you
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Pozer on September 02, 2010, 02:19:25 PM
usbtypewriter (http://holykaw.alltop.com/keyboards-go-retro-with-the-typewriter-usb)
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: polkablues on September 02, 2010, 03:07:36 PM
I want it.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: socketlevel on September 02, 2010, 04:10:37 PM
we truly are living in post modern purgatory
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: polkablues on September 02, 2010, 05:18:03 PM
I want it so fucking bad.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Mr. on May 12, 2011, 09:27:02 AM
This is a cool thread and really interesting to read how everyone have their own way of writing.

When it comes to writing the actual screenplay, I´ll be in my room, since I have an iMac. But before writing the screenplay, I tend to bring a printed version of a draft or treatment with me everywhere I go, so I can sit and make notes etc, whenever I can find 10 minutes. Usually I go to a cafe and sit there for 3 hours. Sometimes looking at people will create a "But what if..?" in my head and I´m off.
When there is no more room for notes, I sit down and apply them to the screenplay and write a new draft. (Usually during the evening, since my criticizing-self is tired)
I use Celtx, since I refuse to spend 249 $ on Final Draft. I have never tried Final Draft, so Celtx is awesome as far as I´m concerned :)

What I also like to do is create a playlist with music for inspiration for whatever I´m writing on. That tends to feed my imagination and gives me a mood to write on. When writing the actually screenplay, it takes me about 5-8 minutes to get "into the movie", to get back in its world.

For notes, storyboards, free-association writing and ideas it´s a mix between a Moleskine book and notes on my desk. I have made it a routine to have a Moleskine notebook per film, so everything is in on notebook. Plus, I´m a Moleskine whore, I simply love their products and for some stupid reason I feel way more creative and cool, writing in a Moleskine.

That´s my way of doing it :)

Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Sleepless on May 12, 2011, 09:45:26 AM
How do you plot out your story?

For me, that's always where I have the most trouble. It sounds ridiculous, I know. I have no problem coming up with ideas, imagining characters, their worlds, and the stories themselves. I understand structure, and I think I'm capable enough at feeling out the correct pace and rhythm for a screenplay. But I often seem to languish in making loads of notes, imagining the script, etc, and once I get into the writing I whip through the pages. It's the detailed plotting phases which always gets me. I've tried writing a detailed treatment, and I really didn't enjoy it. I've tried the Coen approach of having as much information on paper and in my head as possible and then just trying to write the screenplay - but found that unless you're pre-2002 Coens that's really not a good idea. Typically, once I have everything more or less mapped out in my mind I'll take the index card route, but it still doesn't fill out as detailed as it should to be the launching pad for a full-on script. So what tricks or techniques does everyone else use for this phase of their writing?
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: polkablues on May 12, 2011, 11:19:00 AM
I have a big corkboard on the wall behind my computer, and I just plot out the script on index cards, one scene at a time. I use different colored thumbtacks for each act, so I can see at a glance what the ratio is between the acts -- if my first act is running way too long and needs editing down, if my second act is anemic and needs more complications, it's easier to discover that with a row of index cards than with a regular outline. Plus, it makes it very easy to move scenes around and restructure your plot.

Right now I'm still in the middle of the first script that I've tried to write with this technique, but so far it's been a huge help. I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep using it from now on.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: socketlevel on May 12, 2011, 12:44:22 PM
I would say don't worry about plot. Just write out the story, when i ususally go back to my screenplay I notice the plotted stuff is the most forced.  Once i have my characters, and i know where i want the story to end up I just write until i get there and then cut later to make it tight.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: The Perineum Falcon on May 12, 2011, 12:58:17 PM
Has anyone read Mamet's On Directing Film? It's more than directing, and concerns the composition of the screenplay, as well as the shot-list. He simplifies the act of writing to practical effect, alleviating the burden of "how do i come up with all this shit" that has been plaguing much of what i do.

Likewise, his Three Uses of the Knife may come in handy as well.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Mr. on May 12, 2011, 01:05:06 PM
How do you plot out your story?

For me, that's always where I have the most trouble. It sounds ridiculous, I know. I have no problem coming up with ideas, imagining characters, their worlds, and the stories themselves. I understand structure, and I think I'm capable enough at feeling out the correct pace and rhythm for a screenplay. But I often seem to languish in making loads of notes, imagining the script, etc, and once I get into the writing I whip through the pages. It's the detailed plotting phases which always gets me. I've tried writing a detailed treatment, and I really didn't enjoy it. I've tried the Coen approach of having as much information on paper and in my head as possible and then just trying to write the screenplay - but found that unless you're pre-2002 Coens that's really not a good idea. Typically, once I have everything more or less mapped out in my mind I'll take the index card route, but it still doesn't fill out as detailed as it should to be the launching pad for a full-on script. So what tricks or techniques does everyone else use for this phase of their writing?

Correct me if I´m wrong: You find yourself having too many ideas for scenes/set-pieces/sequences and you don´t know how to fit them into the structure of screenplay, yes?
When I have that problem, I try to sit down and focus on how they could fit together, how to fill out the blanks.
If I have a shoot-out in a bank, a scene where a man tries to get down from a roof and a a woman going on a blind-date, but not necessarily in that order, I try to flip them around and see what it sparks of new ideas. Doing the "What if...?"-thing. What if it starts with the woman going on a blind-date and I want the next scene to be the roof-scene, then how do I get the man up on the roof? What if he finds out he´s been followed and needs to escape. What if a waiter comes over, "There´s a call for you, sir", then the waiter knocks him down and he is suddenly on the roof of the building...blah blah blah, you get the point.

Eventually, you will have changed, turned, flipped every idea to see if they fit and have created an organic process to the events.

Of course, this translates very well to dialogue-pieces, information that the audience needs to know, etc. If I´m writing a scene where a girl has to climb a hill and has a fear of heights, in order for that to work, I need to have established (even in the smallest detail) that the girl has a fear of heights somewhere in the first act. I presume you already know this, but the tricky thing is always how to slip that information in so that it seems like a natural thing to see.

Did any of this qualify as a correct answer?  :?
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: pete on May 12, 2011, 03:41:47 PM
editing. finding out the essence of your story and throwing away things you don't need. save information for later or for another story.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: socketlevel on May 12, 2011, 04:02:00 PM
I so agree Pete, I think we work the same way. Overwriting is a good thing. Nothing worse than adding something later with the desperate worry that it won't seem organic; authenticity's worst enemy. If you're concerned about plot, you're concerned about math. Your mind shouldn't be on the math. just write solid scenes and tell your story. overall pacing will come later as you reread it the million times. and you definitely will. eventually as you write more scripts, some of the editing will occur subconsciously as you're doing the first draft and your subsequent rounds of edits will require less work.

the thing i love about editing is you really discover fast what is good, if it's still funny/enlightening/exciting/dramatic then it was a good moment. If it isn't you were either reaching or caught up with momentary falsely inspired creativity.

I do start with an outline, but it's usually a huge outline that consists of everything that happens in a scene without the dialogue. of course if a line jumps out at me I'll write it down. then i go back and write in the dialogue, expanding my large paragraphs into smaller actions (usually comprised of the same text) while giving the characters' their voice. sometimes it's been months from when i made the outline and I'll just get a creative spark and finish the scene without the outline notes.

to my surprise, about 7 or so scenes in my new script i thought of a new way to end the scene before i had finished reading the outline, and i wrote it that way. when i went back to my outline, I saw that i ended it the same way; which i had totally forgot. It made me feel great because it was an indication I was on the right track both times. My mind went to the same resolution on two different encounters with the scene, 6 months apart. going with your gut and instinct is key in these first draft(s).

just remember: 1st draft from the heart, 2nd draft from the mind.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: polkablues on May 12, 2011, 04:37:22 PM
You can't look at plot as a dirty word, though; boiled down to its broth, all "plot" means is cause-and-effect.  It's the series of actions and reactions that drives your characters through the story.  You can't really say don't be concerned about plot, just write the story -- the plot IS the story.  Without it you just have a series of unrelated events in which characters do things that don't matter.  I've read (hell, written) enough aimless scripts that start nowhere and go nowhere to respect the importance of plot to story.  And I've used the same excuse that every writer who writes an aimless script uses: "It's about the characters."  Which is fine, but cinematically, the way you reveal character and develop character is through plot.  Characters start out in stasis, then events happen which move them out of that stasis, and how the characters respond to their new situation is the only way we know who they are as characters.  That's all plot is.  It's how we get the characters from point A to point B.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Sleepless on May 12, 2011, 07:05:43 PM
Guys, wow, that was all actually really helpful. Generally, it stuff I already knew, but maybe the way you phrased, or the sequence of the post certainly sparked a revelation for me. You see, my scripts rarely suffer from over writing. I maybe do too much editing between the formulation of the ideas and the actual script writing. I like the idea of writing things down in screenplay format as I go, just scenes here and there, because that's essentially what I'm doing anyway. But doing it upfront as you seem to suggest would actually give me a lot of material going into my first draft, so that the process would become half creating new stuff, half sculpting what is already there. The index cards of course will play an important role in the shaping of it all.

I think I've always suffered from the misconception that having a complete outline down was essential in order to progress to a full write through, but I like this idea of the script itself actually being formed as part of the development process. I mean, why the hell shouldn't it be? It makes absolute sense. It's certainly a new perspective on the process for me, and I can see me now with script pages, scribbled notes and index cards all spread out across the floor to try and make sense of it all, but that seems to be a sensible way of getting that first draft completed, since different scenes and different aspects of the script all require different approaches and levels of pre-work before you get into the writing.

Thanks for the advice.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: socketlevel on May 13, 2011, 12:56:03 PM
You can't look at plot as a dirty word, though; boiled down to its broth, all "plot" means is cause-and-effect.  It's the series of actions and reactions that drives your characters through the story.  You can't really say don't be concerned about plot, just write the story -- the plot IS the story.  Without it you just have a series of unrelated events in which characters do things that don't matter.  I've read (hell, written) enough aimless scripts that start nowhere and go nowhere to respect the importance of plot to story.  And I've used the same excuse that every writer who writes an aimless script uses: "It's about the characters."  Which is fine, but cinematically, the way you reveal character and develop character is through plot.  Characters start out in stasis, then events happen which move them out of that stasis, and how the characters respond to their new situation is the only way we know who they are as characters.  That's all plot is.  It's how we get the characters from point A to point B.

I guess I do find it to be a dirty word. And i disagree, the plot isn't the story; it's the story's design. Designing and crafting can come later. when people get too caught up with the design early it often leads to forced material and cliche elements. I agree it is cause and effect. so to make my point clear with your own definition, I personally find it very hard if i come up with the effect first and I am forced to infuse a cause to motivate it. It's pushing or pulling the moment. if you just write the story and go into it with more causes than effects, the story will work itself out. then in subsequent drafts you can fine tune it. getting caught up in "how do i make this happen" (which I have done on every script i've written, and can't help it) is the wrong approach.

You can also depict characters in point A, then point B without moving them along the way you suggest.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: polkablues on May 13, 2011, 01:15:50 PM
I'm not necessarily advocating plotting by starting at the end point and working backwards. I don't think that's a wrong way to go about it, but typically the way I prefer to work is simply to start with my characters at the beginning and go through a process of "what happens next". One event -- when I say "event", that can mean something as big as a planet exploding or as small as a wink -- leads to a change in the characters' state, which leads to the next event, which leads to another change in the characters' state, on and on through the story.

I'm not really clear on what you're writing if you're not concerning yourself with plot. What happens to your characters? How do they progress through the story if not through things happening?
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Reelist on May 13, 2011, 02:50:08 PM
you sound like Robert Mckee up in this bitch. I don't mean to sound all Donald in Adaptation but what about Robert Mckee? Do you guys use him?
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Sleepless on May 13, 2011, 03:51:03 PM
I broke down and read Story years ago. To be honest, I've forgotten most of it, but it basically just hammers 3 act structure the same as any other cheap screenwriting book.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: polkablues on May 13, 2011, 04:54:44 PM
I broke down and read Story years ago. To be honest, I've forgotten most of it, but it basically just hammers 3 act structure the same as any other cheap screenwriting book.

From that description, I would say you've forgotten more than most of it.  McKee's been given a bad reputation as a simple purveyor of formula screenwriting, akin to Syd Field, and certainly if you're reading Story with basic commercial 3-act structure as your goal, you can learn that from it, but he actually goes far beyond that.  The book is far more theoretical than Field's approach of fill-in-the-blanks template screenplays.  It's not so much about learning how to write a story as it is learning what makes a story a story.  Breaking down the elements of storytelling and applying them practically to the screenplay form.  

Not that I would ever recommend someone only read Story and suddenly consider themselves a master screenwriter, but there's a lot to be gleaned from that book, which, like I said, has been given a very undeserved level of disrepute.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Sleepless on May 13, 2011, 05:32:07 PM
Oh, I definitely have forgotten more than most of it. I wonder if you could recommend a particular section which I should go back to which would convince me that the whole thing is worth another look? From what I recall it was all about the base formula, however layered and academic it was dressed up to be.

For what it's worth, I don't mean what I just wrote to sound like an attack or anything, but you obviously were able to take away more from the book than I did. I think that while there is certainly a lot of criticism for McKee, there is also a large group of people (yourself included) that feel there is a great worth in the book. When I read it, I didn't get it. Sell me on it, and I'll give it another go.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: wilder on May 13, 2011, 05:38:23 PM
cinematically, the way you reveal character and develop character is through plot.  

Inside Story by Dara Marks is by far the best screenwriting book I've read, and is very much about this...plot being action and subplot being reaction. Her book is unpretentious and after reading it for the first time I felt like I'd finally been relieved of a terrible hangover - ideas I had about writing that were hazy and disconnected before finally fell into place. I highly recommend it to anyone having trouble with their script.

http://daramarks.com/inside.php (http://daramarks.com/inside.php)

"...process that helps identify your thematic intention—what your story is really about—and teaches you how to turn that intention into the driving force behind all your creative choices. The result is a profound relationship between the movement of the plot and the internal development of character, which is the foundation for the transformational arc. The transformational arc is the deeper line of structure found inside the story."
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: polkablues on May 14, 2011, 12:24:48 AM
Oh, I definitely have forgotten more than most of it. I wonder if you could recommend a particular section which I should go back to which would convince me that the whole thing is worth another look? From what I recall it was all about the base formula, however layered and academic it was dressed up to be.

If I were to sell you on just one section of the book to convince you to give the rest of it another shot, I would say the chapter titled "Structure and Character".  It's directly applicable to what I've been talking about in my previous posts, and actually sums up very succinctly a problem with probably 95% of aspiring screenwriters (and a depressing number of established screenwriters as well), which is confusing characterization for character.  If there's any part of the book that I immediately grabbed onto and absorbed into how I think about my work, it's that section.

Inside Story by Dara Marks is by far the best screenwriting book I've read, and is very much about this...plot being action and subplot being reaction. Her book is unpretentious and after reading it for the first time I felt like I'd finally been relieved of a terrible hangover - ideas I had about writing that were hazy and disconnected before finally fell into place. I highly recommend it to anyone having trouble with their script.

I'll have to pick that one up.  It sounds like it would be right up my alley.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Reelist on March 08, 2012, 09:01:19 PM
Screenwriters banned from Starbucks locations Worldwide (http://hollywoodandswine.com/starbucks-bans-screenwriters-from-all-19435-locations-worldwide-wga-vows-fight-decision/)
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on March 08, 2012, 09:07:59 PM
^ People should know that's a fake story.

(Sorry.)
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Reelist on December 11, 2012, 12:39:55 PM
I need to write with no one around. I get really self conscious with other people there, because I prefer to use notebooks and with no laptop screen to hide behind, they know EXACTLY what you're doing. Either you're writing or not writing, whereas on a computer you could be doing any number of important things.

So I always write at home, but I think I need to get out sometime and hide in the corner of a library with no distractions- just cranking out pages. There's always some obligation or unfinished task I have to tend to around the house, and I feel like I do my best writing when I'm trapped, either physically or emotionally. I really romanticize the idea of being able to afford staying in a hotel to write a draft in a couple days, as I've heard many writers do.

I think it's important to have a set writing spot that's of really easy access to you. A cleared off table in private with a lamp and your writing utensils is all you need. I should carve out a little place in my house where I can play my music loud and smoke and just fuck off, because the biggest deterrent to my writing is always when I feel like I've dried out the well, so I go "okay, time for a smoke break!" and it gives me an excuse to vacate the premises, patting myself on the back for hours over all the good writing I did. Then I come back to it days later and I'm like "holy fuck! I only got this far?" then the cycle begins again.


There's my first writing of the day, time for a cigarette...
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Pubrick on December 11, 2012, 01:01:06 PM
fuck writing by hand, what are we animals?

the only reason anyone should write by hand these days is if you can't type for shit.

typing is neater and a million times faster than handwriting.

the only time a person should write by hand is when writing a love letter. and even then, draft it on a computer!
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Frederico Fellini on December 11, 2012, 01:35:13 PM
"I write longhand because you can't write poetry in a fucking computer.. MY PEN IS MY ANTENNA TO GOD!" - Quentin Tarantino


I used to write longhand at the beginning, I liked it because it kinda gave you this weird artistic freedom and tons of stuff sort of just spill outta you, I could never write fast enough. The problem is that it gets fucking tiresome when you have to type everything all over again in the computer.

That's why now I agree that typing is better, but that's just 'cuz I'm lazy. Shit, I've been writing on my Blackberry for the past 2 months and then I just transfer it to my laptop via USB. That's how lazy I've gotten.

Does anybody know if there's a writing software where you can just say things to your computer and the software will type it all down for you?  If there isn't, somebody needs to fucking invent it.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: polkablues on December 11, 2012, 02:59:24 PM
Tarantino seems like the sort who has to type with just the middle finger of each hand, his face hovering six inches above the keyboard with the tip of his tongue sticking out the corner of his mouth.


Does anybody know if there's a writing software where you can just say things to your computer and the software will type it all down for you?  If there isn't, somebody needs to fucking invent it.

I've heard good things about Dragon dictation software, but I've never used it myself.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on December 11, 2012, 03:02:26 PM
I can't stand writing by hand. I'm a slow handwriter and a hundred times faster at typing. With handwriting, your brain gets so far ahead of your hand that you start interrupting yourself.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Frederico Fellini on December 11, 2012, 08:58:11 PM
Tarantino seems like the sort who has to type with just the middle finger of each hand, his face hovering six inches above the keyboard with the tip of his tongue sticking out the corner of his mouth.


HAHA... Tarantino seems like the type of guy who would be a Child molester/Serial killer if he wasn't a filmmaker. That creepy foot fucker.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Reelist on December 11, 2012, 11:22:54 PM
^ low blow


but really, I think his head is just too big for both of his eyes to see the keyboard at the same time. Quentin's got a cinerama-dome
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Garam on December 28, 2012, 06:46:54 PM
I like writing by hand cause there isn't a bright light drilling into your skull and giving you a massive headache and aching eyes. Also you don't need to be lugging a laptop with you everywhere you go to do it.


Typing's great. It's fast and perfect for editing. But I've never felt a focus with it like I have with handwriting. I enjoy the feeling of playing catch-up with your thoughts. You can also get ideas down in a much more scattershot/experimental way that I don't think lends itself well to word processors.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Reelist on December 28, 2012, 07:30:21 PM
I'm typing a script right now in Appleworks 6, my friend said he'd get me a copy of Final Draft 8. Hey do you guys think that would work on my old ass emac computer? If not, what's a screenwriting program that would. This computer is old. I bought it in 2005.

If we're talking about writing for movies you're always gonna have to type it out, no one wants to read your chicken scratch, but in terms of just winging it and testing your ideas out on the page, I think every writer should have a relationship to the pad and the pen. Something about everything you write down being permanent makes you contemplate exactly what you put down more, and you turn out better pages. I filled two notebooks of ideas before I hit the keyboard for this script and when I look back at those pages, they're packed with some really good stuff.

but to each his own...
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: matt35mm on December 28, 2012, 08:00:25 PM
I've been using Celtx, which is good because I can use it online and access the script from any computer, and it's free. I haven't felt like it really mattered what I use to write the script, though--these programs all more or less offer the same ease in writing. The main thing is the "shareability" of the script. Anyone can download Celtx so I don't need to worry about compatibility, and I can work with a writing partner more easily. I'm sure Final Draft has sharing features, but you'd have to all have Final Draft.

I'm writing a feature now for the first time in 8 or 9 years, and using a whole new process and working with a writing partner. It's been fantastic. I haven't been alone on it, which is really great for creating new material quickly and having it be more interesting. It's mostly involved talking about it so much it exists really strongly in my mind (it feels like we're talking about real people when we're talking about the characters). A lot of detail is present already. We wrote a scene-by-scene treatment, which was helpful.

The thing I'm finding very valuable currently, as I'm on draft 1.5 of the script (wrote half the script, noticed some big problems and then started from scratch): INDEX CARDS.

The main value of index cards, for me, is that it probably takes about two hours to index card the whole movie. You're working at the speed in which it would take you to watch the movie, and you're thinking about the balance and rhythm of the whole thing. It makes some things clearer and the impact of moving a scene to earlier or later in the movie is less abstract.

It helps with trying to figure out how the whole movie is balanced. Then, that coupled with already having a deep knowledge of the world and characters and information, makes it easier to write in a scene-by-scene fashion, which is ultimately what it comes down to in scripting.

I also use colored index cards so I can see how much time we're spending in each location, so that the film won't be visually stagnant.

I've tried writing in various places. Really, the only thing that works for me is staying at home, BUT, acknowledging the reality that it's going to take 6 hours to get about 1 hour of work done. That's just me, because I can't focus. I can't pretend that I can sit down for an hour and write. I need to carve out a large chunk of time on a consistent basis.

Oh, I also had to quit Facebook while drafting the script. If I had that, it'd be about 10 hours to get 1 hour of work done. Actually I'd probably just spend 10 hours on the computer and not get any writing done.

I used to be able to write while listening to music. I can't do that anymore.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: The Perineum Falcon on December 28, 2012, 09:15:24 PM
I like the note card application, Matt, and I may just use that once I finish the (very) detailed treatment i'm currently working on.
I use a pen and notebook, at least for this stage. I don't own a laptop, and it's frustrating enough to type this out on my phone that I cannot fathom working on it in this fashion, so the notebook has become invaluable. Plus, it's just nice to have real pages to flip through. Once I'm in full script mode, I'll update my technology.
Unfortunately, I don't have much time to myself during the day, and an hour's about all the time alone my wife will give me. I write at home, in the bedroom, with a single bedside lamp, Spotify in my earbuds, and a film on the tube. It's either classical or dirty beaches; anotonioni, Godard, or Resnais. I work on it alone through the week, and Friday's a friend and I will meet at Denny's and rehash it through the night. This process has worked pretty well thus far, though I do desire a more involved partnership for the script.

I'll probably share the script on its umpteenth draft.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Pubrick on December 29, 2012, 10:05:20 AM
do you have kids? do you run a bed and breakfast from your home?

I'm not married, I've lived with a long term gf that's about it, so forgive my lack of perspective here, I just can't imagine why your wife can't leave you alone for more than ONE hour a day.

I hope the movie you're writing is about your predicament, it sounds interesting. you should call it Mrs Fritzl.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: polkablues on December 29, 2012, 12:46:09 PM
Celtx is a great program. I just wish the process of putting in parentheticals wasn't so labyrinthine, and that you could shut off the auto-complete features.

Of course, this is all academic, since I haven't touched my script in two months.


I hope the movie you're writing is about your predicament, it sounds interesting. you should call it Mrs Fritzl.

Let's not jump to conclusions; it could be more of a sexy, "Story of O" type of situation.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Alexandro on December 29, 2012, 01:11:07 PM
I've always used word.
I've tried to write by hand some stuff but grow tired of it soon, my hand aches and it's slower than typing. I write by hand when is some short stuff like a small story or something, but screenplays always in word and when I'm already at a point where I feel is advanced enough I always send myself copies by email in case I lose my computer or something.
Never use index cards, but sometimes when I'm in the last part of the screenplay and wrapping up everything I make a list of scenes and then I might start moving them around.
I usually start with a vague idea of where I'm going and let the characters and their conversations kind of take the front seat and dictate the direction of the piece. Rewrites are mostly to get rid of stuff that stands out because it sucks one I reread it.
i try to let myself go in terms of plot, characters, vibe and, as leslie nielsen says in the naked gun: "like a blind man at an orgy, i have to feel my way through"...usually first instincts are correct, they just need some work done to them.
I also write where I can, but nights at home, completely alone and in silence are better.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: KJ on December 29, 2012, 03:24:13 PM
Celtx is a great program. I just wish the process of putting in parentheticals wasn't so labyrinthine, and that you could shut off the auto-complete features.

Of course, this is all academic, since I haven't touched my script in two months.

It sucks when you're using the free version tho. Atleast when you're finished and you're gonna print it out or save it as a PDF.

Of course, this is not academic at all, since I wrote 30 pages of my script today.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: KJ on February 10, 2013, 04:20:23 PM
Of course, this is not academic at all, since I wrote 30 pages of my script today.

but it is academic, because your teacher probably told you to.

oh yeah, that's the reason why I write...
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: polkablues on February 16, 2015, 06:43:25 PM
Celtx has fucked themselves up by making everything besides the bare writing program reliant on a monthly-subscription-based cloud service. I used to love being able to sync scripts between my computer and my phone, but god damn if I'm going to pay a monthly fee for the privilege. Also, I've had some issues with its formatting engine, which tends to leave big spacing gaps in dialogue blocks for some reason, and there is of course no way to fix it.

So now I'm back to pirating Final Draft, which fortunately seems a lot less bloated now than the versions I used to use. I really like the look of Fade In, especially its page-only fullscreen mode and its iphone app (which would give me the same sort of free-range syncing I used to have with Celtx), but I'm not sure yet I want to drop 50 bucks on it.

But just look how pretty this interface is:

(https://i.imgur.com/HjJu9Hh.png)



EDIT: After playing around with the free demo version for ten minutes, I dropped the 50 bucks on it. I'm pretty sure this is the best screenwriting software ever made.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Reelist on August 05, 2016, 12:55:13 PM
What are your writing rituals? Do you set aside a specific time for it everyday or kind of dilly dally around waiting for lightning to strike? I don't know if I'll ever be a 'first thing in the morning' writer, I need to take care of unfinished business and get revved up for the day before I feel like I'm having a meaningful creative output. I never want it to feel like an empty exercise, that I'm just doing it to fill a quota. One thing I have held myself to is that when I do write, it has to be no less than 5 pages. I haven't been swept up in any spells that will let me go much further beyond that, lately. I've also decided that instead of trying to start where I left off in the narrative arc, I'll just focus on individual scenes and see where they go. That has been helpful in freeing up the chronology of the story and narrowing in on the characters instead of obsessing over the "Who, what, where?" of everything, linking every cause to it's effect. My characters don't seem like real people yet, I'm still holding their hand and trying to guide them when I write. When I notice I'm doing that is usually when I stop, because I know I've dredged the well for today. I have these archetypes of different people I need for the story and am just playing with them like action figures until I find the situations that stick and draw them together so undeniably that I have to write it just to see what happens, myself.

The other thing that's helped is to do like a one page brainstorming session before you put yourself in that scriptwriting frame of mind where everything has to be so specific. If I don't do that, I forget what I'm even attempting to write sometimes. You don't realize how many ideas are languishing in your head because you haven't put them to use yet.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on August 05, 2016, 01:35:03 PM
I've learned that you have to force yourself to work creatively, or you'll wait until your mood is perfect and procrastinate forever. Make your brain do what you want it to do.

My characters don't seem like real people yet, I'm still holding their hand and trying to guide them when I write.

I recently wrote something where six characters are introduced at once, so I feel your pain. Maybe the fastest way to distinguish a character is through dialogue. Even if it's an ensemble scene, the reader might very quickly learn that one character is much quieter than the others, one tries to dominate the conversation, one is quick to laugh, one is sarcastic or cynical. Even where you put them in the scene can define their character. This character is driving and might be the leader of the group, this character is in the passenger seat navigating, which says something about them, this other character is in the back seat trying to sleep, etc.

In terms of volume of writing, I also tend to feel that itch to stop and call it a day. It's not writer's block, it's almost the opposite... getting overwhelmed by the number of ideas passing through you, or something. I think it helps to take a break, maybe do a chore and you'll think of something. Or if you want to keep working, go back and edit something, open a thesaurus, organize your notes.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: polkablues on August 05, 2016, 02:00:39 PM
I've learned that you have to force yourself to work creatively, or you'll wait until your mood is perfect and procrastinate forever. Make your brain do what you want it to do.

One of my all-time favorite quotes is from the painter Chuck Close: “Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work.”

I think we tend to fetishize the creative process a little too much. How you're doing it is far less important than whether you're doing it.

I recently wrote something where six characters are introduced at once, so I feel your pain. Maybe the fastest way to distinguish a character is through dialogue. Even if it's an ensemble scene, the reader might very quickly learn that one character is much quieter than the others, one tries to dominate the conversation, one is quick to laugh, one is sarcastic or cynical. Even where you put them in the scene can define their character. This character is driving and might be the leader of the group, this character is in the passenger seat navigating, which says something about them, this other character is in the back seat trying to sleep, etc.

I would add reaction to this. Throw a situation at two different characters, and the ways in which they react differently tells you everything about who they are. I strongly believe in never introducing characters in passive situations. Show them before anything else when they're stressed, pressured, or overwhelmed, and right off the bat those characters will reveal their true natures to you.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Alexandro on August 06, 2016, 10:20:15 AM
I've always used word.
I've tried to write by hand some stuff but grow tired of it soon, my hand aches and it's slower than typing. I write by hand when is some short stuff like a small story or something, but screenplays always in word and when I'm already at a point where I feel is advanced enough I always send myself copies by email in case I lose my computer or something.
Never use index cards, but sometimes when I'm in the last part of the screenplay and wrapping up everything I make a list of scenes and then I might start moving them around.
I usually start with a vague idea of where I'm going and let the characters and their conversations kind of take the front seat and dictate the direction of the piece. Rewrites are mostly to get rid of stuff that stands out because it sucks one I reread it.
i try to let myself go in terms of plot, characters, vibe and, as leslie nielsen says in the naked gun: "like a blind man at an orgy, i have to feel my way through"...usually first instincts are correct, they just need some work done to them.
I also write where I can, but nights at home, completely alone and in silence are better.

I read this again today and boy, some things have changed. Since 2013 I think I've gone "pro", cowriting scripts with others which has forced me to quit using Word and start using both Celtx and Final Draft. I enjoy working on both, but FD is the one I prefer.

I've written three feature scripts since Psychotropic, all of them on Final Draft, and as far as my "lone" work is concerned, my process has not changed that much. All of those screenplays were not fully original; one was based on a story a friend told me (he never wrote it, he's not that kind of dude), the other one based on a chronicle another friend wrote about a weekend trip to Miami, and the third one is based on a magazine story by a respected journalist. Despite the fact that in all three cases I had some clarity about what the story was and how it was all going to end, I still just jumped right into it not really knowing the "how" and found my way as I went along. Rewrites have been sparse excepting the last one, which is a bigger and more complicated story, and it's a rarity because it has gotten longer in subsequent versions (usually is the opposite), I guess sometimes you need the extra pages.

I also cowrote (I am actually these days) two other features and in terms of cowriting it's been all by the book. Synopsis, long synopsis, treatment, save the cat structure, checking, character's descriptions, a lt of rewriting once you are scripting. It's interesting, but it's totally not as fun.

Also, I no longer wait for total silence for writing, cause then I would never do it.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: JG on August 24, 2016, 11:37:38 AM
for the past couple of years i've kept notebooks that i write in almost everyday. my notes usually float around 5 or 6 big ideas  that have followed me around for a while (eg. "the sci-fi idea," the "hometown" movie - we all have em) , as well as day to day stuff that i'm chewing on.. sometimes the day-to-day stuff gives way to a big idea... i try and label my notes with, like, hash-tags, so that its easy to figure out later which big idea i was thinking about..

later, i go through the notebook and try to organize and categorize my thinking. i open google docs (life on the cloud) then i riff, get myself to elaborate on my ideas in my notebook. in simply rewriting stuff that i had thought about weeks earlier, i find that i can add at least a little bit more detail... at this point its still half-sentences and dashed off thoughts. i avoid as long as i can writing anything formal.. i rarely write dialogue at this point, tho maybe lines that suggest character's personalities and worldview...

later, when its "time," i comb through these sloppy docs and write neater outlines.. my outlines are loose and veer into prose. sometimes it accidentally becomes a short story. i like to let my brain run wild and try not to think in cinematic terms yet (though sometimes its inevitable).. maybe my prose will suggest shots or a way of structuring a sequence that i wouldn't have thought of had i boxed myself into traditional scenework.. this has been my most exciting discovery in my own process.. its been a long time since i opened up screenwriting software and just started writing.. i still dread screenwriting software for some reason and kind of fantasize about doing it on a typewriter just so i can get away from the screen and write fast..


Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Reelist on August 26, 2016, 01:23:45 PM
Thanks for the pointers Polka and JB, and I'm glad to hear you other two are writing so consistently!! I've been nowhere near as productive and I'm jealous, to be honest. I'm lucky if I fill one page with ANYTHING on a given day. I think what makes it the hardest for me is not having any feedback and feeling like I'm just bouncing against the wall when I'm writing. Whether it's good or bad doesn't really matter because I'm not gonna let anyone else see it. At least when I post here or PM with someone I know it's going to be read fairly soon, so I'm hyperconscious of it being well composed and making some sort of sense. I wonder how I could transfer that same logic to my personal writing, so I don't feel like I'm filling up a blank slate but actually moving towards some creative goal. I think what I need to do is take my head out of the clouds a little in fantasizing about some future work where I blow everyone's head off and focus on what would be feasible for me to accomplish with the materials and locations available to me RIGHT NOW. I really hate the idea of creating some "masterpiece" on the page and then sitting back thinking "Okay, now all I need is for someone to give me a ton of money to do this, then we're off to the races!" It's simply never going to work out that way until I start taking the initiative in pursuing every step of the process myself to the point where other people notice what I'm doing and want to join because it seems like a fun and productive thing to do with their time. I heard on a podcast recently something like "A script is really just an invitation for people to work with you." In that, like when you write a part for someone, it's out of total faith in them being able to do it because of how familiar they are to you and you're hitting on something so unique or personal that you'd both like to see how it turns out onscreen. I'm starting to think I need to send that invitation to myself by not projecting some fantastical idea that can only be made in the right circumstances and narrowing in on something I already have access to in my life that could make an interesting movie.

Anyways, I just want to state how much of a haven this place is to mull over this stuff because everywhere else in my life I feel like a very sad man for still holding onto this 'dream', but here it's a thing we all share and know it's possible because a handful of us are doing it. Some on a very high level!
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on August 26, 2016, 01:41:53 PM
A related anecdote. I once wrote something and had a couple people read it, including my best friend at the time. I was aiming for a "what is even going on here" sort of thing, and his interpretation was wrong. That was a little disheartening, because I thought I had actually given too many clues or made it too obvious. (Apparently not.) I considered rewriting it, but I decided not to, because I had absolutely no idea how to reach that sweet spot of perfect ambiguity, unless I focused grouped it or something. In the end, I think you have to write for yourself.
Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Pedro on August 30, 2016, 08:49:39 PM
While I'm not a strictly creative writing teacher, I teach writing every day.  I also went to a college with a particular philosophy about informal writing.  (how writing can create understanding of texts and open the doors to new ideas).   I went back to Bard for some professional development over the last two summers. 

Something that could be helpful for creative writing are "radical revision" prompts.  These can be used for writings of all genres.  I don't have access to my materials right now, but I found an adapted version of a handout I use for my English classes.  There are notes (in blue) from some professor giving her advice.  I hope these are helpful:

http://blogs.evergreen.edu/wolachd/files/2014/05/RadicalRevisionPromptsSpring2014.pdf (http://blogs.evergreen.edu/wolachd/files/2014/05/RadicalRevisionPromptsSpring2014.pdf)

Title: Re: Where do you write and what do you use?
Post by: Just Withnail on September 08, 2016, 02:05:18 PM
Wow, that looks incredibly interesting Pedro. I just skimmed through a little of it now, but I'll definitely have a closer look.

And JG, our process is incredibly similar!

This slow accretion of material over longer periods, where the ideas are allowed to come leisurely and whenever, is vital to me. It's very hard for me to properly start a project without already having a large bank of ideas like this. Maybe it stems from the same place that makes me usually adapt specific real-life situations to dramatize? That I really dread the blank page, and need to have a source to harvest from, ideas ready for me to connect. As if by compiling all these notes over time I can get away from the feeling that I'm facing a blank page and forcing out invention, and rather make it an editing job.

That said, the approach you talk about JB and polka, about writing hard every day, is also extremely important when projects reach a certain point - I just need to have projects that are far enough along that that kind of text production comes natural, and to me that's only after there are a certain number of ideas present already. I never start with a synopsis and a blank page.