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lisafox10800 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 25 Feb 2017 at 3:48pm
Hello!

I just registered for the 2017 screenwriting challenge and am really excited... and nervous.  This will be my third NYC Midnight competition (Flash 2016 and Short Story 2017) but I've never written a screenplay before.  Any advice?

Many thanks and hope to see you on the forums!



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De Chelonian Mobile View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote De Chelonian Mobile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2017 at 6:49pm
Yay lisafox10800!

I haven't registered yet, but I'm really thinking about it.  I haven't written a screenplay before either, but I have written several 10 minute plays, a couple of them have even been produced.  I checked out the formatting guidelines and while it would be easier to use a program like Final Draft, it shouldn't be too hard to format manually.  

Playwriting is all about keeping the stage directions down to a minimum.  If I feel something is super important I write it in, but I like to keep things minimal so the director and the actors have more freedom to add their creativity and talent to the play through their interpretation of the action, scenery and sometimes other props.  However, dialogue is king.  Everything relies on the dialogue.  Unlike a story, you can't write a great backstory to catch your reader, or audience up.  You could write a backstory scene, but again, it's dialogue that is telling the story.  Also, continuity is much more important. In short stories you can have several scenes, but in a play, and I imagine a screenplay is the same, you can't time jump nearly as easily.

12 pages, I think that is what the first round limit is, would run about 10-12 minutes as a play, so imagine a 12 minute film, or TV episode, beginning, middle and end.  It's pretty short.  A 10 minute play is usually around 1000 - 1500 words, including the stage direction.

I hope this helped at least a little. I'm interested to hear from screenwriters to know how similar to playwriting it is. 

I'm sure you will have a great experience! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote De Chelonian Mobile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2017 at 6:54pm
By the way, I read about 50 of the posted stories in SSC. Yours was one of my favorites.  "The Art of Rejection" could be adapted into a fun 10 minute play!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lisafox10800 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Feb 2017 at 7:27pm
Originally posted by De Chelonian Mobile De Chelonian Mobile wrote:

By the way, I read about 50 of the posted stories in SSC. Yours was one of my favorites.  "The Art of Rejection" could be adapted into a fun 10 minute play!


Thank you so much for the kind words! 😊

And for the advice on play/screenwriting. Immersion in the dalogue will be a fun challenge as I tend to focus more on atmosphere and description in my writing. I may try to play around with format a bit before the comp so it doesn't freak me out too much...

I hope you decide to do the screenplay challenge as well. I look forward to seeing more of your work!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DanielaRD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Feb 2017 at 5:27am
Hello! 

I've never heard of these challenges but i'm super excited to start! I am doing a degree in Scriptwriting at University and am really looking forward to the screenwriting challenge! If you have any questions about anything, let me know and i'll try to help :) In terms of formatting, which software do you use? I would definitely recommend Celtx.com . It's entirely free to use, I use it for my coursework and personal screenplays and i love it, it formats everything to industry standard without you having to worry about it.

Also, I don't know how much you know about screenwriting, but kind of like De Chelonian Mobile was saying, the general rule is 'a page a minute'. Everything you write in the screenplay runs in real time, so every new line of action would be like one new 'shot' on screen. So for example a 12 page screenplay would be a 12 page short film. And also, don't write camera directions or anything like that-you should imply them. So instead of saying 'panning', describe what we see on the screen.

Hope this was a little helpful, and good luck in the challenge! :) 
Daniela x www.themindescapeblog.wordpress.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote adreens Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Feb 2017 at 5:58pm
Hello!  

I would add that a screenplay is essentially a blueprint to making a film, which is where it varies the most from writing prose.  Screenplays are written to be filmed, as opposed to written to be read, which is a big thing that I have to keep reminding myself of haha.  So it needs to be very visual, everything written needs to be able to play out in your mind.  It should also be more visual and action based and less dialogue based than a play.

Like was said in a previous comment, you shouldn't include camera angles, musical score, or anything like that, because that's up to the director, etc.

Sentence fragments are totally cool in a screenplay (something else I'm still getting used to).  So, for example, if you're describing a room, instead of saying "There are boots sitting in the corner and a round table in the middle of the large room.  Alexis enter.  She is 31 and has long brown hair,"  you could say, "A large room.  Boots in corner.  Round table in the middle.  Alexis, 31, long brain hair, enters."  It's much more concise and to the point.  Again, it's a blueprint, not a story.

I would suggest reading a lot of the scripts on the forum to get a feel for the style (the winners from previous competitions are on the website, so that's a good place to start).  Also, watching short films helped me a lot to get used to that style.

As far as software, I also use Celtx and love it, it's so easy to use.

Hope this helps!  Let me know if you have other questions or anything.  I love screenwriting, hope you do as well :) good luck!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lisafox10800 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Feb 2017 at 1:55pm
Originally posted by DanielaRD DanielaRD wrote:

Hello! 

I've never heard of these challenges but i'm super excited to start! I am doing a degree in Scriptwriting at University and am really looking forward to the screenwriting challenge! If you have any questions about anything, let me know and i'll try to help :) In terms of formatting, which software do you use? I would definitely recommend Celtx.com . It's entirely free to use, I use it for my coursework and personal screenplays and i love it, it formats everything to industry standard without you having to worry about it.

Also, I don't know how much you know about screenwriting, but kind of like De Chelonian Mobile was saying, the general rule is 'a page a minute'. Everything you write in the screenplay runs in real time, so every new line of action would be like one new 'shot' on screen. So for example a 12 page screenplay would be a 12 page short film. And also, don't write camera directions or anything like that-you should imply them. So instead of saying 'panning', describe what we see on the screen.

Hope this was a little helpful, and good luck in the challenge! :) 

Thank you!  Insights much appreciated.  I will definitely check out Celtx.com.  :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote callmedeb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Feb 2017 at 4:17pm
Welcome! Going from prose to screen writing is not easy, but I have found the challenge really rewarding. As a newbie I, personally, would invest in the Screenwriter's Bible as I have found the examples and formatting to be really helpful. There's always the internet to google if you get stuck, just make sure you don't get sucked into the rabbit hole of "research".

Best thing you can do before the challenge starts is read as many screenplays as you can to get a sense of the flow. There are a bunch HERE.

I am taking a break from the next one, but best of luck and have fun!!!

Cheers,

Deb


Edited by callmedeb - 27 Feb 2017 at 4:17pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NilesPerry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Feb 2017 at 9:45pm
There's some good screenwriting information and resources here:


It's worth having a look, especially the links to screenplays that you can download and read.

Good luck.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DBA Lehane Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2017 at 1:38am
Originally posted by adreens adreens wrote:

Hello!  

Screenplays are written to be filmed, as opposed to written to be read


I'm not sure I agree with that completely. Most scripts are initially written to be read by a studio reader. If you ever get past that hurdle then each subsequent rewrite becomes a blueprint for a film.

And in this competition they are most definitely written to be read. The difference from prose is the format, structure and brevity of words wherever possible. Also a Screenplay is not just about visuals it's about sound (and silence) just as much.

But otherwise, good advice. :)

Short Screenplay Finalist 2016 & 2014. Flash Fiction Finalist 2015 (4th place).
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